Written by Michelle Gayton
Fla. fisherman gets Maine boat;
'Tunamania' has wedding angle
At the end of July, General Marine in Biddeford, Maine, pulled a 26' x 9' 6" hull out of its mold for Florida swordfisherman Jackson Coate.
When the boat is finished, it will feature a center pilothouse. General Marine hadn't built a boat with a center pilothouse before, though "we have a mold for one and have had blueprints for this for six years," says the boatshop's Stacey Raymond. "I'm eager to do one."
Raymond feels it's a necessity to work with blueprints when planning out a boat with a customer. "I don't want to do it without a set of plans. There will be changes, but it eliminates 80 percent of the guesswork."
The pilothouse will be open on the backside. "You can close it off, but with the engine below you get into issues of heat and sound," Raymond says. The engine is a D4 Volvo Penta rated at 250 horsepower.
Raymond favors a pilothouse along a boat's centerline far more than one offset to one side. "We did one six years ago, it's a bad idea. Whenever you get anything over to one side, you change all the hydrodynamics; you screw the boat up."
Coate will be able to slide fish past either side of the pilothouse to a fully insulated 7' x 4' iced fish hold in front of the house.
Another General Marine hull is in the process of being finished off; only this is a 38-foot Northern Bay at Dana's Boat Shop on Maine's Westport Island.
It is one of the earlier Northern Bay 38s designed by Spencer Lincoln in Brooklin, Maine. "She's got a lot of the lines like the old Duffy had, with tumble home in the stern. It gives them a lot of character," says the boat shop's Dana Faulkingham. He's building the boat for Steve Peaslee, his son-in-law, in nearby Damariscotta.
Prior to that, Dana's Boat Shop completed the 42' x 14' 6 1/2" lobster boat Long Haul. On launch day she was constantly hitting 23.5 knots, says Faulkingham.
Wesmac Custom Boats in Steuben, Maine, built the fiberglass hull and shipped it to Dana's Boat Shop with a 650-hp John Deere, shafting and rudder installed, along with a molded top.
The lobster boat was built for Hugh Bowen of Freeport, Maine, to replace a 40-foot Young Brothers. With his new lobster boat, Bowen "was looking to make the next step," says Faulkingham.
That certainly means a newer and bigger boat and one that can pack a lot of lobsters beneath its deck — eight to 10 crates, Faulkingham figures. A hydraulic Pacer pump keeps the live-well lobster tank full, while another Pacer pump serves for the wash-down hose and deck tank.
The deck was constructed with about 60 percent plywood and pressure treated framing, and 40 percent composite materials.
He used the composite materials around the in-deck lobster tank and a locker that's beneath the hauler to catch the pot warp as it flakes off the hauler and drops below deck. The composites materials "are for strength and trying to make it completely watertight where we put the penetrations in," says Faulkingham.
In the meantime, Wesmac Custom Boats has been "very busy," says the boatyard's Steve Wessel. They've got a 46-footer going to Vinalhaven, Maine, lobsterman Harold Pool, two boats going to salmon fishermen in Alaska, and a kit boat to be trucked to Santa Barbara, Calif., and finished off as a longliner.
There was also a spell of what Wessel calls "tunamania," brought on by a good tuna season in 2011. They delivered a 42-foot tuna boat to a Massachusetts fisherman.
A 46-foot tuna boat was expected to be launched in August, and in June the 46-foot tuna boat Hazel Browne — lengthened from 42 feet — went to Browne Trading Co., in Portland, Maine.
The Hazel Browne was a boat Wessel was paying particular attention to. Linda Greenlaw, who was portrayed in the movie "Perfect Storm" and has written several books, skippers the boat.
In September, Wessel and Greenlaw were to be married, so Wessel knows he best have gotten it right.
— Michael Crowley
Tinkering leads to better boats;
Wash. shop acquires designs
On the shop floor at Reynolds Marine in Anchorage, Alaska, is a 33' x 11' gillnetter with a pair of 300-hp Yanmar diesels matched up with 274 Hamilton water jets and two 32' x 10' 6" gillnetters, each with a single 455-hp Caterpillar C7 connected to an UltraJet 305HT.
Once these boat are finished, Reynolds Marine has nine more aluminum gillnetters to build. All are for Prince William Sound salmon fishermen. No wonder the boatshop's Charlie Reynolds says, "It never seems to slow down." Mind you, Reynolds isn't complaining.
The three boats under construction were to be delivered this summer to salmon fishermen in Cordova, Alaska. The gillnetter with twin diesels is for Scott McKenzie, and the two boats with the Cats are going to Kory Blake and Mark King.
Seven of the next nine boats will be powered with a single diesel, one with twin diesels and one with two gasoline engines.
Reynolds designs all the gillnetters he builds, but these are not cookie-cutter designs, where the boat you buy this year is a replica of one built last year. The hulls will be the same, but the interiors can be adjusted to owner's wishes, and Reynolds is always tinkering with his designs.
"There's nothing that's drastically different. I'm always changing little things to make the boats better," he says. Reynolds reels off some the recent changes. "This last year I changed the ceiling height to gain more room without changing the aesthetics. Improvements have been made to net reels and rollers. Electrical panels have been changed to upgrade to higher quality. I've gone almost exclusively to LED lights."
Regarding the hull, Reynolds works "to make things cleaner and lighter without losing strength. The last boat I did, I shaved 1,000 pounds off — 10 pounds at a time. It's just trying to design so the material you use is lighter, not necessarily the thickness but the shape or how it's fabricated up."
The goal of all this effort, especially regarding the hull, is "not so much on the top end, but better fuel economy and being able to pack more weight."
He figures the twin-Yanmar-powered gillnetter should top out at 40 to 42 knots and cruise at 26 to 30 knots, with each engine burning 15 to 17 gallons per hour at the cruise speed. The gillnetters with a single Cat C7 should have a maximum speed of 32 to 35 knots, and cruise at 26 knots while consuming 15 gallons per hour.
In Washington, Lee Shore Boats in Port Angeles is building a 24' x 8' 6" geoduck dive boat for Seattle Shellfish in Shelton, Wash. Perhaps more noteworthy, Lee Shore Boats has taken over the assets — equipment, designs, engineering — of Nicholas Diversified Industries, which had been in Langley, Wash.
NDI went out of business earlier this year. "We are building the product line," says Lee Shore Boats' Eric Schneider.
Lee Shore boats also got the NDI website and phone number. If you call the NDI number on the website, you will get Lee Shore Boats. So far, neither website makes note of the fact that the assets — though not the business — has changed hands.
NDI's product line consists of designs for commercial boats in the 20- to 65-foot range. To date, Lee Shore Boats has been limited to building boats up to 30 feet, but Schneider says, "I think we just struck a deal for a piece of property, so we will have in [September] a new 9,000-square-foot facility." That should be plenty of space to build the bigger NDI designs, though Schneider figures the next commercial fishing boat coming from Lee Shore Boats builds will be a 32-foot Bristol Bay gillnetter.
In the meantime, the 24-foot dive boat was scheduled to be delivered in August. She'll have a cabin with an open back, a 4-foot-wide door on the starboard side with a swim platform, and a 225-hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard.
— Michael Crowley
Builder works in chicken barn;
maritime museum burns down
Maryland boatbuilder Joey Miller, who owns Sinapuxent Boatworks in Berlin, is building a 29' x 11' 6" multipurpose wooden skiff for Thomas Gaskins from Ophelia, on Virginia's Northern Neck.
Gaskins will use the skiff for crab potting and working pound nets on the Potomac River. The skiff, with a 300-hp outboard, is replacing a 25-foot fiberglass boat.
"This new skiff is going to be a tank," says Miller. "Thomas and his wife came up here recently to look at the progress and he said, 'I'm right rough on a boat, so I want it to be strong and tough.' His wife said, 'Yeah that boy is rough on a boat.'"
The keel is 3" x 8" yellow pine. The stem is also yellow pine. The frames are juniper, as are the strip-planked sides. The bottom is cold molded with two layers of 3/8-inch plywood under two layers of 1708 fiberglass matt and epoxy resin, which also covers the strip-planked sides.
Miller builds his boats in the 70-foot end portion of a closed-down chicken house.
"I've got room enough for three boats and I've got three going right now," he says.
Besides Gaskins' skiff, Miller is building a 24-foot charter boat for a fisherman in Ocean City, Md., and a 16-foot flat-bottom skiff that he's constructing on spec.
Every other day Miller takes a break from boatbuilding to pull 150 crab pots and sell the hard crabs directly to the lucrative Ocean City restaurant trade. He fishes on the ocean side of the Eastern Shore and sells "mixed bushels/straight run," which means live males and females mixed or separate, 5-inch crabs and $60 to $65 a bushel. When the restaurant trade slows down he is forced to sell to crab picking houses that pay $16 a bushel for No. 2 crabs.
On the bayside of Maryland's Eastern Shore, 27-year-old Gregory Purcell of Mount Holly, Va., decided awhile back he needed a boat bigger than his 22-foot fiberglass Sea Hawk for crabbing. He wanted a new 42-foot wooden deadrise, but the price was prohibitive.
Purcell had heard that John Kinnamon Sr. and his son John "JC" Jr., longtime boatbuilders on Maryland's Tilghman Island build fiberglass-over-plywood boats with many of the same attributes as the traditional bay wooden boat: sturdy, tough and a V-shaped bow that cuts through the short rolling motion of the Chesapeake chop.
The Kinnamons have built boats for commercial fishermen from New Jersey to Texas. "We called John and JC and went up and visited their shops," says Purcell.
"My father, who worked the water for many years, went with me and we were both impressed with their boats." In the end they went with JC at Kinnamon Construction.
Purcell also looked at several of John Kinnamon's 20-year-old boats that are still in service. "They are strong, tough boats and when they are still working after 20 years, it tells you something about the builders," he says. "I looked at one boat that they built in 1984, the same year I was born, and it looked great."
Purcell's new boat is 42' x 12' and named the Miss Gentry, after his great-grandmother. A 420-hp Caterpillar 3126, working through a ZF 1 1/2:1 reduction gear, powers the boat.
Purcell is presently working crab pots in the Potomac River. The Miss Gentry will also be dredging and hand tonging for oysters and harvesting seed oysters from the James and Piankatank rivers.
On a tragic note, a fire destroyed the main exhibit building and the John's Pavilion at the Deltaville Maritime Museum in Deltaville, Va., on July 18. Underneath the John's Pavilion were several early Chesapeake Bay workboats, including the W.A. Johns, a three-log bottom canoe that's well known around the bay.
The pavilion and boats were all destroyed, along with early tools, models and boatbuilding exhibits inside the main building.
Fortunately, the seven-log buy boat F.D. Crockett was moored at a pier away from the fire.
— Larry Chowning
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