Boat of the Month December 2017: Pacific Quest

Many fishermen working the western waters on Bristol Bay know the Pacific Quest, an exceptionally friendly tender owned and run by a King Cove family. Ken Mack and Bill Sager took her on in May 2015 through Edwin “Daisy” Bendixen’s estate sale in King Cove.

The pair was familiar with the boat and the Bendixen family after some conversations earlier that year about leasing some halibut IFQs. On the lookout for a boat, even a fixer-upper, they jumped at the opportunity once Bendixen’s family put the boat up for sale at a lower price.

“It was getting to the point where they just couldn’t keep up with it,” said Mack.

The all-steel boat hardly took a break between owners, and after the 2015 Bristol Bay summer she went down to Wrangell, where she was sandblasted “to find out what was left of it.”

They knew the boat was Cor-Ten steel, which Mack describes as expensive today but “ideal for every boat.” The trip to Wrangell confirmed his hopes.

Built in the California backyard of a tuna fisherman in 1969, the Pacific Quest was made of good, sturdy steel — a relief for Mack. After taking on a Kodiak seiner as a fixer-upper previously, that his son now has, Mack was familiar with the reality of buying a boat with work to be done.

“We figured, well, we need to put a bunch of money in to keep it going, but we knew we couldn’t do it if the steel was no good,” he said. They even drilled some holes in the steel to run new coolants to the engine. “They built that boat with 5/16 steel, and it was still 5/16,” he said.

A replacement of just a couple plates got the boat out cod fishing in King Cove that January.

Mack and Sager run the boat, but the history of the previous owner remains on board — the urn of Bendixen still sits in the state-room.

Mack admits that the urn got shifted around a little during the work in Wrangell, but his wife reminded him of its importance. “Boy, better not mishandle this,” said Mack. “And I put him right back in his spot… yup, he’s still fishing.”


Home port: King Cove, Alaska

Owners: Ken and Marlene Mack, and Darrell Ness

Year built: 1969, Moss Landing, Calif.

Fisheries: Cod and halibut

Hull material: Steel

Length: 49 feet 4 inches

Beam: 22 feet

Draft: 8 feet 6 inches

Tonnage: 55 tons gross, 19 tons net

Crew capacity: 5

Main propulsion: 302-hp 3406 Cat Diesel

Gearbox: Twin Disc 4.5:1

Propeller: 66″ x 58″ bronze

Speed: 8 knots

Fuel capacity: 2,000 gallons

Freshwater capacity: 400 gallons

Hold capacity: 70,000 pounds

Electronics: Two Furuno radars, ComNav autopilot, Furuno satellite compass, two Standard Horizon VHFs, Furuno depth sounder, Icom SSB radio

About the author

Elma Burnham

Elma Burnham is a writer and Bristol Bay setnetter. She launched Strength of the Tides in fall 2016 from her home in Bellingham, Wash.

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