Boat of the Month March 2018: Shearwater

Every time lobsterman Krista Tripp hauls traps aboard her boat, the Shearwater, she feels a connection to her grandfather John, a lobsterman who owned the boat until he passed away in 2016. He named the 35.8-foot workhorse after his favorite ocean bird — the shearwater, which commonly feeds around fishing boats along Maine’s coast.

Tripp, 32, from Spruce Head Island, Maine, is following her grandfather’s footsteps and has kept Criehaven — the area her grandfather fished — named on her. “I suppose I should change it because her home port is now Spruce Head, but I guess I just like to keep it that way in memory of him,” she said.

The Shearwater — a 36 BHM with a 375-horsepower John Deere — suits Tripp, a lifelong fisherman.

“I fished all throughout my high school years on my own boat with a student license, and then I worked on the stern of many boats [lobstering, urchining and scalloping] until I got my captain’s license a couple years ago, after being on a waiting list for 12 years,” she said.

In the two years she has owned the Shearwater, Tripp has made it her own. She changed the alternator and replaced both batteries, “then I put a bigger window in the wheelhouse, with a smaller window within it that you can open and latch,” she said.

Before the change, Tripp would have to do gymnastics “in order to peek through and see my electronics, or I’d have to keep my door open.” Now, even with the door shut, she can eye her electronics and reach into the wheelhouse through the smaller window to use them. “Otherwise I would’ve had to constantly walk in and out of the wheelhouse every time I wanted to use the plotter, VHF, or whatnot,” she said.

Last spring, she added a stern extension, allowing an extra tier to fit onboard. “I turned my 36-foot boat into a 40-foot boat, basically,” added Tripp.

Other improvements include a new exhaust and sounder, and she replaced her spotlight with LED lights along the top and above the culling box so she can see in the dark. “They are a lifesaver when you’re coming into the harbor at dark.”

Tripp takes springtime improvements in stride. “Sometimes it’s a slow process, but I will eventually get her just the way I want her.”

Most importantly, Tripp takes pride in honoring her grandfather, who undoubtedly would be proud.


Home Port: Spruce Head

Owner: Krista Tripp

Year Built: 1993

Fisheries: Lobster

Hull Material: Fiber-reinforced plastic

Length: 35′ 8″

Beam: 12′ 7″

Draft: 3 feet

Tonnage: 22 tons

Crew Capacity: 2-3

Main Propulsion: 375 John Deere

Gearbox: TwinDisc 2:1 reduction

Propeller: 30″ x 30″ four-blade

Speed: 16 knots wide open; 12 knots cruising

Fuel Consumption: ?

Fuel Capacity: 200 gallons

Hold Capacity: 800-1,000 pounds of lobster; 60-80 traps

Electronics: Hondex plotter, Sony AM/FM/CD, Furuno radar, Uniden VHF, Furuno sounder

About the author

Caroline Losneck is an independent radio producer, filmmaker and documentarian living in Portland, Maine.

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