Take a fisherman, his love for the expansive, open-water reaches of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, equip him with a boat to work its frothing waters, and that’s Peter Schonberg on the Equinox.
“I love the Aleutians,” said Schonberg, who turned 65 this summer. “There is this harsh beauty, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity to experience it all.”
A good part of that harsh beauty involves gargantuan seas, 100-knot winds and demands that the boat can handle come-what-may in the line of the mayhem and still catch fish.
While breakdowns cost valuable fishing time anywhere around the globe, engine failure or a funk in the array of navigational electronics in the Aleutians could mean the loss of life for the captain and crew.
“We have so much redundancy,” said Schonberg. “We have extreme reliability with the boat. If something breaks, it’s outta there, and we’re going to replace it with bigger, stronger and faster.”
Schonberg bought the boat in 1993, and his list of fisheries includes salmon, cod, tanner crab, pollock (he converts the boat to a trawler after salmon season), blackcod and halibut.
The Equinox works the water near Sand Point for 10 months of the year. In that 10 months, the boat fishes with three separate crews.
“We’re keeping a whole bunch of families fed, and the way you do that is to have a boat that can do many fisheries,” said Schonberg.
With its deep keel, huge wheel, sophisticated electronics and selection of crew members who also love the Aleutians, Schonberg is willing to place the bet that the Equinox will continue catching fish and feeding families for generations to come.
Home port: Petersburg, Alaska; fishes Sand Point
Owner: Peter Schonberg
Builder: Tom Manos, of Manos Boats, Seattle
Year built: 1991
Hull material: Steel
Length: 58 feet
Beam: 22 feet
Draft: 12 feet 6 inches
Tonnage: 173 tons gross, 108 tons net
Crew capacity: 6
Main propulsion: Cummins QSK 19, turbo and after-cooled 660 hp
Gearbox: Twin Disc 5170, 6:1 ratio
Genset: John Deere 6068 50 kW and John Deere 4045 65 kW
Propeller: 68″ x 63″ bronze four-blade
Shaft: 5 inches stainless
Speed: 9.5 knots
Fuel consumption: 12 gallons per hour
Fuel capacity: 6,000 gallons
Freshwater capacity: 2,000 gallons
Hold capacity: 130,000 pounds
Electronics: NavPak GPS software, Nobeltec TimeZero navigation app, Marport sonar for trawl with wireless cameras, Furuno sideband radio, five Standard Horizon and Furuno VHFs