Samoset Boatworks in Boothbay, Maine, is close to completing the second of three Mussel Ridge 42 boats. All three will have shown up in Boothbay as bare hulls with a molded top from their builder, Hutchinson Composites in Cushing, Maine.

The first of the Mussel Ridge 42 hulls to arrive at Samoset Boatworks was transformed into the lobster boat Double Down, powered by a 700-hp Scania, that left for Stonington, Maine, in March 2023. 

Next in line are two Mussel Ridge 42 tuna boats. Pretty Work, the tuna boat currently under construction, is going to Falmouth on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod; the second tuna boat, which will be set up for charter fishing, is to work out of Saunderstown, R.I.

Pretty Work is scheduled for a mid-to-late summer 2024 completion. When Pretty Work leaves Boothbay, she’ll be propelled by a 900-hp Scania matched up to a Twin Disc 2.04:1 marine gear. That power combination should put her top speed “in the upper 20s, might be 30s,” said Matthew Sledge, Samoset Boatworks owner.

It sounds like the crew of the Pretty Work will have nice accommodations with a V-berth up forward and a single berth to starboard. To port is an enclosed head and shower. Coming from the salon to the forward cabin, the ship’s ladder and trim is made up of visually attractive varnished sipo mahogany, an African wood.

On the main deck are three helm stations.  An enclosed steering station is to starboard and another steering station is to port on the back of the winter back, along with a hauler and davit for bringing in the anchor.  The third steering station is mounted at the transom on the center line. “That’s for backing down and fighting fish,” said Sledge. The tuna is brought aboard through a tuna door in the transom.

The deck is made up of fiberglass I-beams covered with 1-inch Coosa board and then fiberglassed. While on the lobster boat Double Down, the fiberglass was covered with 1/2” x 4’ rubber decking, the Pretty Work decking is painted with a non-skid coating.  Below deck is an  insulated and refrigerated tuna coffin with ice maker and two in-deck refrigerated life wells.

Something that Sledge says makes Samoset Boatworks “different from any other builder” is that only epoxy coatings are used. “I use nothing but epoxy, don’t use any polyester.” He says epoxy is lighter, stiffer and strong. “My boats are 10 to 15 percent, if not more, lighter than a boat laid up with polyester.” He acknowledges that epoxy is more expensive than polyester but says he uses less of it.

Once Pretty Work leaves Boothbay, work will commence on the second 42 Mussel Ridge tuna boat, which is scheduled to be launched spring 2025.


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Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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