At the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op, planks were being removed from the 58-foot seiner Defiance the second week in January, all because of an abrupt encounter with a large rock that put “a good-size hole in the bottom of the boat and tore the keel cooler off,” says Brad Seamans, one of the co-op’s 12 owners and the one in charge of the Defiance project.

Seamans admits he’s surprised the Defiance didn’t sink.

“He got real lucky,” Seamans adds. The Defiance managed to limp into the Alaska port of Cordova to be hauled out and have a large plywood patch fastened over the impact area, received a new keel cooler and the fuel tank was patched.

The Defiance finished the season and then was hauled at the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op in Port Townsend, Wash. Seamans estimates when the Defiance leaves, she’ll go out with at least 10 new frames and 20 planks. That doesn’t include some frames Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op had sistered seven years ago, which splintered out to the inside of the boat upon hitting the rock. Those will have to be replaced, and a couple of ceiling planks might also be replaced.

Prior to starting work on the Defiance, Port Townsend Shipwrights received a load of Port Orford cedar from Oregon, which will be used for the new planking. The planking will be fastened with galvanized #20 screws.

A hole needs to be cut in the fish hold to get at the 10-foot-long fuel tank that was damaged. It will be replaced with two 5-foot tanks.

The Polaris, an 82-foot wooden halibut schooner built in 1913, will be hauled in February to be caulked along the starboard side. She’ll also have the shaft aligned and get bottom and topside painting.

The 65-foot Evening Star, built in 1945, left in January after being set up to fish with pots. She had always been a traditional longliner. Last season, Seamans says a sonar interference machine was used to try and keep whales away from the fishing gear, and avoid having to go to pots.

“But it was more an attractor than a deterrent for the whales,” he says. Thus the switch to pots.

In June 2020, Bay Weld Boats completed a 23' x 11' 6" seine skiff that would be matched up with the seiner Mary Ann for a Kodiak, Alaska, fisherman. The seine skiff had the largest water jet installed in a Bay Weld Boats-built seine skiff and was the heaviest seine skiff to come out of the Homer, Alaska, boatshop by about 30 percent.

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

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