Farrin’s Boatshop in Walpole, Maine, is finishing off two fiberglass hulls as sportfishing boats, though the term “sportfishing” doesn’t accurately describe one of the boats, a 46’ x 15’ Muscle Ridge for a California owner in the Santa Barbara area.

True, it’s being built as a family cruiser, which explains items of creature comfort, such as freezer, refrigerator and microwave oven encountered while going from the pilot house into the main salon, along with heating and air conditioning.

But not the 14-inch hauler that will be aft of the main salon’s bulkhead, the hull sheathing below what will be the hauling station or the open stern encased in stainless steel. Those features will come into play when the boat’s owner retires and fully takes advantage of his crab, lobster, tuna, salmon and shrimp permits.

This is not the first boat Farrin has sent to California constructed on a Maine lobster boat hull. Over the past 15 to 18 years Farrin’s Boatshop has shipped 13 or 14 boats to California, “mostly pleasure boats,” he says, and mostly to the Ventura and Santa Barbara area.

The owner of the first one took it for a cruise to Santa Catalina Island, which lies about 22 miles off the Southern California coast. There he moored off the island for a couple of weeks and “people would paddle around and look at the Maine lobster boat hull all fancied up,” says Farrin.

That image of the Maine boat caught on because “people wanted something different,” says Farrin, which led to Farrin’s Boatshop finishing off hulls from Wayne Beal, Calvin Beal, Duffy and JC Boat, among others, for California owners.

The boat currently being worked on has a Coosa board deck gel-coated with a non-slip finish and supported by Strongwell fiberglass framing. Below it is a 1,150-hp Caterpillar for power and a Seakeeper Gyro system with a flywheel that spins at speeds up to 9,700 rpm to prevent the boat from rolling. There also will be two wet storage areas with circulating water. “One can be used for live bait, another for live product,” says Farrin.

The 46-footer should go out the shop doors and into the water by June 1 with the name Blood Stripe on the bow and across the transom. If you were a Marine, as is the boat’s owner, you would know what that refers to. It’s the scarlet red stripe on the outside leg seam of  dress uniform trousers worn by Marine Corps officers and noncommissioned officers, representing sacrifices made by Marines.

Come fall, Farrin’s Boatshop has an opening. Originally there weren’t any open slots for new boat construction, but Farrin’s Boatshop is experiencing the same problem plaguing other boatyards: “Guys are backing off because of wind farms and whales,” says Farrin.

Two younger fishermen had signed up to have boats built, but “they decided it was not the best time” to build a new boat. However one of them has a 20-year-old Mitchell Cove “we are going to repower,” says Farrin, adding with a tone of disgust: “There’s a lot of repercussions with all this mess they are trying to pull on fishermen.” 

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

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