You can tell a healthy fishery when people are building new boats for it, and the Atlantic scallop fishery fits solidly in that column. Nordic Fisheries, the company that Roy Enoksen started in 1968 with the purchase of the venerable Sea Trek, is now in the process of replacing much of its extensive fleet. The latest addition, the 85-foot F/V Heritage, came out of Junior Duckworth’s yard, Duckworth Steel Boats, in Tarpon Springs, Fla., in early February 2021.
Junior Duckworth watched boats being built as a kid.
“There was a yard near where I grew up where they were building wooden boats, steaming the ribs in and all that,” says Duckworth. But when he got out of the Army in 1965, he went to work building steel boats at a local yard. “I learned a lot, and worked my way up,” he says, and in 1978, he launched his own company.
Duckworth builds his steel boats the old-fashioned way, stick built, fitting and cutting each piece of plate onto the frames.
“It takes a little longer, but you don’t waste as much material,” he says. Maine-based naval architects Farrell & Norton send Duckworth a set of offsets, and he lofts them full-size in a roofed section of his yard. Duckworth takes the three-dimensional shapes of the frames off the two-dimensional loftings, the same as the wooden boatbuilders he watched as a kid. “I do it the way we’ve always done it. I’m too old to learn all the computer stuff,” says Duckworth, 78.
The vessel’s full dimensions are 85 feet long, with a beam of 28 feet, and a draft of 9 feet. With the frames set up and faired, Duckworth’s crew begins sticking on the plate.
“We built the hull out of A36 steel,” says Duckworth. “We use 3/8ths on the bottom and sides up to the main deck, quarter-inch on the wheelhouse except in the front where the waves hit. Where the dredges land on deck can be as much as an inch thick, and along the sides where the dredges come banging up is 3/4.”
Duckworth figures the Heritage is the 15th boat he has built for Nordic Fisheries over the last 10 years. He runs a crew of around 15 welders, fitters, electricians, and mechanics, more when he’s building two boats at a time.
“I like to keep things small,” he says. “That gives me more control over things. The most we ever built was three at a time, but I was a lot more agile then.”
Besides his crew, specialists from New Bedford, Mass., such as Tony Vieira of TK Electronics and technicians from Marine Hydraulics, travel to Florida to install equipment. “They come down, and some of our guys will help them,” says Duckworth.