The lobster boat Thunderstruck, a 35 Mitchell Cove, has come back to where it all started. That would be 20 years ago when Farrin’s Boat Shop in Walpole, Maine, first built the Calvin Beal Jr.-designed Thunderstruck for lobsterman John Geyer.

Eventually Geyer sold the boat, then it was sold at least one more time and recently sold again, only this time to Zachery Geyer, John’s son, who returned the Thunderstruck to Farrin’s Boat Shop to be repowered and refurbished.

Despite its 20-years, the Thunderstruck’s hull is in very good shape and didn’t require major structural work, only to be sanded, primed and spray painted.  “The hull was in perfect shape. It’s as good as the day it was built,” says the boatshop’s Bruce Farrin. Just about the same goes for the wheelhouse, “hardly any repair there, a little around one of the windows.”

The wood-framed plywood deck was in fairly good shape, but, after 20 years, the galvanized fastenings had lost their hold. Thus, the deck was replaced with new wood framing and fiberglassed Coosa board. At the original closed stern, Farrin’s Boat Shop is building a 3-foot fiberglass extension for stacking lobster traps.

Farrin figures that Geyer will be able to put 12 traps on the extension. For hauling lobster traps, the 12-inch hauler is being replaced with a 14-inch hauler. “He fishes offshore quite a bit in 600 feet of water,” says Farrin, “and needs more speed and power.”

Beneath the deck is a single center-line fuel tank that Farrin’s Boat Shop cut some holes in and in early January was being cleaned out and by Maine Fuel Polishing. The Caterpillar C9 that Farrin says “was either 500 or 550-hp” has been replaced with an 800-hp Scania, along with a new drive train. Farrin feels the increased horsepower should get the Thunderstruck “to probably cruise at 26 to 27 knots.” There’s also new wiring, new hydraulics and a new exhaust system. .

The prop was repitched by Nautilus Marine Fabrication in Trenton, Maine. Something about the prop that Farrin says is unusual is “John and Zach both prefer 3-blade props instead of 4 bladed. They claim it’s a faster wheel.” That’s opposed to “80 percent to 90 percent of vessel operators that go with 4-blade and a few have 5-blade.”

Looking ahead to Thunderstruck’s future, Farrin feels “it should have another 20 years.”

Farrin’s Boat Shop’s next project is a 42-foot Calvin Beal hull from SW Boatworks in Lamoine, Maine, that will be launched as a patrol boat for the Maine Marine Patrol. It will be powered with a 800-hp MAN diesel and have a 17-inch hauler. Three years ago, Farrin’s Boat Shop built another 42-footer for the Maine Marine Patrol. 

Thunderstruck underway after it first came out of Farrin's Boat Shop 20 years ago. Farrin's Boat Shop photo.

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

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