Most Maine lobstermen just like to go fast; it’s been that way since the days of sail and probably will always be that way.
It’s true for lobstermen who like a good race and true for those that fish offshore and don’t want to waste a lot of time getting there. Both facts explain the 1,000-hp FPT diesel in the Reverence, a 42’ Mussel Ridge lobster boat that Sargent’s Custom Boats in Milbridge, Maine, built this year for Duncan Haass of Lamoine, Maine. Asked why 1,000 horses were needed for a lobster boat, boatyard owner Joe Sargent laughed and said, “Why? Go Fast!”
Launched this past June, the Reverence is a step up for Haass. His previous boat was the Navigator, a Calvin Beal 36 with a 750-hp MAN that Haass had raced in past Maine Lobster Boat Races. This year Haass took to the starting lines again but with the Reverence in the Winter Harbor Lobster Boat Races on August 13, in the Diesel Class N race (40 feet and over, 751 hp and over).
When it’s time to set and haul traps, the Reverence will be traveling up to 35 miles offshore, and the 1,000-hp FTP will definitely get Haass to the grounds and back sooner than a less robust diesel. For those longer runs, Sargent’s Custom Boats added a lifting strake to the bottom of the hull “to help her up a little more” and break free of the water, Sargent noted.
A boat that was close to being finished in October at Sargent’s was a 33 Crowley Beal for Ethan Debery, a Casco Bay lobsterman. Bolted to the engine beds is a 400-hp John Deere. That’s a good engine for the 33-footer, because “he doesn’t fish way offshore. He fishes in the bay,” explains Sargent.
The Crowley Beal will have an open wheelhouse with a removable winter-back; up forward is a V-berth and a shelving unit. Both the Reverence and the 33 Crowley Beal are 100 percent composite construction.
“Small ones (like the 33 Crowley Beal) are an oddity for us,” says Sargent of the commercial lobster boats that go out of his Milbridge boat shop.
The boatyard’s next project is a 46 Wesmac hull that will be built into a lobster boat with a 1,000-hp FPT as soon as the 33 Crowley Beal leaves the shop. Only time will tell if the 46 Wesmac will be idling up to the starting line at any of the races on Maine’s lobster boat racing circuit next year.