At the end of March, the crew at Little River Boat Shop in Cutler, Maine, was close to finishing the Miss Laura, a 44 Calvin for Josh Harjula, a South Thomaston, Maine lobsterman.

The 44’ x 176” hull is made of fiberglass and composite. Hamilton Marine's fiberglass I-beams support the deck, which is covered with a 3/4-inch Coosa Board sandwiched between layers of fiberglass and 1/2-inch rubber decking laid down in 4-foot-wide strips. 

Below the deck and near the stern are two aluminum 300-gallon fuel tanks. Forward of the fuel tanks are three lobster tanks. The center lobster tank will hold 8 crates and is only floodable. The starboard and port tanks also hold eight crates but can be flooded or sprinkled. Sprinkle tanks drain water over the crates, and then the water goes out through an above-the-waterline scupper.

When all three tanks are flooded, the boat settles down a bit more in the water, which “makes it a little better in heavy weather,” notes Little River’s Nick Lemieux.

Forward of the lobster tanks is a 6-cylinder 800-hp Scania, matched up to a 2.5:1 ZF gear that powers a 36” x 42” prop on a 2 1/2-inch shaft from R.E. Thomas in Hancock, Maine. With that power combination, Lemieux figures the Miss Laura should be good for 25 knots and with an full load cruise at 20 to 21 knots.

The Miss Laura will be guided along her way from a split wheelhouse. When hauling lobster traps, she will use the starboard steering station. Otherwise, she will use “the inside steering station way over to the port side,” Lemieux says. 

Up in the fo’c’sle is a set of V-berths with a single bunk above the V-berths on the starboard side. A companionway wall has an opening that leads to the bunks and is built into the aft side of the companionway wall, and the side of the hull "is a nice cabinet countertop," says Lemieux, one on each side of the opening. A microwave and coffee pot are on one countertop, and the other is a bench vise. " We integrated a flush-mounted toolbox into one of the cabinets,” adds Lemieux. 

The Miss Laura should be launched at the end of April. The previous launch at Little River was the Obsession for Lemieux’s son Ryan. The Obsession is a modified 40-year-old Young Brothers that had a 6-inch hard chine built into the hull and was lengthened to 42 feet. A 1,000-hp Caterpillar powers the 42-footer.

After the Miss Laura is launched, there’s some repair work, and then the Little River Boat Shop shuts down for the summer and fall so the boatyard’s crew can go lobstering. When the shop reopens next winter, construction begins on a 36 Calvin for a local lobsterman.

The crew of the Little River Boat Shop in front of the 42-foot Obsession that was launched last year and then entered several of Maine’s lobster boat races. Little River Boat Shop photo.

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

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