The Prospector, a 63' x 25' shrimper and crabber built in 1973, was hauled out in March at the Port of Toledo Shipyard in Toledo, Ore., for a major overhaul. The 48-year-old Prospector had been sponsoned and lengthened in 2016, and then repowered with a 640-hp Cummins K-19 in October 2019.

When the Prospector was repowered, its 3-inch shafting wasn’t upgraded. Thus 4-inch shafting was being installed at the Port of Toledo Shipyard to allow for full use of the Cummins power. The Prospector is also getting larger cutlass bearings, larger Babbitt bearings and foundations, and new stuffing boxes at the stern tube and the engine room bulkhead. Plus the engine needed to be realigned, and at the end of that 4-inch shaft will be a new 58-inch, five-blade prop.

The “interesting thing about the shafting,” says the Port of Toledo Shipyard’s Mike Lee, is where it came from. Last year, the 78-foot dragger Miss Sue was hauled at the yard and repowered with a 750-hp Cummins QSK19 and given a new Nautican nozzle and triple rudder. More horsepower meant the Miss Sue’s 4-inch shafting would be replaced with 5-inch shafting.

That’s when the owners of the Prospector and the Miss Sue, who already knew each other, got to talking. The upshot was the Prospector’s owner ended up buying the Miss Sue’s old 4-inch shafting, which is now in the Prospector. The used 4-inch shaft went in as the intermediate shaft. New 4-inch shafting was installed for the tail shaft because it would be stronger. 

Work on the Prospector wasn’t limited to its powertrain. The pilothouse is being expanded and given a new interior, after the aft bulkhead was moved back 4 feet. Down below, the galley and stateroom areas are being stripped out and remodeled.

Shaft work was on the minds of a couple of other boat owners whose vessels were recently hauled out with the Port of Toledo Shipyard’s 600-metric-ton Travel Lift. They included the Northern Ram (ex-Blue Fox), an 85-foot dragger that had its shafting checked over and got a coat of bottom paint; the Pacific, a 75-foot crabber and dragger whose tailshaft passed inspection but left with a new intermediate shaft and bearings, new cutlass bearings, new reduction gear and complete engine alignment.

In addition to its repair work, the Port of Toledo Shipyard had just about finished building a new sandblasting and fabrication shop in March. The shop will be 80 feet wide, 150 feet long and 94 feet tall with a 70 x 70-foot megadoor.

Down in Fort Bragg, Calif., Howard Makela at Makela Boatworks completed work on the 72-year-old Sea Wolf in January. Makela’s father, Fred, and uncle Nick, who started Makela Boatworks, built the Sea Wolf in 1949. She is currently a salmon and albacore troller and crabber that needed new stern deck planking.

Makela Boatworks replaced Douglas fir deck planking on the 72-year-old Sea Wolf, a salmon and albacore troller and crabber. Makela Boatworks photo.

The 51-foot Ed Monk-designed Sea Wolf had been “well taken care of over the years,” says Howard Makela. But after seven decades “there weren’t any nails left” in the original Douglas fir decking, which was also turning “soft and starting to open up.”

New Douglas fir planking — 1 7/8 inches thick and 2 1/2 inches wide — went down over the original deck beams. The planking was fastened to the deck beams with cast, heavily galvanized, quarter-inch-square boat spikes that Makela says, are “a little heavier than a boat nail.”

Makela gets his boat spikes from Keystone Spikes in Lebanon, Penn., which, he says, “is the only place in the United States that makes them.” Speaking about working on older wooden boats, Makela adds, “you have to really search to find any materials these days.”

The seams of the new planking were caulked with cotton and then closed off with marine glue that expands and contracts with the weather while locking in the cotton. The planking was finished off with a coating of Log Oil.

Makela also replaced the coaming around the trolling pit. He figures the Sea Wolf “won’t need any other work in the near future.”

The Sea Wolf was the second boat built by his father and uncle. In March, Makela started work on the first boat they built, the Condor. The 44-foot troller and crabber is getting new window frames and trim around the front of the wheelhouse. About 10 years ago, the Condor was at Makela Boatworks for extensive hull repairs, including new frames and refastening. “Basically it was a rebuild,” says Makela.

Fred and Nick Makela built 14 boats, all Ed Monk designs. Most of them are still fishing off the California coast. 

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

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