Strongback Metal Boats, which relocated from Bellingham, Wash., to Sedro-Woolley, is taking its boatbuilding business back to Bellingham, where Pat Pitsch and his son, Rory, started the shop in 2008.
“We are going back to the way it used to be,” says Pat Pitsch. That means a slightly smaller boatbuilding facility and a restructuring of Strongback Metal Boats management. Pat Pitsch, who also founded All American Marine in 1987, will be running the business.
In early June, while the move was taking place, Pitsch was working to close a couple of boatbuilding deals. One is for a Bristol Bay gillnetter and the other is a landing craft.
One of the last projects Strongback Metal Boats completed in Sedro-Woolley was a 32′ x 15′ 10″ gillnetter for Jeff Burwell of Glennallen, Alaska. For power there’s a pair of 493-hp Cummins QSC 8.3-liter engines matched up with ZF gears and high-thrust MJP UltraJet 340 jet drives. On sea trials, that power package delivered a light-boat speed just over 30 knots.
Forward of the engines the seven RSW fish holds — three on each side and one amidships — have a total capacity of about 16,500 pounds of salmon.
On deck is a 72″ x 18″ hydraulic net reel just aft of the cabin and 11 feet back from the reel is a hydraulic net roller on the transom with a Warn hub allowing the roller to free wheel or to turn outboard when setting. Both are from Kinematics Marine Equipment in Marysville, Wash. In between the net reel and the roller there’s plenty of space to pick fish from the net and, if need be, carry a sizeable deck load.
On the starboard side of the net reel, a door leads into a heated gear locker that also has a head and shower. Through the door on the port side of the reel, a short flight of steps goes up to the wheelhouse, while another set of steps goes down to the accommodations area. There you’ll find four bunks (a fifth bunk is in the wheelhouse) and a galley.