Sargent’s Custom Boats in Milbridge, Maine, has built two lobster boats for Maine lobstermen in the past few months. The Miss Lindsay, a 33’x12’ Crowley-Beal went to Phippsberg’s Ethen Deberry in May, and the Fifth Generation (as in five generations of Maine lobstermen), a 46’ x 14’ 6” Wesmac, was launched in July for Steuben’s Mark Kelley.
Kelley, like a lot of Maine lobstermen, likes to go fast. That accounts for the 1,000-hp FPT that’s bolted to the Fifth Generation’s engine beds. The FPT gets the Fifth Generation up to “around 30 knots,” says Sargent’s Custom Boats Joe Sargent. The need for a faster than usual lobster boat also explains coating the deck with Philly Clad instead of laying down rubber matting. Rubber matting has become very popular for covering decks of lobster boats, but Kelley, says Sargent, “was looking for speed and didn’t want to add (rubber matting’s) extra weight. Every pound adds up.”
The Fifth Generation has a split wheelhouse and V-berth up forward. On the Philly Clad deck, she “easily carries 120 traps,” says Sargent. Below deck are 16 crates for storing lobsters. While Sargent’s Custom Boats built the Fifth Generation, Kelley installed all the systems.
Ethan Deberry’s 33-foot Miss Lindsay is powered with a 400-hp John Deere that pushes her to about 22 knots. There’s a V-berth and shelving in the forward cabin and a removable winter back on the wheelhouse. Unlike the Fifth Generation, the Miss Lindsay has 3/8-inch rubber decking. There’s also a stern extension off the transom. The Miss Lindsay should be able to carry 60 traps on deck.
Sargent says “the boat is completely finished with Awlgrip. We are doing quite a bit of Awlgrip finishes,” he adds. That’s because Awlgrip, unlike gelcoat, “is really smooth and cleans up really easily,” says Sargent. “There’s no texture like with gelcoat.”
Currently, Sargent’s Custom Boats is building a 41 Northern Bay for a sports fisherman, but it will be two years before Sargent’s Custom Boats builds another lobster boat, due to an issue that’s made a number of boatbuilders nervous. Building lobster boats “goes in spurts,” says Sargent.
“With all this whale bullcrap they’ve got going on and the interest rates being asinine, it’s got the lobstermen thinking twice.” When inquiries for lobster boats slack off, the pleasure boat business picks up at Sargent’s. “It’s been that way with us over 20 years and it’s doing that cycle now.” Fortunately for Sargent’s,”we are small so don’t need tons of boats to keep busy.”
The lobster boat that’s due to be built two years from now? It’s a 42 RP that will be going to Phippsberg. That’s planning ahead!