J.C. Kinnamon of Tilghman, Md., delivered a new 40-foot fiberglass-over-wood deadrise workboat named Spandex to waterman Ernie George of White Stone, Va., in November.

This is the third new boat Kinnamon has built for George.

“He has two of my boats working now,” says Kinnamon. “Ernie has one of my 36-footers for crabbing, and he is using the new one to oyster. The fall crab and oyster seasons overlap in Virginia, and Ernie uses two boats — one rigged for each fishery — to take full advantage of that overlap.”

George, 65, says this is correct but that he built the new larger boat to allow himself to downsize some as he gets older. He says he plans to sell the smaller 36-foot deadrise and use his new boat as his only boat in Virginia’s oyster, blue crab and gillnet fisheries.

“This boat is more comfortable because it has more (pilothouse/house) room,” says George. “At my age, I’m thinking about comfort and less work. I’m going to cut back to one boat and focus on what it can do for me.”

George is currently using the 40-foot deadrise in Virginia’s patent tong oyster fishery and was working in January on public oyster grounds off the mouth of the Rappahannock River in Chesapeake Bay.

The new boat has a rebuilt 300-hp Cummins diesel engine that came with a violent past. The engine was in a yacht that caught fire and burned.

“It had low hours on it, and I bought the engine thinking it would be alright,” says George. “But it wasn’t! It was stuck!” George took the engine to 17 Machinery in Hayes, Va.

“They rebuilt it, and J.C. installed it in Maryland,” he says. “When I went to pick it up, the boat was turnkey. J.C. had her fueled up and ready to go. I started her up, took her home, and I’ve put 150 hours on her and haven’t had a minute’s trouble with it.”

George’s electronics include a Furuno radar, a 2010C GPSMap chart plotter, Garmin GPSMap 541S chart plotter, and a Simrad Marine VHF Radio.

“Give Mr. Kinnamon a good word,” says George. “He is building affordable, quality boats for us watermen.”

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Larry Chowning is a writer for the Southside Sentinel in Urbanna, Va., a regular contributor to National Fisherman, and the author of numerous books.

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