F/V Petten's Legacy launched in late January after being in the works for years. The Petten family of Port de Grave, a peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, owns the vessel. Matthew Petten endured setbacks before eventually getting the 400-ton, 90-foot by 32-foot boat in the water. The dimensions were the largest allowable under federal government rules for the inshore sector.
The pandemic was the first issue during the building process, driving up costs, leading to financial problems with the shipyard, and the collapse in crab prices. These delays led to costs of more than $10 million for the steel-hulled multi-species fishing vessel. However, the family was determined to get the boat floating and fishing. The Legacy was named in honor of Matthew's father, Dwight Petten, who passed away a year ago after a battle with cancer.
"Nothing goes as planned, but we persevered and pushed through," Matthew told CBC Canada.
The Petten's signed the contract for the boat to be built at Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises shipyard, but by November of last year, the yard was granted court protection from creditors and was $16 million in debt. Harbour Grace claimed that the build-up in debt was the slowdown of the fishing industry.
The documents indicated that the shipyard had cash flow issues and struggled to meet payroll and utility costs. It was just another hurdle for the Legacy to be built, and Matthew and his crew wouldn't let it slow them down. The vessel was meant to be built at a yard close to home, and he wanted to use as many local suppliers as possible. He finished his fishing season and took over the construction process of the Legacy.
"We didn't know if we would show up one day and the yard would just be shut down," he told CBC.
The Legacy's refrigerated tanks can hold up to 100,000 pounds of crab, have a million-dollar engine room and the latest electronics, and accommodate up to nine crew members. The vessel is likely the most extensive and most expensive multi-species boat ever built at an NL shipyard.
CBC reported that the boat was constructed roughly 400 feet from the water's edge and was too heavy and wide to be launched by the yard's Travelift. Heavy lift specialists from the U.S. were brought in to use airbags to gradually slide the Legacy into the water with help from excavators, front-end loaders, cranes, and other equipment.
"It's been quite a few challenges, a few delays to say the least, but it all worked out," Matthew told CBC.
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