John Williams, of Stonington, Maine, started fishing with his father when he was only 6 years old, and from then on, he’s lived a life on the water. “I fished an outboard in high school and bought his 34-foot Jonesporter when I graduated. We went groundfishing during the ’80s and back lobstering in 1990.”
Today, Williams lobsters on his 8-year-old Khristy Michelle, which he named after two of his nieces. “I had it built at John’s Bay Boat Company, in South Bristol Maine, by Peter Kass and crew (on) Nov. 12, 2012. Most people think wooden boats are more expensive, but they are not. Wood isn’t as expensive as resin.”
Williams is pleased with the way Kass built the Khristy Michelle.
“Peter designed my boat. This is the second boat he built for me. My last boat was 41 feet. We extended this one to 44 feet to get a better run. She is better on fuel and gets lower RPMs.”
He says wooden boats are often misunderstood: “Everyone thinks wooden boats have a short lifespan, but if you haul out and paint them every year, they will last a lifetime.”
Williams is rooted in the Downeast Maine town he grew up in, and his boat connects him to the community in ways that go beyond fishing.
“We’ve always lived and fished out of Stonington, and I have the privilege to be able to tie up my boat at the Atlantic Avenue Dock. Stonington is a great place to fish from. We have eight full-service docks to work from. We also have a full-service shipyard at Billings Diesel & Marine Service.” He even uses his boat for special occasions.
“My crew, Marissa Billings Carter and Zack Carter, were married aboard the Khristy Michelle, when it was new.”
He and his wife have two sons, but neither one has chosen lobstering as a career, says Williams. “If you don’t love it, don’t do it.”
But, for Williams, who describes his boat as a work of art, “fishing has been a great life. Anything we can do to keep it going for the younger generation, we have to try.”
HOME PORT: Stonington, Maine
OWNER: John R. Williams
BUILDER: Johns Bay Boat, Peter Kass & Crew
YEAR BUILT: 2012
HULL MATERIAL: Wood
LENGTH: 44 feet
BEAM: 14 feet
DRAFT: 5 feet
TONNAGE: 32 tons
CREW CAPACITY: 1-2
MAIN PROPULSION: QSL9 Cummings
GEARBOX: ZF Gear 2.17
PROPELLER: 32'' x 30''
SPEED: Cruising at 15-17 knots; 19 top end
FUEL CONSUMPTION: About 1 gallon per mile: “Just put a new engine in last week, so I’m not sure at this time.”
FUEL CAPACITY: 300 gallons
HOLD CAPACITY: 80 traps, comfortably
ELECTRONICS: Furuno radar, depth finder, loran; Hondex plotter; two Standard Horizon VHF radios