In the fall Fairhaven Shipyard in Fairhaven, Mass., launched the 90' x 30' dragger Francis Dawn that’s now fishing out of Portland, Maine. The yard crew is also building a 90' x 28' clam boat that’s due to be completed this spring (see “Shuck driver,” NF March 2020). “We try to launch one boat a year,” says Fairhaven Shipyard’s Kevin McLaughlin. Currently he’s talking with two fishermen about having scallopers built.

Farrell & Norton Naval Architects designed the Francis Dawn and the clam boat that’s under construction. (Farrell & Norton is also designing two scallopers. One to be built at Duckworth Steel Boats in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and the other at Jemison Marine in Bayou La Batre, Ala.) What makes the Francis Dawn different from most draggers is “it has an aft engine room, and the fish hold is forward,” says Farrell & Norton’s Tom Farrell at the company’s Newcastle, Maine, office. Having the fish hold forward makes it easier to take care of the fish and “helps the way the boat goes through the progression of the trip, by helping the boat stay in more of a level condition.” In the engine room a 1,100-hp Mitsubishi provides propulsion power.

Another difference between the Francis Dawn and other draggers is its beam. Normally it would be 26 to 28 feet, says Farrell, but with its 30-foot beam, the Francis Dawn “has got a lot of deck space and a lot of carrying capacity.”

The 90-foot clam boat has a stern dredge and an 800-hp Cummins for power. She will fish for surf clams out of Atlantic City, N.J. “It’s a little smaller than the ones that go offshore,” says Farrell. The clams will be stored in four tanks.

Beyond building new boats, Fairhaven Shipyard’s McLaughlin notes, “I’ve got a whole variety of stuff going on.” He’s talking about several engine overhauls, mostly Caterpillar 3512s and 3508s and “a lot of shaft replacements. The machine shop has been extraordinarily busy building new shafts.” These are for older boats with shafts that have done, says McLaughlin, “a lot of twisting, twisting, and twisting over 20, 25, 30 years.” Then there are always boats, generally between 80 and 160 feet, in for maintenance, everything from bottom painting to hull replacement.

Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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