A Maine hull goes to Missouri; Mass. boat repaired in Canada

When Brian O'Neil and his father, Andy, sold their Alaska salmon permits in the late 1990s, they thought they were done with commercial fishing. Then several years later, Brian realized he "couldn't get commercial fishing out of my system," and so he bought a permit for Alaska's sockeye salmon drift-gillnet fishery in Cook Inlet.

Of course, he needed a boat, but there aren't a lot of shops turning out commercial fishing boats close to O'Neil in Kansas City, Mo.

Looking for a boat "was a long process," O'Neil remembers. Before moving to Kansas City, he lived in Portland, Ore., where his father finished off a boat or two a year, in his spare time from the city's fire department, so he was familiar with West Coast boats. O'Neil had also been to Maine and thus had something of an idea of New England boats.

He wanted a bare fiberglass hull between 33 and 35 feet long and talked to boatyards that advertise in National Fisherman.

In doing so, O'Neil found that "the name Calvin Beal kept popping up." So he talked with the Beals Island, Maine, boatbuilder, designer and lobsterman, and then communicated with 20-some people, mostly on the Internet, who had a Calvin Beal 34. "They had rave reviews on that particular hull," O'Neil says. That response solidified his choice.

He briefly considered West Coast builders of fiberglass hulls, but "their prices were almost double" that of New England boatbuilders, he says. "And I knew that the Down East boat was a good riding boat and had good speed if you put the power to it."

So the second week in July, O'Neil and his father arrived in Belfast, Maine, at the shop of Scott Lessard who lays up hulls for Beal. A day or so later they set off on the 1,650-mile trip back to Kansas City, towing their new Calvin Beal 34 hull behind them on a trailer.

O'Neil and his father will start working on the hull in October and by spring of 2010, they hope to sea trial the boat in Portland, Ore., and then make the salmon season in Cook Inlet.

Instead of buying deck and house structures with the boat, the two men will stick-build the house and deck. The house will have a Maine lobster boat look to it, except it will be 2 feet higher for better visibility.

A 500-hp Cummins QSC8.3 diesel hooked up to a ZF marine gear with a 1.71:1 reduction will go on the engine beds. O'Neil thinks it might be the fastest inboard-powered gillnetter in Cook Inlet.

On another subject, the strength of the Canadian dollar against the American dollar is one explanation of why fewer American fishermen are going to Canada for new boats.

However, that doesn't seem to hold for repair work, at least not at LeBlanc Brothers Boatbuilders in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia's Lower Wedgeport.

This spring, Richard Aprans of Gloucester, Mass., took his 45-foot Duffy & Duffy lobster boat Black Pearl to LeBlanc Brothers for major renovations. "We tore all the deck and all the bulkheads out," the boatyard's Neil LeBlanc says, adding that since most of the washboards were rotten, they were removed as well.

The replacement transverse and longitudinal bulkheads are 3/4-inch plywood that were fiberglassed to the hull. The 25-year-old deck was rebuilt like the original, with pressure treated deck beams and a pair of pressure treated longitudinal stringers, covered with a layer of 3/4-inch plywood and fiberglass. The new washboards are also plywood and fiberglass.

LeBlanc says live wells were built into the boat and the hydraulic system was pretty much replaced, including a hydraulic pump and most of the hoses. "We added a hydraulic clutch, which the boat didn't have," Neil says.

A new boat built at LeBlanc Brothers was the Knot For Shore.

It's a 50-foot offshore lobster boat that used the boatyard's 50-foot mold, instead of the usual practice for commercial fishing boats of building a 45-foot hull and then adding a 5-foot extension on the stern.

Knot For Shore has a 400-hp Cummins N14 for power.

LeBlanc says four prospective boat owners are talking to the boatyard about having new boats built. The list includes both commercial and recreational boats.

And a 45-foot clammer built at LeBlanc Brothers three years ago will probably be in to have the stern extended 5 feet to accommodate new clam dredging equipment. — Michael Crowley


Trawler picks up a lot of beam; new troller will do charters, too

It seems the three things many West Coast fishermen want — besides, of course, a full fish hold — is a new 58-footer, sponsoning for an existing hull, or a retrofitted bulbous bow.

Hansen Boat Co. in Everett, Wash., has sponsoned a number of boats and retrofitted bulbous bows.

Just before the end of 2007, the 58-foot seiner Icy Mist left Hansen's after being sponsoned about 3 feet on each side. Since June 6, the trawler Caravelle, out of Kodiak, Alaska, has been at Hansen Boat Co. for a sponsoning job.

When the 85-foot Caravelle pulled into the Hansen dock, she had a 24-foot 2 1/2-inch beam. When she leaves in late October, the trawler will have picked up 6 feet on each side, bringing the beam out to 36 feet. A bulbous bow is also being added.

The sponsoning addition will give the Caravelle more fish hold capacity and better stability, says the boatyard's Dan Campbell. The bulb should reduce the boat's pitching motion and will hold potable water.

Campbell says the bow was cut off above the chine and back to bulkhead no. 10, which opens up the fo'c'sle area and makes it easier to fair the sponson plating into the new stem. The additional fo'c'sle space will serve as a dry storage area, but bunks may be built there later.

The fish-hold capacity is being increased by making the void spaces between the original hull plating and the sponson plating into fish holds.

The Caravelle was built with two fish holds. The smaller of the two was later changed to a storage locker. Now that is being turned back into a fish hold with a refrigerated sea water system. All the fish holds will have foam insulation and be lined with stainless steel.

The hull plating was ultrasound tested, "and the plating looked pretty good," Campbell says, except under the small fish hold and the lazarette.

The Caravelle was built in a Gulf of Mexico shipyard, and Campbell says southern shipyards "didn't put longitudinals on board, so they stiffened up the hull with cement. Under the cement never gets maintained. So it's nasty."

The cement was removed from both areas and new hull plating installed. In the lazarette, the structural framing was replaced as well.

Up on deck, the gantry is being raised 8 feet and the net reel 2 feet. "The net reel was too low and interfered with dragging the net aboard," Campbell says.

At a later date, the boat's owner will install a third-wire winch.

Though the sides of the boat have been moved out a lot, the wheelhouse hasn't been expanded. "Once he makes some money, he'll do that," Campbell says.

In 1994, Harold Haynes, a seiner out of Ketchikan, Alaska, had Chris Van Peer build a steel 58-foot limit seiner, the Chasina Bay. Now Haynes is back at Van Peer Boatworks in Fort Bragg, Calif., to have another steel boat built, also named Chasina Bay (after a bay near Ketchikan). The new boat will be a 70-foot troller designed to take on charter parties when Haynes isn't commercial fishing.

Haynes, who has been salmon fishing for 35 years, drew up a general idea of what he wanted the boat to look like and then had Bruce Culver, a naval architect in Vashon, Wash., do the finished drawing and engineering.

Haynes will take charter parties on the Chasina Bay of up to eight people for a week or longer to the islands and waters around Ketchikan. "We'll do kayaking, sight-seeing, fishing and looking at whales and bears," Haynes says.

Charter passengers will have four full bathrooms and four staterooms — plus two staterooms for the crew. There will be a fully equipped galley and "toys," including one- and two-person kayaks and a 90-hp jet ski.

But during salmon season, the skis and kayaks will go ashore, and the crew will have to concentrate on filling the 700-pound capacity deck freeze, which takes the fish down to minus 45 degrees, and from there the main freezer hold.

Electricity to run the galley, lights and freezers will come from 25-kW and 40-kW Northern Lights generators. Propulsion power will be supplied by a 435-hp Lugger L1276A2 diesel. — Michael Crowley


Old buy boat finds new home; crabber gets new chunk stern

Back in February 2007, Colonna's Shipyard in the Port of Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Va., had the blue-painted Good News II on its railway for minor repair work.

The boat was built for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery, but owners Wanchese Fish Co., of Wanchese, N.C., converted her in 2006 for the Atlantic scallop fishery.

In July 2008, Good News II was back on the rails, only this time she was painted red, and the boatyard was Ampro Shipyard in Weems, Va. Good News II was in for normal bottom maintenance work, as well as beefing up the rolling chocks by adding 1/2" (thick) x 6" (wide) lengths of flat-bar steel.

The chocks run forward, starting 10 feet from the stern to a midway point on the pilothouse. When the boat was built, the two rolling chocks were fine for the Gulf of Mexico but not rugged enough for scalloping in the Atlantic. "So, we have welded the 1/2-inch-thick flat bar for further support to the hull," says Lynn Haynie, Ampro Shipyard's manager.

Other work included removing the boat's two props for reconditioning. The propeller shafts were pulled, new Duramax cutlass bearings installed and the stuffing boxes packed.

With the boat out of the water, any zincs more than 50 percent wasted were replaced.

Another boat at Ampro Shipyard is the Peggy, a wooden deadrise buy boat that's in the water awaiting an engine. The Peggy is 55' x 12' 2" x 4' 3" and was built in 1925 by Harry A. Hudgins of Peary, Va.

The Mathews Maritime Foundation in Mathews, Va., recently received the boat as a donation. The yard removed the old engine, a John Deere 6068, and is replacing it with a new Cummins 6BTA diesel and a 2:1 Twin Disc reduction gear, Haynie says.

Another scalloper owned by a Seaford, Va., company is scheduled for routine maintenance, as is a menhaden snapper boat owned by Kellum Seafood in Weems.

Ampro's railway is booked up into the fall. "With the climate of the economy the way it is now, we are very pleased that we have as much work as we do," Haynie says.

Over in Deltaville, Va., Deltaville Boatyard has a deadrise workboat in for major repairs. She belongs to Keith Ruse, the boatyard's owner, who uses her for boatyard work and commercial crabbing.

The 42-footer is a Jackson Creek round-stern deadrise built by the late Alfred Norris. Norris was one of several builders who constructed boats in their backyard along Deltaville's Lovers Lane in the early- to mid-20th century.

There were so many boatbuilders in Deltaville at one time that watermen would identify their boats as being built along either one of two creeks — Jackson Creek or Broad Creek.
Since most of the boats in the 1940s and 50s had round sterns, watermen called their boats Jackson Creek round sterns or Broad Creek round sterns.

Ruse's boat has a classic Virginia-style chunk stern. Deltaville Boatyard is removing several rotten chunks and replacing them with new wood cut from white oak.

A chunked stern has layered chunks placed so the ends of the chunks of one layer don't match up with the ends of the wood in the layer above or below it. Another type of Virginia stern used relatively narrow vertical staving to enclose the stern. Some watermen favored staving for a stern, as opposed to chunks, because many repaired their own boats and staving was easier to work on.

Deltaville Boatyard is also replacing portions of the bilge clamps, which are also called bilge keelsons. These are the timbers running from stem to stern at the chine, to which side and bottom planking are fastened. The rotten wood is being replaced with white oak.

The boat is getting new side-step planks and several yellow pine side planks. A step plank is tapered, runs about a quarter of the boat's length starting at the bow, and is positioned between the chine and the hull's first-side plank. The step plank's wide end is at the stem. It eliminates any squareness where the bottom and side planking meet, creating a smooth, finished look throughout the boat's length.

Several frames toward the stern are also being replaced.

The boatyard has a wide range of talented craftsmen who can work on fiberglass, steel, aluminum and wooden boats.
— Larry Chowning

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