Maine yard takes familiar job; steel stern trawler is a revival

For each of the past three years, H&H Marine in Steuben, Maine, has taken on a rebuild of a Repco 37-footer. The latest one was the Miss Lisa, which went back in the water the last week of March in Sorrento, Maine.

Repco, which is long out of business, was on Route 1 in Gouldsboro. The shop was one of the early builders of fiberglass lobster boats in Maine — after Webber's Cove and maybe Jarvis Newman— and since the Miss Lisa is 30 years old in May, she must have been one of the early Repco hulls.

The cabins and wash rails on these boats would have been stick-built of plywood and fiberglass, and the plywood is the weak point: Once moisture gets to it, the wood delaminates and rots. And water does get to it.

Frank Trundy, the Miss Lisa's owner, says his boat "was getting some age. I knew in a few years it would start to go. The price of the stuff is going up, and now is the time to do it."

H&H Marine has a relatively easy solution for owners of the 37-foot Repco. The molded fiberglass top and wash rails for the H&H 37 can be used on the Repco 37-footer once the hull is widened. "The 37 molded top fits perfectly when you widen [the hull] 18 inches on the transom," Trundy says.

Nearly three decades ago, Trundy bought the hull new and then finished it off himself. This time, he rented a space at H&H, hired two guys to strip out everything from the hull but the 300-hp Caterpillar 3126 engine, gear and drive shaft. Then the crew at H&H widened the boat, and Trundy and his crew rebuilt the boat with all new parts.

The same day the Miss Lisa went in the water, two new H&H lobster boats were launched. An H&H 42 lobster boat hit the water in Milbridge, Maine. Milbridge's Barry Hutchins finished off the boat for Mike Fergerson of nearby Cutler. Hutchins is a past owner of H&H Marine who now finishes off a couple of boats in the winter and lobsters the rest of the year, says H&H Marine's Bruce Grindle.

The mold that Fergerson's boat was built in can be widened from 15 feet 3 inches to 17 feet 3 inches. On Fergerson's boat, the beam was pushed to the maximum.

The 42-footer has an 800-hp Scania diesel for main power, which is hooked up to a ZF 360A marine gear with a 1.964:1 ratio.

The second boat is a 32-footer that had been finished off at the boatshop by its owner, Elliott Grant of Steuben.

If you are in the market for a 47-footer, H&H Marine has finished the mold for its new 47' x 19' 2" hull and in late March was completing the plug for the molded top.

Down in Fairhaven, Mass., an 83-foot dragger is being built at Fairhaven Shipyard. It's the first steel fishing boat to be built in New England in a number of years, and it's been about 66 years since Fairhaven Shipyard built its last commercial fishing boat.

Farrell and Norton Naval Architects, with offices in Newcastle, Maine, and Fairhaven, Mass., designed the 83' x 24' stern trawler for a customer who does not want to be named.

Instead of going to a boatyard in the South to have his boat built, the boat's owner wanted it built closer to home, and there's also a big backlog of boat construction in Southern yards, says Kevin McLaughlin, who, along with Max Isaksen, purchased Fairhaven Shipyard in December 2005.

For main power, the single-chine dragger will have a Caterpillar 3412 diesel. Caterpillar engines will also power the winch engine and gensets. The prop will spin inside a Kort nozzle.

The keel for the boat was laid in January, and she should be launched this summer.

Before starting construction on the dragger, Fairhaven Shipyard was known for maintenance and repair work on commercial boats and pleasure boats. McLaughlin hopes that building the 83-footer isn't a one-shot deal and new construction will be added to the boatyard's repertoire. Already he says there have been "a few inquiries" from fishermen about having a boat built.
— Michael Crowley


Wash. is awash in 58-footers; bulbous bows for Delta boats

Westman Marine in Blaine, Wash., recently hauled a number of steel boats in the 58-foot range.

The Decade, a dragger and longliner out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, was hauled on the boatyard's 300-ton railway for a sponsoning job. The hull picked up an additional 3 feet 8 inches on each side. The sponsoning ran from the transom to about 10 feet shy of the bow, where it was faired into the hull, says the boatyard's Bob Gudmundson.

The hull's original side plating was not removed. Freshwater tanks were built into the after sections of the sponsoning. Gudmundson says the work was done to improve the boat's stability.

The Aleutian Isle, a Dungeness crabber and longliner was in to have its bottom sandblasted and painted, among other miscellaneous work. The seiner Sea Gypsy was also in for sandblasting and painting.

The Reliance was tied to the boatyard's dock in early March so the bulwark's cap could be removed and replaced with stainless steel. Gudmundson says the use of stainless steel is becoming more common as a way to cut back on long-term maintenance costs.

Gudmundson adds that more fishermen are making inquiries about upgrading their boats, including sponsoning.

"I think the fishing industry is starting to get healthier, and people are willing to invest in the industry.

"With some it's quota. If they can get enough that they own, then in the long term they see that they can pay for something. I think that's what's spurring some of it," he says.

Platypus Marine in Port Angeles, Wash., is another boatyard that fishermen are coming to for upgrades to 58-footers. Platypus Marine seems to have carved out a niche for 58-foot fiberglass hulls that were built as limit seiners by Delta Marine in Seattle. (Delta Marine opened its yard in the 1960s and built many fishing boats before switching to yacht construction in the 1980s.)

For nearly three years, Platypus Marine has been installing rolling chocks on Delta hulls, and by the end of May, they will have put two bulbous bows on 58-foot Delta hulls.

The Delta 58s pack a lot of fish, and fishermen like them, but "they are a little on the roly side," says Platypus Marine's Charlie Crane.

Delta built rolling chocks for the hulls, but that didn't really solve the problem. Platypus Marine came up with the idea to build a larger rolling chock and install it over the hull's existing rolling chocks. Delta's rolling chocks stick out about 12 inches from the hull, whereas the ones installed at Platypus Marine stick out 21 inches and are 26 feet long.

Most recently, two Delta 58-footers were in for rolling chocks. One was the Amber Dawn, a longliner, which also had her exhaust stack rebuilt.

The second boat was the Sound Star, a combination seiner and longliner, which went out of the boatyard with some new paint, as well as rolling chocks. Crane says the boat's captain, Ed Manning, "was excited about the huge difference the chocks made."

The two Delta-built boats coming in for bulbous bows are the Alaskan Lady and the Cape Reliant. The bulbous bows are being built prior to the boats' arrival, so the turnaround time is short. Crane says it will take six to seven working days to haul a boat, install a bulb, paint the bottom and put the boat back in the water.

He estimates that with a bulbous bow, which was designed by Roddan Engineering in Vancouver, British Columbia, a Delta hull will reduce its fuel consumption by 10 to 15 percent, while improving the boat's seakeeping ability. Depending on how far a boat travels, Crane figures a fisherman could "get the return back on his investment in three to four years" from the reduced fuel costs.

Platypus Marine doesn't just work on fiberglass boats. The Lady Kate, a 90-foot steel tender built by Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, Ala., was put back in the water with the boatyard's 330-ton travel lift, after she had the fuel and water tanks replaced and work done
on the hull and deck.

The Pacific Sojourn, a 72-foot tender built by Hansen Boat in Everett, Wash., was another steel boat that was hauled. The Cordova, Alaska-based boat got some new plating and new cap rails, and had work done on the hydraulics, bow thruster and running gear. Then she was completed, sandblasted and painted.
— Michael Crowley


Croatia snaps up shrimp boats; Va. builder choosy with wood

About a year ago, Russell Steiner of Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Ala., went to a federal auction and bought six used shrimp boats.

Steiner has fixed up two of the boats and has sold them to fishermen from the Republic of Croatia. The 90' x 23' x 12' boats will be used in the Mediterranean tuna sea-farming fishery.

Steiner is not the only Bayou La Batre boatbuilder buying shrimp boats, doing minor refurbishing and reselling them. Steiner says another boatbuilder is fixing up four shrimp boats to send to Croatia.

"They can buy them cheap here because the dollar is down compared to the Euro, and the boats are being sold cheap," Steiner says.

"I've seen this happen in years past," he says. "When our shrimp fishery becomes depressed because of over expanding and high fuel cost, and we've got a lot of boats for sale, our market switches from a new boat market to a rebuilding market. That's what's happening right now. People are coming here looking for good hulls to convert over for other fisheries."

The six boats Steiner bought were part of what was called the cat fleet. Sixteen shrimp boats went on the auction block, and Steiner bought the Crazy Cat, Alley Cat, Black Cat, Country Cat, Bayou Cat and Bear Cat.

The Country Cat and Bayou Cat were sold to Croatians. "We are just taking the shrimping gear and refrigeration off, rebuilding the engines, blasting and painting, and redoing the steering, and they are ready to go," Steiner says.

Ocean Marine of Bayou La Batre built the Country Cat and Bayou Cat in 2000. The single-engine boats are powered by rebuilt 3412 Caterpillar diesels. A Caterpillar 3304 powers a 65-kW generator.

"Bayou La Batre has always welcomed international people," Steiner says. "And that goes for my yard or any yard here in Bayou La Batre."
Up in Chesapeake Bay, Francis Haynie of Northumberland County, Va., launched a wooden 31' 5" x 9' x 2' 10" commercial fishing boat for a Potomac River crab potter.

The boat has 1 3/8-inch-thick spruce-pine planks on the bottom and 1 1/4-inch spruce pine planks for the sides. White oak was used for frames, stringers, toe rails, rubrails and the coaming's cap rail.

The coaming, or collar boards as they are called on Chesapeake Bay, is spruce pine, as are the 1-foot-wide washboards and the washboard knees.

The stem comes from a solid piece of spruce pine. The keel and horn timber are shaped from a length of 12" x 12" spruce pine. The only part of the backbone that's not spruce pine is the sternpost, which is white oak.

Across the transom is 1 1/4-inch-thick white oak. The planks are wide enough that it took only two boards for the transom.

Haynie goes into the woods and selects the trees he wants for his lumber, then he has them cut down and air dried. Scouting for his own wood allows him to find trees big enough for extremely wide planks. When he sticks the lumber for drying, he avoids putting sticks of the same wood as the boards between the boards. Put spruce-pine sticks between spruce-pine boards, and you will have rot.

A 210-hp V-6 Marine Power engine powers the boat. Bolted to the gasoline engine is a Hurst marine gear with a 2:1 reduction that turns a 17" x 20" bronze prop on a 1 1/4-inch bronze shaft.

Cable steering is controlled with a 4-foot-long white oak stick. On Chesapeake Bay, crab-pot fishermen, as well as those in other pot fisheries, use a wooden lever installed at about amidships on the starboard side of the boat to steer the boat and work pots at the same time. Push the stick forward, and the boat goes in one direction; pull it back, and the boat heads in the other direction.

"Some people use pine for their sticks, but oak lasts longer, and it's something that gets wear every day," Haynie says. Most boats also have a traditional wheel in the pilothouse, though Haynie's boat does not.

The windows in the pilothouse are made from Plexiglas. "If someone throws something against it, it won't break like regular glass will," says Haynie.

Haynie is building another 31-footer in his boat shed. It is being built upside down, which is a traditional start for a deadrise boat with a cross-planked bottom.
— Larry Chowning

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