Yard launches its 66th wooden boat; fisherman sticks with what he likes
By Michael Crowley
Peter Kass launched his 66th wooden boat at John's Bay Boat Co. in South Bristol, Maine. There were a few skiffs in the beginning, but most of the 66 have been lobster boats — with a few lobster yachts thrown in.
The latest one was the 46-foot Resolute for Ryan Larrabee in Stonington, Maine. With at least 100 people watching — after a big feed in the boatshop — the Resolute slid out of its cradle and into John's Bay on a very rainy May 17.
The 46' x 15' Resolute is a lengthened version of a 44-footer that John's Bay Boat Co. launched in July 2013. The new boat kept the same beam, as Kass feels that "lengthening a boat without increasing the beam makes a better all-around boat, a more efficient boat."
Kass did tweak the hull's lines below the waterline. "We leveled off the horn timber a little bit so the buttocks run a little straighter aft. That should keep the bow lower and help her to go a little faster."
The Resolute is planked with 1 1/4-inch cedar over 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" steam-bent oak framing on 10-inch centers. The platform is made up of 1 1/2-inch fir planks, seamed and caulked over oak deck beams.
There's a split wheelhouse with brightwork and raised panel woodworking down below.
For power, the Resolute has only the third Cat C18 Kass has put in a boat. The 800-hp engine is hooked up to a ZF 325 marine gear with a 2.5:1 reduction that turns a 36" x 42" prop on a 2 1/2-inch shaft. On sea trials, that power package pushed the Resolute to 23 knots.
Once the Resolute left South Bristol, the crew at John's Bay Boat Co. started building another 46-footer for Spruce Head, Maine, lobsterman Jim Tripp, followed by a 40-foot pleasure boat, a lobster boat for a Vinalhaven fisherman and then another lobster boat for Stonington.
Ask Nick Hawke about the best boat to fish out of and he's quick to tell you it's a Young Brothers hull. For Hawke it's a judgment based on experience. The Southport lobsterman had a 35 Young Brothers and his father, Andy, fishes out of a 40-foot Young Brothers. "We've always had good luck with Young Brothers boats, and I've just stuck to them," he says.
At the end of April, Hawke launched his newest Young Brothers lobster boat, the Illusion. The 45' x 15' (14 feet at the transom) hull was laid up at SW Boatworks in Lamoine, which acquired the molds from Young Brothers Boats in 2009.
Hawke received delivery of the bare hull in June 2013 and, in between fishing trips, finished it off with his father and Randy Young, son of Vid Young, one of the owners of Young Brothers, along with his brothers Vin and Colby.
"Randy built a few at Young Brothers. That was a big help. He knew what was going on," says Hawke.
There are a couple of major differences between the Illusion and Hawke's 35-footer, the Optical Illusion. The bigger boat "is a lot more stable and when taking up or shifting gear it's a lot better in the weather," Hawke says.
He also likes the split wheelhouse, which the previous boat lacked. Hawke fishes year-round, so he knows it will come in handy in the winter.
The wheelhouse was designed after "looking at a few different other ones and getting some measurements so we had an idea what to go by," Hawke says. It was built using Divinycell composite construction.
Down below there's a V-berth with a bunk on one side and counter space on the other. There's also a hydraulic locker. "You can close it off, so if there's a leak it won't go forward," Hawke says.
The decks are also built of composite construction, using glassed-over 3/4-inch Coosa board on 2x4 framing. Below the deck is a fish hold that Hawke figures will hold 1,200 pounds. Forward of that is a 750-hp Scania D13 matched up to a ZF marine gear with a 2.19:1 ratio turning a 34-square four-blade prop.
19-footer added to seine skiff lineup; proper stern is key to boat lengthening
By Michael Crowley
In the past few months, 18-, 19- and 20-foot seine skiffs were built at Rozema Boat Works in Mount Vernon, Wash., for Alaska salmon fishermen.
Rozema Boat Works has been building 18- and 20-foot seine skiffs for a number of years. The design is an "improved version of what my dad was building in the early '80s," says the boatyard's Dirk Rozema. "They've been successful, well proven and still are."
Still, there's always room for something new. Rozema says that every now and then a fisherman might want something different. And he acknowledges that for a larger seine boat, the 18-footer is on the smaller side.
"It just started us thinking that it would be nice to try something a little different," he says. Thus was born the design for a 19' x 10' seine skiff. They built the first one this winter for a seiner who fishes Southeast Alaska.
The entire front of the new skiff looks much the same as the 18-footer, with a fair amount of sheer and a raked stem. The additional length was picked up in the stern, with more distance between the transom and the tow post.
The intent was to give the 19-foot seine skiff "a little more buoyancy aft of the tow post. The idea is that it's going to tow flatter," says Rozema. Besides lengthening the skiff, they added buoyancy by straightening up the transom and redesigning the tunnel with steeper angles on both sides. That helps the water flow and gives more buoyancy in the stern.
Other differences between the 18- and 19-foot seine skiffs includes changing the skegs to reduce "the interference to the nozzle when it's in a hard steering position, so it steers a little better, and it does," Rozema says.
The transom height and some of the sheer was reduced, so the skiff tows a few inches lower.
With a 305-hp Cummins diesel, the 19-foot skiff was put through its paces after an April 10 launching. "We ran it around. It looks good, turns good, does what it's supposed to do, but we haven't gotten any feedback yet," Rozema says. That will come during this summer's fishing season.
In Crescent City, Calif., Fashion Blacksmith is doing what it does best: giving older fishing boats more carrying capacity and improved stability. "It's what we do day in and day out," says Fashion Blacksmith's Ted Long, "sponson, lengthen at the stern, extend the nose out, put a bow bulb on it."
The boat currently undergoing that procedure is the Viking, a Dungeness crabber, albacore and shrimp boat, built by Fashion Blacksmith in 1968. She was 48' x 16' when hauled from the water and will be stretched to 53' x 22' 6". The yard will add 4 feet to the stern and 18 inches at the bow.
Both fish holds are being pushed into the sponsons, though half of the back hold will be a bait tank. The last week of May, the yard's crew cut apart the hull and ground it smooth where bulwarks had been. Then they sandblasted much of the steel "so new construction is over clean, smooth steel," says Long.
Fashion Blacksmith works with a naval architect to rebuild boats it works on, but says Long, "we put our own stamp on them." That's especially true at the stern. "Lowering the stern and getting more buoyancy all the way across is real important on boats carrying a good load of pots or that shrimp and double rig."
Many boats showing up at Fashion Blacksmith were originally designed as trollers, with a stern raking up at the transom. Fashion Blacksmith cuts off that stern, generally just aft of the lazarette bulkhead, while leaving the rudderpost in place.
They drop down the new stern 18 to 24 inches and then fair it into the sponson and chine line. The secret is not to drop the stern so far it's dragging water when the boat is loaded.
"Then you've gone too far," Long says.
But build the new stern where it's level or slightly inclined with the boat loaded, "t
hen we've found they are not slower and gives a whole lot more packing capacity," Long says. Expect to see the Viking with just such a stern when it leaves the yard prior to October, in time for the Dungie season.
Alabama builder sends boat to Mass.; museum acquires 94-year-old buy boat
By Larry Chowning
Williams Fabrication in Coden, Ala., is expanding its boatbuilding operation by moving from its current 0.8-acre site to a 6-acre waterfront location in Bayou La Batre.
"This will give us more room for growth," says Dale Williams, president of Williams Fabrication. "The new location will have 566 feet of bayou frontage and deep water."
At the old location, Williams Fabrication recently delivered the Revolution, a steel 78' x 25' x 12' lobster and crab boat, to Lars Vinjerud II of Oceans Fleet Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass.
A 500-horsepower Cummins QKS19M powers the Revolution. It's the first Cummins engine Williams has installed in one of his commercial fishing boats. "Over the years, we have put mostly Caterpillar engines in our boats, but Lars wanted to try and squeeze out a bit better fuel consumption, so he wanted to try a Cummins," says Williams.
The Cummins diesel works through a Twin Disc 516 marine gear with a 5:1 reduction that turns a four-blade, 54" x 57" DQ Special Michigan prop on a 4-inch Aquamet stainless steel shaft. In the engine room are also two John Deere 65-kW generators.
The lobsters and crabs will be kept in two refrigerated seawater holds. "It used to be lobsters were the mainstay in regards to catch for Lars, and crabs were a bycatch," says Williams. "Now lobsters are the bycatch and crabs the mainstay."
For years Williams used nonskid asphalt deck tiles on the work deck. Asphalt deck tiles are no longer available, so the boatyard applied a layer of General Polymers' FasTop M urethane mortar system over the steel deck.
Williams Fabrication is currently building a sister ship to the Revolution. The Liberty will have the same equipment as the Revolution and should be delivered in September. Behind it another boat has been contracted for, possibly as another combination boat to harvest lobster, crab and scallops.
"This hull will be built at our new shipyard facility in Bayou La Batre," says Williams.
In Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has obtained the buy boat Winnie Estelle to add to its fleet of Chesapeake Bay boats.
Noah T. Evans, a Smith Island, Md., boatbuilder and waterman, built the Winnie Estelle in 1920, naming her after his two daughters. He used the boat for several years for freighting and commercial fishing.
She was sold out of the Chesapeake Bay region in the 1960s and ended up on a shoal off Belize in the Caribbean. She was salvaged and used as a tour, dive and charter boat in San Pedro, Belize. Several years ago the Winnie Estelle was sold and brought back to the Chesapeake region. The museum will use the boat for charter and educational tours.
Boatbuilder Nick Rollins of Poquoson, Va., is working in Deltaville, Va., on a deadrise workboat built by the late Grover Lee Owens and owned by Michael Glasco, a charter fisherman and oysterman. Owens, considered one of the most polished boatbuilders on Chesapeake Bay, died in March at his home in Deltaville.
Glasco's 44-footer was built in the early 1980s for Dale Cook, who used it in the bay's charter-boat business. Rollins is installing a new pilothouse. He made the trunk cabin out of white cedar and built the pilothouse from marine plywood at his shop in Poquoson, brought it to Deltaville and placed it on the boat.
Rollins is making the rounds in Deltaville, where he has rebuilt several pilothouses. "If they own a Grover Lee boat, they want the house to look exactly the way he built it," says Rollins. "He was the dean of wooden boatbuilders during his time. He built the boats to work and last."
Owens built 115 boats from 1966 to 1997 when he stopped building and started repairing boats. Watermen and recreational folks alike are interested in Owens boats.
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