New ideas for wood-glass lobster boat;
Fishermen favor this Down East yard

By Michael Crowley

Richard Stanley is a firm believer in the idea that nothing goes through the water nicer than a wooden boat. It’s not an idle notion born in some wistful romantic moment. Nope, Stanley, now 52, has been building wooden boats since he was a kid.

He’ll tell you he was scrubbing the bottoms of boats at age 3 for his dad, Ralph Stanley, at Ralph W. Stanley Wooden Boats in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

In 2009 Richard took over the business, most recently moving Richard Stanley Custom Boats to Bass Harbor. Now that he owns the business, he is working to bring an idea he’s had for a long time to fruition.

“Years ago, working with my father, fishermen came in that had gotten rid of their wooden boats and wished that they could have had them back,” he says. Of course, the issue with wooden boats and the reason fishermen abandoned them for fiberglass is rot and its accompanying maintenance issues.

Most maintenance centered on the wood decks and cabin, stuff above the hull. Builders of wooden boats have attempted to get around that problem with a plywood and fiberglass deck and house, but, says Stanley, “That has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years before water gets in there and rots the plywood out.”

His solution is to “combine the best of both worlds, with a wooden boat underneath you with a custom fiberglass top. That keeps the fresh water out and the maintenance down.” The ’glass top would come down over the hull’s top plank, and the guardrails and toe rails would go over that. “No one’s done it this way that I know of.”

Stanley would build the wooden hull — he favors a built down design as opposed to the skeg-built hull — and then a fiberglass shop would build the custom deck and house to fit the hull. Though if a fisherman favors a top from a particular production fiberglass shop, he could adjust the wooden hull to fit the mold.

Stanley has a number of models for a fisherman to choose from. Some are his father’s — up to 44 feet — and some his own, including a new model for a 38' x 15' hull whose lines could be stretched to 40 feet.

He has talked with some fiberglass boat finishers who are up for the idea, and “fishermen who think it’s a good idea, but no one’s come to the door and signed a contract.” That’s the next step.

Farther Down East in Addison, Maine, is Taylored Boats, a finishing shop that’s put out a lot of boats in the five years it’s been in operation. Owner Peter Taylor worked at two boatshops in nearby Steuben, RP Boatshop and H&H Marine, until he decided it was time to go out on his own.

“It was a very good idea. I’m quite happy,” says Taylor. Judging by the workload, there certainly can’t be any regrets. The last week in January, a just completed 46-foot lobster boat was outside the shop; there’s a couple of repair jobs and a lineup of seven boats waiting to be finished off for fishermen. “That’s work for the next two years,” he notes.

The completed lobster boat showed up in Addison as a 42' x 15' 3" hull from H&H Marine. Taylor and his three-man crew then lengthened the hull to 46 feet and widened it out to 17' 6". Taylor prefers to receive just a bare hull and do any lengthening and widening of the hull himself, as well as engine installations, hydraulics and electrical work. He figures that’s the best way to keep the costs down.

The platform is plywood and fiberglass, and beneath it are two holding tanks for 20 crates of lobsters with a sprinkler system. Bolted to the engine beds is a 750-hp John Deere. The boat is for Ryan Schoppee in Bucks Harbor, but won’t be going into the water until March or April.

The boats waiting to be built, Taylor describes as “standard,” with things such as holding tanks under the floor and a split wheelhouse.

There’s one exception. It’s a boat Taylor isn’t talking much about, other than to say he’ll start on it this June and describes it as “unusual in shape and length.” He expects people “to be mildly surprised.”   


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00 ATYicon WestBoatshop moves closer to the water;
27-year-old dragger nearly new again

By Michael Crowley

Hard Drive Marine continues to be busy, building aluminum bowpickers for Alaska fishermen. Though these days, the work takes place at a new location. Formerly in Bellingham, Wash., Hard Drive Marine is now in La Conner. The shop is larger and right on the water, says Hard Drive Marine’s Tom Day. Being on the water is ideal for bringing in boats for repair work as well as for putting newly finished boats in for sea trials.

15apr NF ATYwestOpen the new shop’s doors, and it’s immediately apparent this is a boatshop with plenty of room. In early February you could also see two gillnetters being built.

There’s a Hard Drive Marine designed 35' x 12' Prince William Sound bowpicker with most of its aluminum plating just about finished. This is pretty much a standard Hard Drive Marine bowpicker, though Day notes that Hard Drive Marine bowpickers tend to be “bigger than the rest of the fleet.” It should pack 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of fish.

One thing that is different from other boats that have come out of Day’s shop is the power package. Locked down to their engine beds will be twin 400-hp Duramax Marine V8s. “We haven’t done this before,” says Day. “The Duramax engines were chosen because there’s a lot of horsepower and it’s lightweight.” Day figures the boat should hit 40-plus knots.

Across the shop floor is a 32' x 15' Bristol Bay gillnetter. Plating for the gillnetter was also just about completed. Power will come from a 750-hp Scania hooked up to a 24-inch Traktor Jet. An 8-ton refrigerated seawater system from Integrated Marine Systems will chill the fish.

Last fall, Hard Drive Marine launched its last bowpicker from the Bellingham shop for Art Peterson. It was built to a Hard Drive Marine design and had a pair of 370-hp Yanmars for power.

Hard Drive Marine also builds landing craft. They just sold a 30' x 10' landing craft to the Washington State Parks service that will be used to maintain park property on Puget Sound.

“This is not your conventional flat-bottom landing craft,” says Day. “It has a sharp entry and 16 degrees of deadrise at the transom.” With a pair of 225-hp Honda outboards, it hit 42 knots.

Down at Giddings Boat Works in Charleston, Ore., the 75-foot dragger Nicole picked up a couple of buoyancy boxes before leaving to go fishing in Kodiak.

“They wanted to sponson the boat,” says Giddings’ Mike Lee, “but had to go fishing. They’ll come back in the fall, and we’ll sponson the boat.”

Giddings did put a net reel on the boat and made changes to a fish hold so it could be flooded. With a floodable fish hold, the boat “in its current configuration wasn’t enough,” says Lee. Thus the buoyancy boxes were added below the port and starboard stern quarters. Each one measures about 6 feet deep, 6 feet wide and 28 feet long. They taper down from 6 feet back aft to zero up forward.

Prior to working on the Nicole, the last large project to leave Giddings Boat Works was the Seeker, which departed in October. The 97' 11" dragger arrived at Giddings with a 26-foot beam and left 36 feet wide. She also picked up a new bow.

The sponsoning job increased the 27-year-old boat’s hold capacity from 4,718 cubic feet to 6,591 cubic feet, and fuel capacity went from 24,580 gallons to 46,161 gallons. Hockema & Whalen Associates in Seattle did the design and lofting.

Prior to the boat arriving in Charleston, Giddings had prefabricated many of the sponsoning sections, and the boat’s crew had gutted the fo’c’sle area so new staterooms, head and galley could be installed.

Ditching the old bow saved a lot of weight, as the Seeker doesn’t have to carry the double hull that many sponsoned boats do.

The Seeker is pretty close to being a new boat, as its wheelhouse was replaced a couple of years ago at Yaquina Boat Equipment in Toledo, Ore., and she was repowered in 2013 at Giddings with a 1,350-hp Cummins QSK-38M.

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00 ATYicon SouthOil boat is now a menhaden steamer;
trawler hauled a fugitive, now it’s tuna

By Larry Chowning

The Reedville Bait Co. in Reedville, Va., carried their menhaden harvesting methods to another level with the purchase of a 175' x 38' x 6.5' oil-field supply boat.

15apr NF ATYsouthWorking in the Gulf of Mexico, she was the Cheramie Bo-Truc No. 19. In Virginia, the name is now the F. Ray Rodgers Jr.

Reedville Bait Co. is doing a great deal of the conversion work, but before heading north, Allied Shipyard in Larose La., built on a stern ramp to carry two purse boats. In front of the stern ramp, the yard crew added a 30' x 25' x 8' steel structure to store ammonia cylinders for the refrigeration system. In the bow area, they replaced storage tanks with refrigerated fish holds.

Ronnie Bevans, who along with Fred Rogers, operates Reedville Bait Co., says, “We needed to be more flexible for us to go out in the ocean as well as in the Chesapeake Bay, and that’s why we went to a bigger boat.”

The F. Ray Rodgers Jr. will replace two smaller “snapper” rig vessels. “It’s more feasible to have one large boat than two small ones,” says Rogers. “We are also going to change our style of fishing. We will be working two purse boats unlike a standard snapper rig that works nets from one purse boat.”

Traditionally, smaller menhaden boats in the bay’s bait fishery are referred to as snapper rigs. The origin of the word “snapper” as it relates to the boats has been lost to time. Some watermen think it may have come from a size comparison with the adolescent snapper bluefish. Snapper blues are smaller than a fully mature bluefish, and snapper menhaden boats are smaller than the larger menhaden fish steamers.

The F. Ray Rogers Jr. will be modeled on the larger steamers. (Referring to the larger boats as steamers goes back to when they were powered by steam engines.)

While in the gulf, the F. Ray Rodgers Jr. picked up a rebuilt 16V149 1,000-hp Detroit Diesel to replace the port engine. The starboard engine did not need to be replaced. A new John Deere 130-kW generator replaced a 99-kW Detroit Diesel genset.

The boat is named after Fred Rogers’ father. “My father is 88 years old, and he is down here every day helping us get this boat ready,” says Fred. “When I told him we had named the boat after him, it brought tears to his eyes.”

This is the first move by a Chesapeake Bay bait company to fish on the same level as the Omega Protein boats.

Jemison Marine in Bayou La Batre, Ala., is converting the Santrina, a 90-foot shrimp boat, into a longliner for the Pacific tuna fishery.

The Santrina was used by Luis Posada Carriles to elude a Caribbean manhunt. Carriles, known in Cuba as the Latin American Osama bin Laden, reached Miami aboard the Santrina in March 2005. Though on the way, the boat ran aground on a sand bar at Isla Mujeres, and a journalist photographed Carriles, which is how it was learned he was on the boat.

Wanted by Cuban and other Caribbean authorities, Carriles helped organize the Bay of Pigs invasion, and after it failed, became an agent for the CIA until 1976. That year, he was linked to the bombing of a Cuban jet airliner that killed 73 civilians.

Mike Bakic of San Diego recently purchased the Santrina. Bakic, a fisherman since 1967, worked aboard a tuna super-seiner for 35 years. “When I told my lawyer about the boat, he told me ‘don’t dare change the name,’” says Bakic. “I told him, ‘I wonder if Castro will shoot me out of the water.’ But I did decide to keep the name.”

Jemison Marine is doing a major overhaul on the boat. Portions of the sides and bottom, from the engine room aft to the transom, have been replaced. Work is also being done to correct earlier faulty repair, says the boatyard’s Tim Jemison.

The original insulation in the boat was sand and dirt covered over with concrete. The Jemison crew removed this and are building a new fish hold insulated with foam and fiberglass. “We’ve had to do a lot of work to make the conversion from shrimper to longliner,” notes Jemison.


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