Unusual features for a Maine tuna boat;
after fire, boatshop is running full steam
By Michael Crowley
In December, the Lizzie was back at Finestkind Boatyard in Harpswell, Maine. Last year she was in for minor repairs and a paint job. This time the wooden lobster boat was in for a repower.
A 315-hp Cummins came out, and a new 400-hp Iveco went in. “She should get a bit more speed,” says the boatyard’s Mark Hubbard. His brother, Todd, owns the Lizzie.
The Lily, an 11-year-old Duffy 42 that showed up at Finestkind Boatyard in October 2013 as a bare fiberglass hull and top, has been a long-term project.
Since then, the Finestkind crew put a 1,000-hp C-18 Caterpillar into the boat and lengthened her to 46 feet.
Part of the reason the Lilly has been so long at Finestkind Boatyard is it’s not your average 46-foot fishing boat. The tankage is fairly complex, and the electrical system is unusual for a commercial boat of this size.
Under the Cat and taking up part of the keel is a tank for new engine oil and another for used oil. That allows for “four oil changes without having to deal with any cans,” says Hubbard.
There are four integral fuel tanks, two about amidships, with the tops of the tanks making up part of the cabin sole and two back aft, holding a total of 1,400 gallons. An integral water tank and waste tank are also in the keel, under the cabin sole.
Aft of the main bulkhead the keel holds a day tank and a sea chest with all the through hulls. Scoops are on the sides of the keel for water intake. “Basically the whole keel is tankage,” Hubbard says. “I haven’t seen it done this way, but to me it made sense.”
In the bottom of the keel is a recessed opening for a prototype Airmar transducer. The transducer is 1/16-inch inside the bottom of the keel, so it’s not damaged when the boat is hauled, but it has very clean water flowing over it.
The electronics, which are all Furuno, are designed around an NMEA 2000 system, which consists of a single backbone cable running down the middle of the boat with drop cables running off it to individual modules. This allows multiple electronic devices to be connected on a common channel for easily shared information.
The Lily is due to be launched this spring for her owner, Dennis Andrews of Wells, Maine, who will use her for hook-and-line fishing for bluefin tuna.
Millennium Marine, after building boats in New Brunswick, Canada, for 70 years (first under the name Guimond Boats), moved its boatbuilding business from New Brunswick to Eastport, Maine, and celebrated its Grand Opening last July 4.
Twenty-six days later, a fire swept through the boatshop, destroying two boats. That might have been the end of some shops, but Millennium Marine pulled together its resources and in early February delivered its first two boats, a Donelle 43 and a Millennium 45, both for New Brunswick fishermen.
Then in March, the first boat for an American fisherman was loaded on a flat bed and hauled to Ilwaco, Wash. It’s a 49' 11" Millennium with a 600-hp John Deere for Brian Cutting, who will use it for crabbing. It replaces one of the boats destroyed in the fire and will be outfitted on the West Coast, says Millennium Marine’s Cory Guimond.
Behind Cutting’s boat are five more hulls in various stages of completion. Two are for Eastport lobstermen.
One is a 48' x 18' 6" Millennium with a 700-hp Iveco for Brent Griffin. His previous boat was a Guimond 45 that was destroyed when the Eastport breakwater collapsed.
The second boat going to an Eastport fisherman is being built for Griffin’s uncle, Mike Griffin. It measures 49' 11" x 16'.
Two boats are also being built for Canadian fishermen and both have 610-hp Cummins engines. One is a 43' x 14' 6" Donelle that Guimond describes as “a basic lobster boat.” The second boat is a Millennium 45 that will fish crab, lobster and herring in northern New Brunswick.
Millennium Marine recently started building a 49' 11" Millennium for Nick Hofland, a crab and slime-eel fisherman in California’s Bodega Bay. The boat will be equipped with a 550- or 600-hp Scania engine.
The boat is due to be delivered this summer.
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Gillnetters lining up at Wash. boatshop;
no more stainless, on to glass and foam
By Michael Crowley
We’ve had several years of good to better-than-good fishing, so people are starting to plan ahead a bit,” says Jon Petrzelka at Petrzelka Bros. That explains why the Mount Vernon, Wash., boatshop is booked up for boatbuilding and repairs for the winter of 2016 and has one boat lined up for 2017.
This winter four Bristol Bay gillnetters are on the shop floor to be repowered and in some cases more than that. A new fiberglass 32' x 12' hull from Buffalo Boats is also in to be finished off.
The aluminum gillnetters are 15 to 20 years old. Two were built at H.S. Roberts, one at Marco and the fourth at KG Marine. Both the Roberts-built boats came in with 215-hp Caterpillar 3208s that are being exchanged for new Cummins engines, one at 240 horsepower and the other 450 horsepower. Add new hydraulics and refrigerated seawater systems and a bow thruster in one of the boats.
A 450-hp Cummins replaced the Marco’s 325-hp Cat, a new RSW system and hydraulics were installed and the gillnetter was completely rewired.
The KG Marine gillnetter will go out of the shop with a C9 Caterpillar running close to 500 horsepower, instead of the 350-hp Detroit 6-71 it came in with. The boat is also being completely rewired, and having its hydraulics updated, the interior rebuilt and a new flying bridge added.
The 32-foot hull from Buffalo Boats is for April Wilbur, a member of the Swinomish tribe in La Connor, Wash., who will use it for the Native crab and shrimp fishery. Last year, Petrzelka Bros. finished off a 35-foot fiberglass Jetliner for Wilbur’s husband, Mike. He had a 350-hp Cummins hooked up to a Konrad sterndrive. But April is going with a different power option. “There will probably be two Honda 250-hp outboards,” says Petrzelka.
All five boats have to be finished by late May. Shortly after that the shop shuts down, the three Petrzelka brothers head north to work the Copper River salmon fishery, and the rest of the 13-man crew is off to fish Bristol Bay.
The Paige Marie, a 58' x 24' steel seiner out of Olympia, Wash., arrived at J&H Boatworks in Astoria, Ore., in early December for a new wheelhouse and fish holds.
The Paige Marie was sponsoned several years ago at Fashion Blacksmith in Crescent City, Calif., but the house hadn’t been altered. “The pilothouse was a nice design but it didn’t fit well, and the lower house, which was steel was suffering from old-age conditions,” says J&H Boatworks’ Tim Hill.
The J&H Boatworks crew put on a new aluminum pilothouse and gutted the two fish holds, which will be replaced with new foam and fiberglass.
J&H Boatworks also installed a new mast and redid the hydraulics on the back of the house.
The 58-foot crabber Wahoo out of Coos Bay, Ore., had been in to have the hull sandblasted and painted and to get a new fish hold. The old one was stainless steel lined. The new one is fiberglass and foam. Hill says, “The stainless steel was compromised by many leaks.”
It’s his feeling that if a stainless steel lined fish hold is done well, “it’s a fine way to go, though it tends to be a bit expensive.” However, if the stainless steel isn’t installed properly or the plating is too thin, cracks start to appear in the liner, which allows seawater to get behind the foam.
That’s what happened with the Wahoo’s stainless steel lined fish hold. “In this case, the plating was too thin — 1/8 inch — a little on the light side,” says Hill.
On a much smaller scale, J&H Boatworks was fabricating a beavertail for a seiner. The boat’s owners will have the beavertail installed at the Port of Astoria boatyard.
Tullio Celano at Crescere Marine Engineering in Saint Helens, Ore., had done a laser scan of the boat for a future sponsoning job and from that scan the beavertail could be configured.
The two basic benefits of a beavertail, which goes beneath the rudder, are that it provides some lift and thus increased speed and helps keep the net out of the prop.
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Class rules threaten new construction;
Boston fireboat converted for the bay
By Larry Chowning
Williams Fabrication of Bayou La Batre, Ala., recently finished hull No. 123, which will become an 85' x 25' x 12' combination lobster, crab and scallop boat, and the first to be built and launched at Williams Fabrication’s new 6-acre boatyard. The previous boatyard was a 0.8-acre site in nearby Coden.
The 85-foot Eagle is for Lars Vinjerud II of Ocean Fleet Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass. It’s also the 11th boat Williams Fabrication has built for Vinjerud.
The boatyard’s Dale Williams says he currently has two keels over 79 feet in the yard that are “certified inspected.” The keels were approved for new construction July 26, 2012, before the Coast Guard’s classing regulations took effect. Both keels are earmarked for Vinjerud.
Coast Guard regulations requiring boats 50 feet and over to meet standards set by a classification society will detrimentally affect the new vessel market, says Williams.
“Just the plans for a new boat are now going to cost between $60,000 and $100,000,” he says. “I’m talking about boat plans that cost $9,000 before the new regulations. A $2 million vessel is now going to cost between $3 million and $3.5 million.”
He says the increased cost will take fishermen and boatbuilders out of the new boat market. “The big players in the industries will absorb the cost, but it will keep the little guys from getting into the business. I’m talking about those guys who have worked their entire lives in hopes of one day owning a new boat. The cost and ability for fishermen to get loans on a new vessel are going to be prohibitive for some.”
Williams says his yard is moving toward enticing more repair business as a way to offset the future loss of building new boats.
A Coast Guard official came by his yard in February to make sure Williams understood the new rules. “They say the reason for all these ABS approved items on a boat is for safety,” says Williams. “My question is how many people die because the engine in the boat is not ABS approved?” The American Bureau of Shipping is one of several classification societies.
Moving to Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision last year to cut 20 percent of the menhaden bait fishery and the reduced catches forced some menhaden fishermen to find other endeavors to offset their lost income.
This need to diversify prompted Jimmy Kellum of Kellum Maritime of Weems, Va., to buy the 72' x 20' steel Antipoison Creek that had been a city of Boston fireboat. The Antipoison Creek is currently at Deltaville Boatyard in Deltaville, Va.
Kellum wants to enter into an experimental fishery. When he receives his commercial fishing permits for the venture from Virginia Marine Resources Commission, he will reveal plans for the use of the boat.
Kellum says the 20 percent cut into his harvest last year forced him to work only five months of the seven-and-a-half month season. “We need more work than that to make ends meet.”
Deltaville Boatyard, along with Kellum’s fishing crew, installed two new 38" x 44" props on the boat; a knuckle boom on the stern for hauling pots; changed the forward portion of the pilothouse, including new West Coast style windows; pulled off all the fire equipment; modified the aft portion of the pilothouse and painted the entire boat.
Keith Ruse owns Deltaville Boatyard, and Kellum says, “The great thing about Keith is that he will let us do some of our own work, so we can keep cost down, and his crew has the ability to take care of anything my crew can’t do.”
The yard has a separate area for commercial fishing boats, which allows watermen to work on their boats at their own pace. “Commercial fishermen are a valuable asset to our community,” says Ruse. “When they have a problem we try to accommodate them. We understand that a few days missed fishing can make or break a season.”