Boatbuilder offers transducer housing;
Maine shop reopens to post-fire boom
By Michael Crowley
The effects of New England’s winter lingered longer than most people expected. In early April, at Harborside Boat Repair in Point Judith, R.I., the yard’s Rich Fuka and Steve Perkins had a list of boats that were supposed to have come in for repairs but hadn’t arrived because they were still covered with snow.
But there was still plenty of work to keep Fuka and Perkins occupied. They were in the process of rigging a 38-foot Dixon for monkfishing. Part of that work included turning the center of the fish hold into a net box. Though the larger project involved rebuilding the wheelhouse for the Crystal Gail, a fiberglass 36-foot Jarvis Newman that was built in 1975 in South Harpswell, Maine. Fuka and Perkins had replaced the Crystal Gail’s deck and everything below it in the winter of 2014 (See “Roebucks’ Prospects” NF August ’14, p. 28) and now it was time for a new wheelhouse.
“We gutted the wheelhouse and dashboard, the wheelhouse trunk and crash bulkhead,” says Fuka. “We’re just finishing it up.” About the last thing to be done was installing new windows. Those were coming from Marinelite in Middle West Pubnico, Nova Scotia.
Fuka favors windows from Marinelite. They have PVC frames, which he likes, “because they are not aluminum and they don’t rust,” and they come with tempered glass. The same windows will be going into a dragger that was due in at Harborside Boat Repair.
Besides repairing boats, Harborside Boat Repair has developed a transducer housing for fiberglass hulls. Fuka says a lot of boats have stainless steel tubes that “stick out of the bottom of the boat. Some are as long as 2 feet. They get bent and are just a godawful thing.”
Harborside Boat Repair’s solution — called the Salty Dog transducer housing — is a fabricated transducer tube with about a 5-inch diameter that’s fiberglassed in place just aft of amidships and against the keel.
“It has an angled face,” says Fuka, “so you get a 22.5-degree angle. It shoots down to the doors and headrope.”
Up in Jonesport, Maine, Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop is back in business after a fire on the night of Dec. 18, 2013, destroyed the boatshop and a 40-foot mold. The new building — 60' x 100' — is the same size as the old boatshop.
Beal has plenty of orders for new boats, which is different from the latter part of 2013. “Before the fire we had one order,” says Beal, “and we were scrambling just to build something.” However, once the new shop was completed, “the orders started rolling in.”
Twelve fishermen have signed up for new boats: nine 46-footers; one 40-footer; a 42, which is a stretched out 40-footer; and one 36-footer. Beal figures that will keep the shop busy for at least the next two years. Generally the boats will leave Jonesport as a hull and molded top to be completed at a finish shop, though Beal hopes to complete one or two of the boats.
At the end of April, a 46' x 17' 10" hull was being laid up for local fisherman Nathan Barrett of Beals Island. Tailored Boats in nearby Addison will finish it off with a 1,000-hp Caterpillar on the engine beds. Beal figures she should hit 30 knots. That’s a lot of horsepower for a 46-foot lobster boat, but he says, another fisherman “is talking about 1,600-hp for a 46-footer.”
The plug for the 40' x 15' 6" mold wasn’t burned in the fire, so this summer Beal intends to patch that up and pull a mold off it.
Most of the 12 boats are for fishermen in nearby harbors, but three 46-footers are for the Simmons brothers — Greg, Andrew and Keith — in Friendship, Maine. Greg and Andrew currently have 40-footers from Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop, and Keith has a 45-foot Young Brothers.
Beal says the surge in orders is because lobstermen “had a good season and a good price. By having a good season, they jumped all over it. Most are going up in size.”
* * *
Gillnetter goes for ‘big house’ headroom;
California yard builds combination boat
By Michael Crowley
Chris Guggenbickler wanted a new boat, a boat different from what was available. He had been fishing a cramped little gillnetter with room in the cabin for only one person to stand up and very little room for storage. In May Guggenbickler was fishing for salmon with that new boat, the Noelani, a 42' x 15' aluminum gillnetter out of Wrangell, Alaska.
The designing and building of the Noelani took a little over two years, starting with Guggenbickler drawing up the general look of the boat, especially the profile. Then the designer, Cory Gottschalk, worked up the displacement lines, weights and hull speed.
Svendsen Marine in Wrangell welded up the hull and house, while Guggenbickler did a lot of the finish work, as well as insulating the fish hold and wiring.
What you notice about the Noelani is that the house is farther forward than on a lot of gillnetters, and she has more freeboard than usual. Guggenbickler describes her as “just a taller boat with a big house.” That helps explain why there’s enough room for a spiral staircase from the wheelhouse down into the cabin where there’s a head, shower and sink.
“It’s real comfortable. It’s set up for three people to live on and travel around for a month or so at a time.” That would be Guggenbickler, his wife and son.
Then there’s a door leading from the cabin to the engine room where there’s 5 feet 8 inches of headroom. “That’s what appealed to me,” says Guggenbickler, “to have an engine room that I wanted to go into and was able to do maintenance because I can fit in there.”
Guggenbickler is fishing for salmon in the summer and spot prawns in the winter. To maintain the quality of his catch, he has two refrigeration systems, a 12-ton dual-temperature refrigerated seawater system and blast freezer from Integrated Marine Systems, and a 2-ton RSW system from Harbor Refrigeration.
The salmon will be held in the RSW hold, and the prawns will be blast frozen. The 2-ton RSW system is to keep the prawns chilled and alive during the day while the crew is fishing. At night the prawns will be put in the blast freezer.
So far the Noelani is a one-of-a-kind boat, but once fishermen see her, there could be a number of copies in the water next season.
Down in northern California, Van Peer Boat Works in Fort Bragg started building a combination boat in mid-January. “We like to build a boat in 11 or 12 months,” says the boatyard’s Chris Van Peer, so the 66' x 24' 6" combination dragger and crabber will probably be going into the water by the end of the year.
Unlike most boats at Van Peer Boatworks, this one won’t be built in the boatyard. She’s being constructed closer to the harbor because she’s a bit bigger and heavier than usual. Van Peer has built a couple of other boats to this design, which comes from the office of Jensen Maritime Consultants in Seattle.
The first was the Jes An in 2005, and the second was the Fierce Leader in 2007. The basic difference between them and the one under construction is that the first two were 63 feet long.
The 66-footer is being built for Tom Estes; the Jes An was built for his son, Tim Estes. Both boats will be fishing out of Fort Bragg, which is a little unusual for a boat built at Van Peer Boatworks, as most work the grounds off Washington and Alaska. “It’s different to build for a local guy,” says Van Peer.
Also different about the new boat is it will have a Kort nozzle from Harrington Marine in Fennville, Mich. That’s unusual not because it’s a Kort nozzle but because most boats Van Peer builds are purse seiners, which generally don’t use nozzles. The new boat will have a Cummins K19M for power and a stainless steel fish hold with a RSW system.
In early May, the decks for the combination boat were in place “and we are ready to start skinning it,” said Van Peer.
* * *
11-year-old waterman gets his own skiff;
steering stick eases handling, maintenance
By Larry Chowning
Joey Miller of Sinepuxent Boatworks in Berlin, Md., is extremely busy. He has about filled up the 350' x 36' chicken house he is renting with new boat construction and maintenance jobs.
One of Miller’s customers is Logan Ellery Kellum, the 11-year-old son of Tommy Kellum of W.E. Kellum Seafood in Weems, Va. Miller is building the young waterman an 18-foot fiberglass over wood, flat-bottom skiff with a self-draining-cockpit.
At 10 years of age, Logan formed his own seafood company, Drakes Landing Seafood, worked crab peeler pots and was “nippering” for oysters in his father’s wooden skiff.
He made enough money in one crab and oyster season to pay for the new skiff. Miller is painting the boat “dead draft green,” because Logan plans to use the skiff for duck and goose hunting. He also has a passion for making duck decoys, one of which placed fourth in the Youth Decorative Category last year in the 44th Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition at Ocean City, Md. For this year’s competition, Logan is entering brant, bufflehead and loon decoys.
Logan wants a 25-hp outboard on the skiff. His father, however, has a different notion. “Dad thinks that’s too much power for me, but I think I can handle it.”
The only thing he absolutely had to have was a self-draining cockpit. “Logan doesn’t like to bail. I’ll tell you that!” says his father. “He made it clear to Joey, he had to install a self-draining cockpit.”
Logan says he likes to work the water on his own terms. “I’ll probably work for the family when I grow up, but right now I’m having too much fun working the water my way.”
Last Christmas, Logan got a pair of nippers — short-handled oyster tongs with a narrow head, used for generations by Chesapeake Bay youngsters to pick up oysters in shallow water. “I make more money crabbing, but I do all right with oysters,” Logan says.
One thing for sure, Joey Miller’s flat-bottom skiff will provide lifetime memories for the younger Kellum. Most Chesapeake Bay watermen start out working from a skiff and move on up in the deadrise category — but they never forget that first skiff.
Miller is also building a 32' x 12' oyster tow barge for Scotts Landing Shellfish of Snow Hill, Md. The barge will have a house to cover an oyster tumbler and other aquaculture gear.
The barge has eight transverse bulkheads framed with 2" x 6" fir covered with 3/4-inch plywood. The full bulkheads make the barge “built like a tank,” says Miller. It will be covered with fiberglass.
There’s also a 27-foot deadrise that will be used for recreation. “I’m seeing more and more folks wanting classic Chesapeake Bay deadrise workboat styles mainly for play,” says Miller.
Moving down to Virginia, at Reedville Marine Railway in Reedville, boatbuilder and mechanic Frank Fife has removed the hydraulic steering on the Chesapeake Bay deadrise Don-Fran and replaced it with cable steering and a steering stick.
Ronnie Howlett, the boat’s owner, is a traditional Chesapeake Bay waterman used to working oyster dredge boats. “The steering stick makes the boat a lot easier to work, and when something goes wrong with it I can fix it,” says Howlett. “Something goes wrong with the hydraulic system, I’m dead on the water.”
The 42' x 12' Don-Fran was built in 1968 at P.S. Green & Sons Boatyard on Broad Creek in Deltaville, Va. She was built to dredge oysters, and that’s what Howlett will do with the boat on the York and James rivers. “She was being used as a charter fishing boat, but she was built to dredge oysters and will make a fine dredge boat,” says Howlett.
Inside the boat shop, George Butler, the owner of Reedville Marine Railway, is finishing up a 25' 8" x 9' outboard-powered deadrise skiff that will be a pleasure boat. It’s highlighted with a pronounced tumblehome in the sides, and the mahogany guards have a clear finish. The skiff has a self-draining cockpit and will be powered with a 150-hp outboard.