Business is brisk in Beal hulls; wooden boat gets decked out
At the end of the first week in March, the Maine Fishermen's Forum was being held in Rockport. It's an annual gathering of the state's fishery tribes from Eastport to Kittery, along with Maine boatbuilders and equipment dealers from as far away as the West Coast.
This year Stewart Workman of SW Boatworks in Lamoine wasn't able to make it to the three-day event. "I've got too much going on. It's been pretty busy," he says.
SW Boatworks recently purchased four molds for Calvin Beal hulls, and Workman says, "There's been a whole bunch of interest in some Calvin Beal boats."
The first one to come out of a mold was a 38' x 15' (14' 2" at the transom) hull for Gil Simmons of Simmons Boat Works in Friendship.
The three other Calvin Beal molds are for a 34' x 13' (12' 4" at the transom), 36' x 13' 9" (13 feet at the transom), and 44' x 17' 6" (16' 2" at the transom).
Workman says three or four fishermen are talking about having hulls laid up and another one to be finished off. And Workman might build a 36-foot Calvin Beal on spec. "I want one on hand. Therefore, we don't have to wait and someone can jump in one a little quicker."
The second week in March, a 34-foot Calvin Beal hull and top were due to go to Josh Beal in Milbridge. Jimmy Beal, also in Milbridge, is finishing off the hull.
SW Boatworks is also building a 36 Calvin Beal for a Massachusetts fisherman who will use it for lobstering and sportfishing. A Massachusetts sport fisherman is getting a completed 38-foot Wesmac that SW Boatworks is finishing off, and Workman might finish another Wesmac 38 on spec.
At Kittery Point Yacht Yard in Eliot, Maine, the 31-year-old wooden lobster boat Thanksgiving was getting her deck and cabin rebuilt. George Patten built the boat when Kittery Point Yacht Yard was Patten Yacht Yard.
"Basically, from the toe rails in, we reframed it, put in new carlins, a new deck, a new house and a new companionway," says the boatyard's Tom Allen. New wash rails were also installed, along with a new coaming.
Part of the work on the house was to make it "more shapely. She's a pretty boat as she stands but will be even prettier when she's done," Allen says.
The old deck was planked and caulked. The boat's owner, Tom Davis, thought about rebuilding it that way, says Allen, but elected to go with plywood and fiberglass decks to save on maintenance, and it didn't cost as much to build.
Rot was the main reason the boat had to be torn apart, but when she leaves the boatyard, the Thanksgiving will have improved ventilation, which should keep her timbers solid for a long time to come.
This is the second time the Thanksgiving has been in to Kittery Point Yacht Yard in the past three years. After the first visit, the boat left with a new cockpit floor.
Another boat in for repairs is the 40-foot party-fishing boat Bunny Clark. Kittery Point Yacht Yard removed five layers of fiberglass from the hull, dried out the hull and then built it back up. It was then faired and reshot with gel coat.
The Bunny Clark was due to leave the third week in March. Then a 45-foot Novi, owned by a local lobsterman, was scheduled for fiberglass repairs and an Awlgrip paint job.
At the beginning of March, General Marine in Biddeford, Maine, was laying up a 26' x 9' 6" hull for Adam Little, a local lobsterman.
"Adam used to work for us, and he had one of our 22-footers. He used it for chartering and has always been lobstering. He just wanted to step it up a bit with the 26," says General Marine's Stacey Raymond.
An engine has yet to be bought for the boat, but Raymond expects it to be a 230-hp Volvo Penta. The hull is solid fiberglass, while the wheelhouse and cuddy cabin are balsa cored. The deck is two layers of fiberglass over 3/4-inch plywood.
General Marine will finish the boat. Raymond expects it to be completed in May. General Marine also has molds for a 20- and 22-footer, as well as the 36-foot Northern Bay mold. They have taken eight hulls out of the 36-foot mold. — Michael Crowley
Alaskan finally builds a boat; 58-footers are the hot ticket
Corey Wilson "was a guy that we'd see every year at Fish Expo. He'd come by and look at the pictures and say, 'One of these days I'm going to build one.' And he did," says Fred Wahl Marine Construction's Mike Lee.
When Wilson and his new boat, the Capt'n. Andrew, steamed away from the boatyard's Reedsport, Ore., dock on Jan. 17 and headed for King Cove, Alaska, it was the fourth 58' x 26' fishing boat built by Fred Wahl Marine Construction. Though it is certainly not the last one, as the boatyard is building another 58-footer. This one is for Peter Fefelov and will be fishing out of Homer, Alaska. It was due to go in the water at the end of February.
Wilson will use his boat for pot fishing, seining and dragging. It's the first 58-footer that has been set up for dragging, Lee says. There's a bolt-in plug in the transom that closes off the stern ramp when the boat isn't dragging.
"It's the same basic boat as the other 58-footers, but with the dragging gear it will be fishing a little differently," Lee notes. Fred Wahl Marine Construction designed all the 58-foot boats.
Wilson supplied trawl winches and the Caterpillar 3412 main engine with a ZF W2400 marine gear. Lee says he bought the engine "ahead of time because he'd heard horror stories about some of these engines not being available, so he went ahead and got it." Lee adds that the waiting period of a new engine is not as long as it used to be.
Both of the Capt'n Andrew's fish holds are floodable and the boat has a 40-hp refrigerated seawater system. Aft of the two fish holds, a bait locker is located on each side of the steering locker.
The boat's pot launcher, anchor winch and stainless steel bait chopper were all designed and built by Fred Wahl Marine Construction.
The design of Fefelov's 58-footer, the Intrepid, differs from Wilson's boat in that at 10 feet 8 inches, it draws 2 feet less. "He didn't want a deeper boat. He didn't want the volume," of the fish holds, Lee says. Thus Fefelov's boat has 2,650 cubic feet for both fish holds, and Wilson's boat comes in at 3,330 cubic feet.
The Intrepid has an autobaiter and a full shelter deck. The aluminum shelter is made up of three sections so it can be easily removed.
Another boat that's under construction is a 48' x 18' x 7' 6" Dungeness crabber. By mid-February, the hull was being plated up, while some design work was still being done on the wheelhouse. The boat will have a 330-hp main engine and an 870-cubic-foot hold.
In Blaine, Wash., Westman Marine was closing in on finishing up its own 58-footer. The boat is for Eric Rosvold, a Petersburg, Alaska, fisherman who will go seining, longlining and pot fishing.
Hockema and Whalen Associates in Seattle designed the boat, which has a couple of features not usually seen on these vessels. One is a beaver tail, or hydrofoil plate, underneath the rudder and prop. It will help keep fishing gear out of the wheel, but it will also "increase the efficiency of the prop — though not to the extent of a nozzle. You are supposed to get more thrust with less power," says the boatyard's Bob Gudmundson.
And below the 1 1/2-inch plate keel is a 4-inch-thick by 10-inch-wide steel plate. Gudmundson says he and the boat's designer, Hal Hockema, were talking about adding ballast inside the boat, but instead it was decided to put the ballast as low on the boat as possible, which is the bottom of the keel.
The boat has a fair amount of stainless steel. Both port and starboard bulwarks have stainless steel plating and on the starboard side the metal goes down to the water in the area the pots will hit. Stainless steel plating is also on the transom.
A 660-hp Cummins QSK19-M will provide main power. The diesel is hooked up to at Twin Disc MG5170 marine gear with a 6:1 ratio that turns a 72-inch prop. A 68-kW genset will operate an RSW system.
Up forward, there is a 75-hp 18-inch hydraulically powered bow thruster. In front of that is a bulbous bow that will hold potable water. — Michael Crowley
Shipyard repairs fishing boats; crab-pot skiff is built on spec
Colonna's Shipyard on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Va., is located in a good area for military ship repair work, but commercial fishing businesses around Chesapeake Bay also use the yard.
Colonna's Shipyard was founded in 1875 and is the oldest family-owned full-service shipyard in the United States. The yard has a highly skilled workforce that includes machinists, welders, ship fitters, pipe fitters, electricians, riggers, boilermakers and marine management teams.
The commercial menhaden fishery in Chesapeake Bay, from time to time, needs all of these skills. Many of the large fish steamers used in this fishery are built on steel hulls and are more than 150 feet long.
Omega Protein of Reedville, Va., recently had their steel-hulled John Dempster on the rails at Colonna's. The bottom of the boat was pressure washed from the keel to the waterline. Marine growth was removed and the old paint was left intact.
The tail shafts were repacked on the port and starboard sides, as were the rudder bearings. New keel zincs were attached, and new electronically operated transducers were installed.
"Most of our work is military," says Ron Jerasa, the shipyard's director of defense contracting. "We do, however, have a good number of large commercial fishing vessels that are brought here for repairs."
Francis Haynie of Haynie Boatyard in Northumberland County, Va., recently completed a 26' x 7' 11" crab-potting deadrise skiff. The skiff is a spec boat that comes with a 90-hp Nissan outboard motor.
Spruce and rosemary pine are used for the skiff's bottom and side planking. The frames are white oak. The distance between frames varies but is about 14 inches.
The stem is cut out of a 6" x 8" piece of spruce pine. The transom is made from three 2" x 12" white-oak planks. Two white-oak bilge stringers are used to stiffen the bottom.
A steering stick is mounted on the starboard side and Nissan controls are conveniently mounted near the stick. The sides are 27 inches from the top of the collar boards to the floor of the boat. "The top of the collar board hits you right above your knees, which gives you support when you are fishing crab pots," says Haynie.
Removal seats are near the steering stick and another is up by the bow. "If it's used for crab potting, they are going to take the seats out to carry payload," Haynie says.
Haynie is also building a 32-foot wooden deadrise boat. It is designed for hand-tonging oysters and has 12-inch washboards that are wide enough for a man to stand on. The boat is made of pressure treated spruce pine, white oak, and fir.
In for repairs is an 18-foot pound net skiff. Haynie is repairing portions of the sides, and the entire stern was removed and rebuilt.
About 10 miles down the road from Haynie Boatyard is Cockrell's Marine Railway. In the 1930s, Addison Cockrell Sr. started a small railway near Northern Neck's timber-rich forest. Cockrell also built himself a sawmill near the railway to provide his own boat lumber.
The mill and railway are still working, as four generations of Cockrells have caulked and nailed back together thousands of wooden workboats.
The boatyard's owner Myles Cockrell recently finished fiberglassing the sides and installing a new spruce pine stern on the 40' x 13' wooden deadrise Miss Katie.
Miss Katie's owner, Brooker Webb of Northumberland County, is using his boat to oyster in Virginia's winter oyster dredge fishery. From the boat, Webb works a 22-inch-wide dredge.
"We stiffened her sides up," says Cockrell. "She is like a new boat now. She's an old boat but she's real firm and steady."
Cockrell is also building 16- to 20-foot fiberglass skiffs that he says work very well in the area's pound-net and gillnet fisheries.
Over the years, Cockrell has also built seine skiffs for the Potomac River pound net fishery. "My new skiffs will work very well in that fishery and will keep fishermen from having to replace their wooden skiffs as much," he says.
The yard is one of the last on the bay that still has an active sawmill and cuts its own lumber. "Since the business was started, we have been cutting our own boat lumber," says Cockrell. "It really has given us an advantage over other builders who have had to depend on others to provide them with good lumber." — Larry Chowning