It’s not your everyday repair job that John Schumacher at Distinctive Finishes in Haines, Alaska, was working on at the end of April. The Windbreakers, a 34-foot gillnetter was hauled to Distinctive Finishes after its keel folded over.

The fiberglass gillnetter had been run up on a grid made up of 12x12s at high tide. It had a bolted-on keel that Schumacher says wasn’t strongly built. That and the fact the boat was at a bit of an angle and was tied up wrong caused the keel to fold over when the tide went out, fold over all the way to the chine.

Schumacher used a come-along to straighten up the keel. Along a 20-foot section of the hull, the fiberglass was ground off and then reglassed. Fortunately, the hull didn’t leak and the shaft wasn’t bent.

“We will really build it up with fiberglass. Then put the shaft in and match it up with the engine. Then pull the keel over to where everything looks right.” Schumacher says the hull is a Daniels, which he describes as a “really old style gillnetter hull.”

Currently, Distinctive Finishes is building a new 36-foot charter boat based on molds that were originally known as Sea Dory molds, then a company in Juneau bought the molds, and when they went out of business Distinctive Finishes’ customer obtained the molds and gave them to Schumacher to build his boat.

It was originally designed as a 30-footer, but since Schumacher has the molds he’s doing a 10-foot hull section and then a 26-foot section and matching them up.  Though it will be a charter boat, Schumacher says, “It could be anything — a really fast crabber. Not much hold capacity but it could carry totes.”

This fall Distinctive Finishes has a 38 Mel Martin coming in for new fish holds and a flush deck, and there’s a possibility that Schumacher will build a spec boat based on an older 36 Mel Martin he has.

Last spring, Distinctive Finishes painted the Kaemik, a 36-foot Mel Martin halibut longliner, and repowered it with a reconditioned Cummins 300-hp engine.

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Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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