Some call it the Holy Grail of Bristol Bay. It’s getting a 32-foot gillnetter up on step with 10,000 pounds of salmon aboard. Five or six boats have been designed and built to do just that but they fell short of the goal.

The 32-foot Erratic has a 1,000 hp Cat matched up with a 521HT HamiltonJet. Mavrik Marine photo.Bristol Bay’s better fishing is often found on the outer boundary lines. A boat that catches, say, 4,000 pounds on the opening set, drifts back while those fish are picked and then goes back for another set and maybe a third, while running on step at 30 knots, is able to pass slower boats and at the end of the day has more sets, more fish and more money.

Read about the most recent attempt in National Fisherman’s August issue on page 28. “Steppin’ out” tells the story of the Erratic, a 32' x 16' x 10" Bristol Bay gillnetter, completed this spring at Mavrik Marine in La Conner, Wash.

Mavrik Marine and Teknicraft Design in New Zealand designed the 32-footer with a 1,000-hp Cat C-18 matched up to a 521HT HamiltonJet. That power package would get 42,000 pounds on step. That’s the boat, fish, fuel, gear, net and crew.

As the boat is being built you need to keep that 42,000 number in mind, always matching it up with what’s going into the boat. Do you need that heater? Is there a lighter weight RSW system? What about that level wind? Is it absolutely needed? Those are the kind of calculations that should go on, throughout the design and building process.

Nope, I’m not telling you what happened. Read about it in the August issue. Again, the story starts on page 28. 

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