Boricua Custom Boats


        On the morning of 27 January a major boat hauling job took place from Boricua Custom Boats to His Cove in Harrington. They had just finished a new lobster boat, named ISLA & GRAYSON, and Toppin’s Diesel’s truck had her on the trailer and ready to head down the road escorted by a police car from Milbridge and trailed by a procession of vehicles.

        The boat on the trailer was a Wesmac 50, which was finished out as a split-wheelhouse lobster boat powered with a 900-hp Scania was for Travis Perry of Harrington. Moises Ortiz, owner of Boricua Custom Boats, said, “She’s one of a kind. Everything is custom. On the hull I did an extra set of chines and added a bow thruster. Down forward is simple, she has just four bunks and a closet for the head. Under the platform she fits 38 crates in three lobster tanks and 1,200-gallons of fuel. For a galley there is a little sink, stove and a microwave. She was built strong and everywhere you look its smooth.

        Travis Perry had an Osmond 50 powered with a 1,650-hp diesel engine and then he got a ride on Trevor Hooper’s Wesmac 50. He explained, “She was wicked dry. We went out on a day that was blowing 30 easterly, going 29 knots into it and the next day I went up and put a deposit down on one. I thought bigger power would run easier, burn less fuel and be a little easier on the motor. I was told not to do it, but I did not listen. I mean it was good, you had plenty of power, but the fuel burn was high. It wasn’t that big of deal.”

        Travis builds his boats to be comfortable so he can stay out overnight. This allows him to haul until dark, get up in the morning, haul for another four hours and be done. When asked how the new boat went, he said, “She did 25 knots and was burning about 44 gallons. She will cruise 19 knot at 27 gallons an hour. Dry holy cow is that thing dry.”

        Before the Osmond 50 Travis had an Osmond 47 named RATTLESNAKE, which was built for Derek Feeney by H&H Marine in Steuben in 2008. Before that he had the plug for the Wayne Beal 36, which was named PROVIDER.

        This is not the first Wesmac Moises has done. He did the one for Trevor Hooper, another for Mike Hunt and before these he worked on one for Dana Rice. He was modifying a Wesmac top to fit, which Wesmac did not think was doable. Wesmac was so impressed that they came down and took measurements and created a mould for their larger models. He added, “It was a lot of work, but it takes a young guy like Trevor to come up with a crazy idea and the money. Then me who wants to do it.”

        Next Moises is finishing a Mitchell Cove 35 as a lobster boat for Tim Toppins of Columbia Falls. He has modified the top saying, “I raised the top four inches. The windshield comes straight on them so I got three windows on this one and moved it ahead. Kind of do my own thing. My own look. She will be a plain Jane.”

        Down below she has nothing and will be powered with an 800-hp Scania. Moises is hoping to have her done early this spring.

        Next her is a Mussel Ridge 46, which will be finished out as a sportfisherman for a customer from New York City. This is going to be his first sportfisherman and it is going to be well-appointed. He was not sure how long this will take to complete. Out in the yard is an Osmond 44, which will be coming in to be finished off as a lobster boat for a local fisherman.

        Moises said he came from Puerto Rico in 2001 and could not speak a word of English when he got hear. He said, “I like Maine. I feel like I am at home here.”

        When he arrived here he was buying seafood and trucking it to Massachusetts. His first taste of boatbuilding came when he went to work for RP boats in Steuben. He then went to work for Dana Rice at Bunker’s Harbor for a number of years. He added, “Five and a half years ago I moved to Presque Isle because my woman has family up there. Presque Isle isn’t for everybody. I came back down here to visit and little Dana (Rice) who was building his Wesmac. Mike Light had it and asked me to help him out and I went and talked to Mike and he said come on in.”

        Moises has self-taught himself a lot about boatbuilding and he takes a lot off pride in what he is doing and it shows in the boats he has finished off. Despite doing this for just a few years on his own his reputation if growing rapidly.


Wayne Beal’s Boat Shop


        In the shop is the Wayne Beal 40 PULL ‘N PRAY (built 1999), which last summer suffered a major fire as she approached the dock on Long Island. She was hauled up at Johnson’s Boat Yard on Long Island and cleaned up a bit. She was then trucked to Jonesport for a full restoration. They have done some additional cleaning and next they will begin ripping out the rest of the platform. They will then begin putting back the structure and tankage under the platform. This will be followed by a new platform, new bulkhead, moulded top and then she will be sanded down and the topsides refinished. Jeremy Beal said, “It is going to be quite a project. I am hoping to have it for him so he can take it to Boothbay, but I don’t know, but we will try.”

        Next to PULL ‘N PRAY they are laying up a Wayne Beal 32 (hard chine), for Wayne Beal, which will be finished out as lobster boat. She will have a 500-hp Cummins and they are hoping to have it done for the first race of the season at Boothbay.

        They also have a Wayne Beal 36, which will be finished out as a lobster boat for a fisherman of Prospect Harbor. She will be getting a 500-hp Iveco. This is the 105th 36.

        Behind PULL ‘N PRAY there is BOBBY O., which was built in 1990. She has had her house extended for sportfishing.

        There are a number of other jobs coming in. A Repco 30 and a Holland 38 will be in for new tops, which they modify from their 36 top. Out back is a Crowley 28 that needs some repair work.

        MARIA’s NIGHTMARE, a Wayne Beal 28, which you saw Jeremy race last year, will be back out this year with a diesel engine. He is thinking of putting in a 500-hp Cummins, but he will not compete against his father.


East Side Boat Shop

East Machias

        Inside they are finishing off a Libby 41 as a lobster boat for a fisherman from Rhode Island. At the end of January they were putting the structure and tankage under the platform. Next to the hull they are laying up her top.

        They have been working on a 34-foot top, which is actually going to be for their new model, a Libby 36. She is going to be 36 feet 11 inches long, a little wider, higher top, straight transom and probably a deeper keel. The have taken the existing 38 mould and have completely refinished it removing all the bumps, dimples and plank lines and made it perfectly smooth. They have also rebuilt all the structure of the mould so that it is completely solid. The hull and the top will be done this spring.

        The mould for the 41 is getting tired and they are going to build a new one. She will be modified so that she is two feet wider, six to eight inches higher and the keel will drop eight inches. It all comes down to power and the more power one puts in the bigger the propeller needs to be and thus the keel needs to be deeper.

        They have someone interested in lengthening the Libby 47 to a 50. He also wants them to widen it 20 feet so that he can shift all his traps in two loads. He presently has a 47 and he goes out in weather that no one else will go out in. He says it is not as fast as a 41, but he can work in anything. Frank Coffin, owner of East Side Boat Shop, owns a 47 and he is thinking of building another one and if he does he will not change a thing.

        In the far bay they have a 30 year old Young Brothers 35 and she is getting a new floor and fuel tanks. The floor was so rotten they were able to shovel it out of the bilge.

        This will be followed by a 40-footer that at least needs a new floor, but they are thinking she will need more than that.


John Williams Boatbuilder

Hall’s Quarry

        One of the main projects this winter is on a Wilbur 38. She is having her entire cockpit deck replaced due to rot. Everything that is going back in will be composite, but will have a teak deck on top of it. The owner is getting older and thinks he may need wheelchair access at some point so they have added a side door on the starboard side. Other work has included engine work, new batteries, new windows and next they will repaint the boat.

        Last year they received a number of the wooden International One-Designs when Mount Desert Yacht Yard decided to close operations. They have 13 of these racers, which all need various amounts of work before the racing season arrives. Most only need minor repairs, but one that will need more than normal repairs.

        Also in storage is a couple of Bunker & Ellis power cruisers. One, a 36 footer, only needs her annual maintenance, but the other, a 38 footer, will need her bottom refastened. What is interesting is that they do not have butt blocks as the plank ends are fastened onto the frames. When the pull a couple of planks, which need to be replaced, they will check the fastenings of the planks ends to make sure they are okay.

        A Stanley 38, which was built in 2005, has been in and having repair work done in stages. This year they will be replacing her electronics, add a sound insulation, new refrigerator, an electric hatch forward and dinghy davits to make extended cruising easier and safer. Then there is a lot of varnish work to be done before she is ready to go overboard.

        An Oyster 41 is in for an Awlgrip job. The owners of this boat have an identical one that they are cruising in now down off the west coast of Mexico. So all new Awlgrip, deck paint, and some carpentry and mechanical items on her.

        A Newman 38, which was finished off by James Rich of West Tremont, was in for a wooden house top. They also replaced the bulkhead, added a sliding side door in the cabin; and rebuilt some storage boxes.

        There are number of smaller projects which include: electric winches and engine insulation on a Sou’wester 43 sailboat; a repower; a few Awlgrip jobs; and they have two bottoms lined up for soda blasting/stripping.

        Couple this with the 175 storage boats they have this year they will be right into the summer.