LAMOINE – Many of those that are reaching the retirement age are thinking about an exit plan. Planning for this becomes very important if you want the business to continue with you still the owner or you are looking to sell out and walk away. There are always things to consider, which could be potential issues, but careful planning will lessen the problems. It was no surprise when I learned that Stewart Workman of S. W. Boatworks in Lamoine was looking to semi-retire. For several years he has been lobstering on the side and now that just got a little bit more serious when he finished off a new Calvin Beal 36 lobster boat for himself, named ALICE FRANCES.

        Stewart has wanted a lobster boat for 40 years. He said, “As a kid when I was lobster fishing I always wanted a brand-new fiberglass boat. Of course, life has its own path and we did what we did until we got to the point where we decided that I had a retirement plan, and the retirement plan is lobster fishing. I stopped fishing for a while, but I kept my license. I was actually at my place down there at Gouldsboro Bay sitting on the beach, eating lobsters that I bought up at the store. I looked at my wife and I said, ‘This is kind of stupid. I have got all of these lobster tags and my lobster license and here I am buying lobsters. I think I will set a few traps next year.’ She looked at me and pointed her finger at me and she said, ‘I don’t think that you need to be starting a new job.’ I said, ‘I will only set 10 or 12, just enough to get something to eat.’ She goes, ‘Yeah, okay.’

        “I already had a little wooden boat at the time so I set 40 traps,” continued Stewart. “That was Mike Porter’s boat, a Chebeague 26. It needed a lot of work. So, I fixed that up and used that for I guess a couple of years until I started taking up traps and almost rolled her over because I had too many traps on it. She had kind of a round bottom, so I told myself, ‘This is stupid. I have got these big, beautiful boats up here in the yard and here I am riding around in this round bottom boat. It was a nice little boat, but it wasn’t really made for lobster fishing. I wanted to build myself a boat, but I got so busy that I couldn’t, didn’t have the time. Calvin S. Beal, “Bubba” had one for sale so I bought his 34 Calvin. That was an awesome boat, but it wasn’t one of mine that I finished. It was enough to hold me over until I could get the opportunity to take the time to build one. I used it for a couple of years, then I had some people that were looking for a 34-foot boat and I said, ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I have got a beauty. It is not a yacht, it is a lobster boat.’ They actually came from the West Coast, he and his wife, for a ride. I said, ‘You need to give me three days.’ ‘Why is that?’ ‘I have to clean the boat up, because your wife is going to step aboard your boat and she isn’t going to want it because I have got herring and everything else aboard her.’ I took three days and I just cleaned the boat up. They came down and went for a ride and fell right in love with the boat. Needless to say, they wrote me a check, and I was boatless. Now, I had to do something at that point. I was going to build another 34 because I love that boat. It was plenty of boat, all that I needed. Then everyone kept telling me, ‘If you are going to build one, build a 36.’ I said, ‘I don’t need a 36. It draws a little more water and I am fishing in shallow water and it will probably burn more fuel.’ I hemmed and hawed over it for quite a while and I said, ‘It is probably going to cost me the same to build a 36 as a 34.’ I had myself in the layup schedule and I kept flip flopping myself to accommodate everybody else and finally it got down to the wire. I better start or else I am going to run out of time. It was probably 10 or 11 weeks ago now (mid-March) we started finishing the boat, but I can tell you right now there were a lot of hours.”

        They (Stewart and Gleason Smith) worked every waken hour, seven days a week to get this boat done and over around the first of June, which they did sliding her in on 2 June. They did everything, including the wiring and metalwork. The only thing they did not do was the fuel tanks which was done by Nelson’s Metal Fabrication in Surry.

        The Calvin 34 Stewart had been using was almost exactly what he wanted. Stewart added, “Very comfortable layout, nothing fancy. She just had a big triangle bunk down forward. I did add in a little shelf off to the port side so that if I can convince my wife to go for a boat ride we can have a place to make some sandwiches. I did put an inverter in so I could have Keurig coffee machine and a microwave. Sometimes it’s good to have hot soup on a cold day.”

        Down below is gel-coated, simple and very easy to keep clean. Stewart even left the front of bulkhead in front of the engine open so it is easier to work on. The other boat had an aluminum rope locker and this he wanted a little bigger so he could carry more rope. This will keep the rope clean as the locker is heated and keeps the rope away from your feet. He took the old bait box and modified it to fit the new boat. He also removed the mast and boom from his old boat and installed that. She is fitted with a tailgate and she will easily handle 100 traps.

        For power she sports the 450-hp QSL 9 with a 5057A Twin Disc 2:1 reduction gear. Stewart added, “It is actually one of my favorite engines. This package, either in the 34 or the 36, was what I always wanted since I started building the Calvin Beals. Years ago, when I was buying engines off James Rich Boat Yard and the QSL 9 was new, I was buying the QSE 8.3 for a yacht. Bobby Powers goes, ‘You ought to buy this QSL 9,’ he goes ‘This is going to be one of the most popular engines that Cummins ever made.’ It was a new engine at the time and I just wasn’t sure about it. I stayed with something that I knew and that was the 8.3, which are great motors as well. I have heard a lot of great reviews on this QSL 9. It is continuous duty, it has a lower RPM, and is a higher torque engine. I was actually very impressed. I thought I was over-wheeled when I backed her out away from the trailer for the first time. She has got a 28 x 34-inch four-blade prop and I told the guys, ‘It feels like she’s over-wheeled, I don’t think she is going to turn this wheel.’ We let her get up to temperature and I went out there and poked her in the butt and she overturned the wheel 80 RPMs. It was like holy mackerel, I could not believe it. I did not build the boat for speed, I am not in the racing circuit, I built it for working and cruising. I did not put any lifting rails on the boat, which helps because the boat is fairly light. It is built out of composite, but I do have a wooden 2 x 4 deck, pressure-treated. The cruising speed with this boat and the fuel consumption does tremendously well. I am cruising at 1900 RPMs and I am going 19 knots and burning 16 gallons of fuel. At 1700 we were down to 12 gallons per hour. I am very happy with the engine. I have worked for many years promoting their engines. They are a good fit for the 36, especially the QSL 9 and the 8.3, those are my two favorite engines.”

        The only thing under the deck is the fuel tank, which is 230 gallons. Stewart explained, “There are no fish holds or anything else, just a basic boat. I did not want the extra weight back there. There is no need for me to put stuff underneath the floor and it is just hard to get in and out of. As we get older, we get wiser as it hurts the back more to bend over.”

        The conversation changed to the lobster industry and knowing that a number of fisherman have had enough of the government intervention. “There are so many rules and regulations and that is scaring a lot of the fishermen, which you can’t blame them,” said Stewart. “They don’t know if they are going to have a good season or not. You have got a lot of regulations offshore now and the cost of bait, the cost of fuel, it is cheaper to steam two miles than it is 20. There’s a lot of things in this world right now that is getting a little crazy so everyone is a little unsure, but we are busy. We are booked all the way up into the winter. We have got some 36s, some 42s and some 44s to do.”

        Stewart is not finishing off boats, but he is still producing hulls. He has the line of Calvin Beal and Young Brothers models. They do have one more boat in the shop, which they are finishing off as a sportfisherman for customer from Portland. She will be going in next year.

        The big project coming is on WHISKEY BUSSINESS, which suffered a major fire in the main saloon last fall. The problem was an air conditioning unit and that started the fire. Stewart and a surveyor went through the boat and determined she was repairable at a reasonable cost. Stewart said that it was going to be a dirty job getting out all the burned material, but after that it would be rebuilding the affected area.

        Life is short and there are way too many things in life that would be enjoyable to do. Stewart knew the time had come for a change and he decided to go lobstering and enjoy life.