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Thread: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

  1. #1
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    Default Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    A long-time reader of the Woodenboat forum, this is my first post. By way of introduction, here is a link to a blog I have been keeping on the restoration (a term I use very loosely with this audience!) of a traditional PNW double-ended troller https://fvpetrel.wordpress.com. And for those who prefer to read it here, a short summary:

    Petrel is a double-ended Pacific Northwest troller built in 1954 by the Sather Boat Works in New Westminster, British Columbia. She was converted to pleasure use sometime before 1990. As of 2014 she was on the hard in Seattle waiting to be scrapped. I found her while wandering boat yards and in a fit of madness decided to bring her back to life.

    As found, she looked quite down on her luck:




    After a year of work in the yard she looks a bit better although still very much to be done:






    With 35+ years of experience owning, living aboard and caring for old wooden boats I have a bit of experience with basic maintenance work but am getting to the point where advice would be handy on some of the more complicated projects. I look forward to comments, kibitzing, suggestions and criticism from the group.

    - Chris

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Wow. You've done some nice work on her already it appears. I took a short cruise on her a few years ago when a friend was considering buying her. She was in Anacortes at the time. I advised my friend against it mainly because he had no experience with wooden boats. He wanted my advice because I own Snoose, a somewhat similar converted troller. And you are probably aware of another larger converted troller in the area also named Petrel. I have to run right now but I'll look forward to seeing your progress.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Fine looking boat Chris. Gotta say I'm glad you got rid of that aft cabin. Looks great in new colour scheme

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Thanks Andrew and Ron. Ron, I've followed your posts on Snoose closely. Beautiful boat! Interesting that you have been aboard my Petrel. I'd love a closer look at Snoose some day. And yes, I'm familiar with the other Petrel as well. Also Halcyon, Bebop, Josephine, Sockeye, Full Moon, Romance, Early Spring, Molle B and a few others that have been converted to pleasure use. But the old trollers don't seem to get the same amount of press or attention as the East Coast working boats. I've had to do a lot of searching to find any information or examples online. Hopefully a few more will show up here.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Good looking old boat. I'd have been looking at rescuing it too.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    You are more than welcome aboard Snoose anytime. My only hesitation is that up close you will see all the warts that don't show up in photos. She is at Shilshole and I'm down tinkering on her almost every day. Right now she is awaiting a new exhaust stack so the pilot house is a little torn up. Let me know when you might be around and you can come down and we can compare notes. Where is Petrel?

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    I just glanced at your blog, looking forward to getting a chance to read thru it. You are doing a great job. I never thought that boat could look that good again. Sure glad my friend didn't buy her or she would suffered a disastrous fate. You've saved a good one.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    Good looking old boat. I'd have been looking at rescuing it too.
    Why, do you have room for another?


    Impressive progress for a years effort. Might you bring her to the PTWBF some year? Maybe this year?
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Ron, I'd like to take you up on the invitation to visit Snoose sooner than later since I need to rebuild the exhaust on Petrel this winter so it would be great to see what you are doing warts and all - no old workboat is perfect!. Let me know when you have time and I'll stop by. Petrel is in Salmon Bay at Canal Marina (which is not the same as Canal Boat Yard). South side of the Ship Canal just West of the Fremont Cut.

    Ben, I'd really like to get up to PTWBF with Petrel but she is not quite ready for any cruise longer than a circuit of Lake Union right now. No ground tackle (the anchor winch is non-op pending a new pump), no running lights (need to rewire), no place to sleep, in fact no interior to speak of... it's all projects on top of projects for a while longer. But I hope to have her cruising next year and will pencil in a trip to show her off then.

    - Chris

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Chris, check your private messages.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    The current project on Petrel is to wood and refinish the pilothouse window frames. There are plenty of other pressing needs but this is one one of the few varnished areas of the boat and I'm hoping to salvage it so I need to deal with it before it gets any worse. I had originally intended to just strip the brightwork and a narrow band of paint around the frames but after starting on that project it seemed like only a little more work to tackle the whole thing and wood the entire pilothouse.

    As documented in another thread, I debated on techniques for doing the work at the dock and settled on heat gun and scraper with a partial tent for debris control. With that in place I started in.

    Scraping commences:



    Progress so far:



    About the only thing less interesting than scraping paint must be reading about scraping paint so I assume that anyone still following this thread will now be heading over to the "Harbormaster Called Me..." thread or one of the many other projects on the forum to see some actual boatwork being done, with frames and planks and steam bending and stuff all happening on a daily basis. I'll try to perk things up here at some point but there's a lot of paint scraping still to be done before I get to the fun parts.

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    Default

    I look forward to doing something as interesting as scraping paint one day in the future, at the minute all my tasks seem far less interesting and a great deal stinkier.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Troller denotes a fishing method, rather than a particular boat design. In the USA older fiberglass pleasure boats have been rigged out as trollers, as have Pacific Dories and all kinds of diverse vessels. Petrel may have been rigged to troll at some point in her commercial career, but absent direct testimony by an owner who fished the boat, there doesn't seem to be much direct evidence. The narrow spreaders indicate a gillnetter stabilizer pole arrangement rather than tall trolling poles. The lack of a distinct trolling cockpit also leads to some uncertainty as to her use. The big open aft well with scupper at the forward end just above waterline could be some indication that she carried a drum.

    Trollers fish by actively towing lines and spoons through the water, these lines are stainless steel wire today and are stored on small hydraulic drums called gurdies. The Clear (below) is rigged as a troller.

    Unfortunately it's hard to find decent pictures of gillnetters working. Gillnetting is a fishing method using a net that's hung vertically in the water across salmon migration routes. The fish don't see the net, swim into it, tangle their gills, and die. This long shallow net is handled with a large power driven drum on the stern of the boat. The Silver Spray (below) is rigged with net drum in a well aft, and there are rollers over the stern and short stabilizer poles. The next photo shows a double-ended gillnetter pulling the net.



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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Tad is, of course, correct that I am guilty of misusing the term "troller" as a description of a type of boat rather than the way the boat was originally rigged for fishing. In my defense I'll say that I did so knowingly, and that while the phrase "double-ended B.C. fishing boat of undetermined original rig" may be more accurate, it is not nearly so evocative as "Salmon Troller". Poetic license being its own justification, I'll continue to refer to Petrel as a troller unless I find some clear evidence to the contrary.

    On that score, I agree that there is little to indicate that Petrel was ever rigged for trolling. There are no mounting points for poles, no trolling cockpit, etc. But then little or nothing aft of the pilothouse is original so it's very difficult to say either way. I have been told by a couple of previous owners that she was a combination boat (set up for both gillnetting and trolling) and fished under the name "Relic", after a character in the TV series The Beachcombers. But that's just anecdotal and doesn't meet the bar of "direct testimony from an owner who fished her." I'd very much like to learn any history of Petrel's fishing career. I've searched the various resources available but haven't found anything. I can only go as far back as the owner who converted her sometime in the '80s but he has sadly passed away.

    And on the subject of language, if I can be indulged in an anecdote unrelated to "Building and Repair", I recall my late grandfather, Capt. Ralph Stoddard Stevens jr. U.S.N. (Ret) - a stern disciplinarian and staunch defender of maritime tradition - speaking very disparagingly of those modern yachtsmen who would use the term "dock" as a noun. A ship, he would say, is "docked" at a "pier". And my father, also a traditionalist in most things, still rails against the corruption of "flying bridge" into "flybridge". Yet the pages of Yachting Magazine are filled with photos of flybridge cruisers tied up to docks. So it goes. Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. Or, one could argue, the evolution of maritime terminology through misuse is the ultimate tradition, stretching back to the birth of seafaring.

    No progress on Petrel today. Instead I spent the morning teaching my son to row. He's three so there was much splashing and spinning in circles but we all have to start somewhere. It was a good day!




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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Nothing wrong with that.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Lovely boat. It is hard to find info on these types online as I'm sure you've found.

    A PNW double ended fishing boat of that size and cabin arrangement- I would call it a Salmon Troller too, despite the dubious original rig.

    1954 is getting pretty late for this hull type right?

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    I agree that Tad is probably technically correct. However I will still refer to "Snoose" as a converted salmon troller as there is ample evidence that that is how she earned her keep most of her life. She did a couple of years gillnetting before her conversion to pleasure 15 years ago. But her history is well documented as a troller.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    I'll put one more oar in the water for a designation of "Salmon Troller" to refer to the various forms of small, typically double-ended, fishing craft native to the PNW: New England has the Lobster Boat, a name that refers to a hull type regardless of whether the boat in question has ever pulled a trap, or is merely a pleasure boat built in imitation of the form like my Dad's "Pilgrim":



    Now I'm not an expert on lobster boat design, but I know there are any number of variations on the theme (Novi boats vs down east, etc.) But lumping them all together gives the New Englanders a distinct advantage in mindshare. Everyone knows what a lobster boat looks like even if they can't tell you anything about lobstering, or boats for that matter. This is East vs. West and we are far behind. I haven't crunched the numbers but I'll bet you anything that there are fifty articles in WB about lobster boats for one about trollers. Hearts and Minds people!

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    P.S. re: 1954 as late for a double ender. I'd think so but I'll defer to Tad on any question of history here. He's the expert.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Cheers Rob! I see from your posts that you share my appreciation for Tad's little double ended cruisers and others of that type. My own aesthetic was formed early on by an encounter with the ex-B.C. Forestry Service boat "Wells Gray" as we were moored ahead of her in Princess Louisa Inlet for a few days back in 1982 or so.



    Through the years I have been tempted astray by other boats; a Monk Bridgedeck, a 48' Huckins Offshore (that one is a sad story I'll tell some other time), and most recently a 30' Chris Craft Constellation, but I've always dreamed of finding a little double ender to restore and cruise. Petrel is no Wells Gray but she suits me just fine.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Have you found her old Canadian registration number and looked up some history that way? That was helpful in putting together some of the history of my old girl.

    She reminds me a lot of the 1930's combination gillnetter/trollers. I'm surprised that she was built in the 50's based on her design. Was there a cage around the propeller?
    M/V Carlyle III
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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Love to see these ol' beasts given new life. I hope to see you at PT soon.
    David G
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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    The first thing I should have said is congratulations Chris, you have undertaken a wonderful and worthwhile project. I wish you and your family all the best with Petrel.

    My main reason for posting here is that it's another opportunity to publicize the type. You mentioned there's not much information available. That's true and I'm doing my best to change that. My posting above is to inform those that don't know about some of the possible variations in the types of boats built for commercial fishing in British Columbia. There are not just trollers, but gillnetters and seiners, collectors, crab boats, herring punts, prawn boats, halibut longliners, draggers, etc, each with a distinct regional style.

    I realize it may come across as pedantic but I'm old enough now not to care. I will continue to talk about trollers and gillnetters as distinctive boat types, and I'll talk and write about what makes them unique. To me, lumping all BC boats together as trollers makes no sense at all, essentially dismissing a huge rich sector of our coastal history. That's a loss.

    As for Lobster Boats, some folks know what they are, but an awful lot don't. Google "Italian Lobster Cruiser" and look at the "Downeast Styled" Mochi Dolphin or this http://neffyachtsales.com/vessels/us...ster-35-223881

    Another analogy might be the Friendship Sloop. It's not had it's name changed to Maine Sloop, or Lobster Sloop, it has stayed a Friendship Sloop for close to 100 years. And the rules about what a real Friendship Sloop is are quiet strict and not many understand the nuances of it. Yet they thrive and have their fans, and that's a great thing.
    ___________________________________
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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Great to see a troller given a second or third chance at a new life. George Buehler has some info on work boats of the PNW on his troller yacht page FYI.
    Looking forward to more pics.
    Mitch

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Tad - I sincerely apologize if my response(s) to your post came across as prickly! I was aiming for humor and hope I did not miss too badly. I am a regular reader of your blog, Facebook page and web site, and am a great admirer of your design work. And I have the utmost respect for your efforts to document the history of the boats that I, and the other followers of this thread, love so much.

    Humor aside I do agree that it would be a disservice to lump gillnetters and trollers together indiscriminately, and I'll confess that I don't have enough knowledge to distinguish them without seeing the actual drum or trolling poles in place (and I'll further admit that I didn't know that gillnetters would use stabilizing poles without being rigged for trolling at all). And finally, with apologies to Barry Goldwater, I'll say that "pedantry in the defense of knowledge is no vice". I'm glad that you have chosen to contribute your considerable store of knowledge to people like me who are badly in need of it.

    And on that note, I do have a question about PNW fishing boat design: Can you provide any insight into the raised deck vs. trunk cabin styles? Petrel vs. Early Spring for example. Is it just a size variation (larger boats typically have the raised deck, although not always?) A regional difference? Or specific to the builder?

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Rob, I agree that Full Moon is pretty special. I've never seen her in person but she's one of the boats that pops up in photos on the internet if you look hard enough. She was for sale on Kijiji for about 5 minutes back in June. More photos and details here. Molle B, another very pretty little double-ender, is for sale in Seattle now. She's moored very close to Petrel. (Obligatory disclaimer that I have no connection to the ads for either boat).

    Chris-on-the-Boat, I haven't found a Canadian registration number. Not sure where I'd look? And I love your blog on Carlyle III. What a fantastic boat! I'm absolutely amazed at what you have done in half a year. I definitely have to step things up on Petrel.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Great work on bringing her back to life.,Those double enders are fine looking boats.
    Do you have any more details on the running gear?

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Twelve grand for the Molly B is hell of a deal! It's too bad you can't buy them all.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    How much fuel is a 6 pot petrol engine going to gobble? How much is fuel in that part of the world? Is it cheap because of the inboard, or because of something else......like being old and wood?

    Nice to see these working boats get another lease of life, i see too many get broken up and burnt.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    It's too bad you can't buy them all
    So very true. I could be like Mike Wollaston, who owns Ewing Street Marina where Molle B is moored. He has quite a collection of tug boats and other craft, all in bristol condition. That is if I owned a marina, which sadly I do not.

    The ad for Molle B really doesn't do her justice. Here are some better photos.







    She was out at Canal Boatyard last year for a lot of work including several new planks. She should be in great shape now. I don't know about fuel economy of the Chrysler Crown but I doubt it's cheap to run. I should ask my Dad - that's what he has in his boat. But there is a Gardner LW6 for sale on craigslist in Victoria right now. Too much motor for Molle B I suppose but what a great combination that would be!

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Quote Originally Posted by artif View Post
    Do you have any more details on the running gear?
    I'm not sure what you mean by running gear in this context? If you mean propulsion, Petrel is powered by a Detroit 3-53 with a BW Velvet Drive gear. If you mean how she was set up when she fished, unfortunately no. Just that she was a combination troller/gillnetter but I have no idea how accurate that is.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    More Molle B photos. I'm honestly not sure where I found these so I apologize to the original photographer for using them without permission or attribution.




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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by running gear in this context? If you mean propulsion, Petrel is powered by a Detroit 3-53 with a BW Velvet Drive gear. If you mean how she was set up when she fished, unfortunately no. Just that she was a combination troller/gillnetter but I have no idea how accurate that is.
    Running gear = propulsion, (well it does in my head) but the fishing history would be of interest as well.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Right - of course. Detroit 3-53, keel cooled/dry stack. BW Velvet Drive, 2.10:1 reduction. No cage around the prop (I think someone asked that earlier). The motor runs great although it has it's share of what I'll call "patina" and everyone else would just call rust. Videos of the first start-up after more than a year in the yard here if you are interested. I was amazed at how well it ran.

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    Default Re: Restoration of BC Salmon Troller "Petrel"

    Nice, she sounds well. Bit of a clean and a splash of paint she'll be fine.
    Keel cooled as well, no silly jabsco impellers to worry about.

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