Eugene Evans has been working mostly on boat restorations at Evans Boats in Crisfield, MD, as the market has seemed to favor that lately over new builds. Christina is an Evans 30-foot that suffered a major fire that completely destroyed the topsides. They have her back shining like new condition, and Eugene plans to use her as a personal boat for oystering and crabbing. The first boat that Evans built, a 26-foot crab scrape boat, was also back in the shop for restoration as well as a 44-foot workboat currently being used by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for kids programs. They were also rehabbing a couple of wooden boats including a 44-foot, Bay-built sistership to the first boat Evans used when he started working on the water in 1970.
Dave Mason at Chesapeake Boats in Crisfield, MD, has nearly completed a 46-foot boat being built for a retired liveaboard who plans to cruise her around Florida and the Bahamas. The boat was made entirely from composites, with no wood used in construction. He also has a 46-foot charter boat build underway that will be heading to Seward, AK, for passenger cruises there.
Pete and Dave have the whole crew busy at Mathews Brothers Boats in Denton, MD. The new Patriot 29 has the deck on and is getting topsides and interior work done. New coamings, railings, and a new genset went in recently. A few other Mathews boats have come back for varnish touch ups and winter storage. Pete also recently signed a deal to become the new builder for Eastport Yachts. They have moved nearly all the molds to their shop and are waxing them up to begin construction soon. They also had a beautiful little wooden Wolverine boat, gleaming in all new varnish after having the transom, deck, and topsides rebuilt.
Bill and Harry at Judge Yachts in Denton, MD, are getting a 36 and four 27s ready for delivery while readying several boats for their open house at the shop on March 1. Bill says they usually take about half a dozen orders for new boats at their open houses.
Mark Rousseau of Stevensville, MD, is restoring the 46-foot workboat Vagabond originally built by Bay fishing legend Billy Hoxter in the 1980s. Hoxter first saw the boat, being offered as a kit, at the 1978 Ocean City Waterman’s Convention and liked it so much he ordered one for himself. He built it in his backyard in Chester, MD, and ran one of the first fishing charter operations on the Bay.
Mark is continuing a nautical heritage passed down from his father, Robert, who worked at Port Annapolis marina for 30 years. Robert hand-built a scale model of Vagabond, constructed exactly like the full-size version, and it went on to win at a local modeling expo. Mark has been “recycling” parts from other boats as much as possible for the build. Stainless rails, rod holders, cleats, and even the twin 300-hp Volvo diesels will be given a new life on the completed restoration. Unfortunately, Hoxter passed away recently and will not be able to see the completed boat, which Mark hopes to have back on the water this spring. He will be offering fishing charters as well as crabbing, trot lining, and even water skiing on smaller boats in his charter fleet.
Dave Hannam of Classic Watercraft Restoration in Annapolis, MD, reports that after recently expanding into his larger wood shop at the first of the year, he has settled into production on his returning customer’s 1941 Morin Craft 22-foot mahogany runabout with all new coatings and an upgraded power plant… from the original 115-hp Chrysler Crown to a 400-hp big block, and with GPS Marine helping calculate the requirements for the drive system upgrade to be completed this spring. Hannam also reports his customers 23-foot Hacker Craft Deluxe double-cockpit runabout is scheduled for a complete strip and re-coat to revive the “ole woody” after 15 years in storage, which will also be ready for summer use on the Bay.
“I’m ready for spring,” says Joe Reid at Mast and Mallet Boatworks in Mayo, MD. Joe has been finishing the cosmetics on a seven-foot lapstrake dinghy he built, but work is slow since in the cold, any paint or varnish put on needs to dry for two to three days before sanding between coats. He also has a 32-foot Wasque Downeast in for cockpit deck repairs and new non-skid paint. Joe is also working on another Downeast boat, a 36-foot Jarvis Newman lobster yacht. He has installed a shower area in what used to be a partial galley, painted the interior, and painted the decks and cockpit. The Caterpillar engine will receive new vibration mounts, as well as engine room sound insulation. Other mundane winter tasks at Mast and Mallet include sharpening tools, replacing light bulbs and ballast in fluorescent lights, cleaning out the refrigerator, looking for new boat designs to build, and taking long lunches.
Mike Bickford and the crew at Campbell’s Bachelor Point Boatyard in Oxford, MD, have been staying warm and busy this winter. They are currently installing a new Cummins/Onan generator, an upgraded shore power and battery system, and a pair of air conditioner and heat pump units in a Wes-Mac 39. This will allow the new owner and his family to cruise comfortably in colder and warmer months. They are also installing a pair of new Cummins diesel engines in a 37 Sea Ray. The owner has chosen to remove the gas engines and replace them with over 900-hp of diesel power. They expect to see an increase of 12-15 knots in top-end boat speed. The engine space will have a fresh application of gel coat, new Soundown insulation, and a pair of custom mufflers. The old generator is also being replaced with a new Cummins/Onan model.
George Hazzard and the crew at Wooden Boat Restoration in Millington, MD, have been restoring a 1954 14-foot Chris Craft kit boat this winter. They have also been replacing the decks on a 1954 20-foot Chris Craft Riviera as well as new rear decks on a 17-foot Barbour. During the cold winter months, it has been hard to get the varnish to dry, but a 1948 18-foot Chris Craft Sportsman they are restoring will be feeling better when she heads south in March for the Sunnyland Chapter antique and classic boat show in Tavares, FL.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD, Boat Yard Program Manager Jenn Kuhn reports the museum’s Apprentice for a Day (AFAD) public boatbuilding participants have begun construction on a 17.5-foot Merlin yawl. The plywood lapstrake skiff, designed by Kees Prins and Bill Bronaugh, is expected to launch in June and will be built on weekends by members of the public with all skill levels. AFAD participants began the process with a set of offsets. They lofted the vessel to full scale in order to create the back bone or series of molds on which to lay the keel, stem, and stern post. Planking has been completed, and the boat has been flipped over in preparation for the breast and aft hooks, framing, and centerboard trunk. Members of the public interested in learning boatbuilding are invited to participate on Saturdays and Sundays through June, with the schedule listed at cbmm.org.
Jerry LeCompte at Dockside Boat Works in Easton, MD, has begun to varnish decks on the 19-foot 1957 Chris Craft Capri, and that gleam is starting to come back. He also has a 1930 26-foot Chris Craft Triple, that he refinished three years ago, back in the shop for more touch-ups and refinishing. A 1961 Hershey outboard runabout has just arrived for restoration and Jerry will also be making a new bench seat for the back of this rare classic.