Pauline, a 1948 sardiner that is being restored, bares its bones. OceansWide, a nonprofit that wants to repurpose the vessel for its educational programs, said that the boat now needs to be totally rebuilt. PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPBELL SCOTT

Iconic sardine boat restoration larger than first predicted

STONINGTON — When Campbell “Buzz” Scott embarked on restoring Pauline, a 1948 sardine carrier, he knew it was going to be a bit of a project. Scott and the nonprofit OceansWide have dreams of reviving the 83-foot vessel and repurposing it for educational programs, as well as it being a launching pad for the organization’s remotely operated underwater vehicle.

But Scott’s initial assessment was off. Pauline doesn’t need a revival; it needs a resurrection.

“This is going to be a total rebuild with the exception of the keel and a few of the other timbers, which are still original from 1948,” said Scott last week.

That became evident after some initial work had been done on the boat about a year ago.

“At the time, we thought we could get away with a few planks and a new engine and putting a new topside on,” Scott said.

While painting the boat, they found a rotted plank, which led to finding another and another.

“We started pulling that string and the boat started to unravel,” Scott said.

That means the project to restore the vessel will probably take longer and cost more than originally had hoped.

But with the new slew of repairs set up, Scott felt that Pauline, which had been fishing and carrying passengers in Maine for about 70 years, had another seven decades in store and would be all the more safe for it.

Built in Thomaston, Pauline was the queen of a fleet of ships, carrying sardines from off Vinalhaven and other offshore islands to North Lubec Canning Co.’s plant in Rockland.

Pauline in 1985. The vessel was built in Thomaston in 1948 and became a passenger vessel after a life as a sardine boat.

In 1988, the owners of the windjammer Stephen Taber bought Pauline and converted it into a passenger vessel. For the past decade or so, the boat, now a relic of Maine’s cannery days, has been sitting at Billings Diesel and Marine in Stonington.

The late owner of the shipyard donated the boat to OceansWide, a nonprofit that holds educational programs and has organized the Traps to Treasure program in Gouldsboro.

Scott expected the restoration to run about $3.5 million overall, with $950,000 for the wood, hull deck and topside, $1 million for the systems and $1 million for the interior and construction. He left some wiggle room in there for unforeseen circumstances and said any leftovers would go toward future programming for the vessel.

Clark and Eisele Traditional Boatbuilders have already rebuilt the framing in the bow and stern.

“They have done an amazing job demolishing the bad parts of the vessel and starting the substantial rebuild,” Scott said. “As far as the rebuild goes, it’s a good start.”

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.
Ethan Genter

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