MOUNT DESERT — Although Maine’s boatbuilding industry doesn’t slow much during the winter, and a few lobster boats may be launched in the dead of winter, it’s always a good sign when newly built pleasure boats show up on the waterfront.
Last week, while spring weather flashed its skirts in Hancock County, SW Boatworks launched a handsome new sportfisherman.
Whiskey Business joins a classic Ernest Libby Jr.-designed Young Brothers 45 hull to a custom designed top. The combination was designed to give the boat’s owner the opportunity to do some serious, and likely successful, tuna fishing from a comfortable and well-appointed platform.
Although they are relatively old models, Young Brothers hulls still have a reputation for being fast, easily driven and seaworthy. If they have fallen out of favor in the lobster fleet it may be because today’s fisherman wants a beamier boat that can carry more traps to and from the fishing grounds.
Whiskey Business is 45 feet long with a beam of 15 feet. By comparison, the newer Calvin Beal Jr.-designed 44-footer the company builds, despite being a foot shorter, has a beam of 17 feet 6 inches. A 46-footer built Downeast by H&H Marine and popular among lobstermen has a beam of more than 19 feet.
Big game sport fishing takes place far offshore, and boat owners don’t want to waste time getting to the fishing grounds. That shouldn’t be a problem with Whiskey Business. With a 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar diesel under the platform, the boat showed a top speed of 29 knots on her Garmin GPS during sea trials on Somes Sound. Thanks to the extensive use of acoustic insulation in the engine room and a water lift muffler on the exhaust, there was virtually no engine noise in the salon, even with a wide open throttle and the 8.5 kW Northern Lights generator cranking.
Underway for a photo shoot on Somes Sound last Thursday, SW Boatworks owner Stewart Workman and Gleason Smith, lead man on the Whiskey Business building team, seemed pleased with the boat and its performance.
Fishing trips, or cruising of any kind, should be extremely comfortable. Accommodations include a roomy owner’s stateroom forward with two-berth guest cabin to starboard and a spacious head and shower compartment to port.
On deck in the salon, the helm station is equipped with a full complement of Garmin electronics, autopilot, VHF radio as well as controls for the transom-mounted Humphree trim tabs, trolling valve, bow thruster as well as a thermal imaging night vision and camera system. Accommodations include wide upholstered helm and passenger seats on either side of the companionway, an L-shaped settee with removable dining table to port and a full galley on the starboard side with three-burner stove, microwave and refrigeration. All of the interior trim and woodwork is oiled teak, and the cabin soles are teak and holly.
But fishing is the real business of Whiskey Business, whose owner runs a distillery in Colorado.
The roomy cockpit includes both an outside helm with a 12-inch pot hauler to starboard and a separate set of engine controls and steering lever on the transom to help maneuver the boat while trying to haul a big fish in through the port corner tuna door. Both a live well and an insulated fish hold are under the deck and the boat sports electric “teaser reels” to deploy artificial bait arrays, outriggers, a “greenstick” on her radar mast (also used to tow artificial baits), more than a dozen stainless steel rod holders and plenty of room to store tackle out of the way.
The finished boat was scheduled to head for her Midcoast homeport late last week.