With new reports expressing concern over the 2020 Bristol Bay salmon season and Covid-19, there was only optimistic excitement as Washington State’s Velocity Marine. In early May, sea trails were being held for their latest boat, the Point Steele. Following that, owner Mel Mathews will be making the long run north, through Canada, Southeast and the Gulf of Alaska, with the 32 by 16-foot aluminum beauty to arrive in time for the June fishery.
While the current crop of Bristol Bay gillnetters show some variation in topside design, the best of them tend to share some features. The hulls, while staying within the regulated 32-foot length, are beamy and shallow. Much of the Bristol Bay fishery is carried out in very shallow waters and the big tides can make the fishery tricky. To some extent this is alleviated by the use of jets and a very low dead-rise aft. This also allows the boats to dry up when alongside on closed days.
There are still seven-knot prop-driven boats in the Bay, but the elite vessels, like the Point Steele have light-boat speeds approaching 40-knots. In a season that is measured in days, speed is all-important. With a capacity of 18,000 pounds in RSW, the Point Steele will deliver to the tender multiple times in an opening. Even loaded the boat can be expected to make speed roughly half those of the light boat. Lenco trim tabs help optimize performance under different load conditions.
To make these speeds she has been powered with a pair of the popular Cummins QSC8.3 engines. These 505 cubic inch, six-cylinder engines, with high pressure common-rail fuel system, and four valves per cylinder, deliver 600 HP each to the twin Ultrajet 340HT jets through ZF305 gears.
At the same time as it is an aggressive fishing machine; the boat will serve as “home” to a crew of four through out the season and up to six if required. The current pandemic is likely to require even less shore time than usual. But crew comfort is not neglected. The fo’c’sle is fitted out with four crew bunks, a Dickson diesel stove, refrigerator, and head. All the comforts of home in the forward half of a 32-foot boat!
The full width wheelhouse, set well forward, provides excellent visibility fore and aft. There is a fold out bed there for the skipper and his wife. On the Pointe Steele, the gillnet will be set and retrieved over the stern with the aide of a powered stern roller and a powered net drum supplied by Kinematics.
Tankage includes two 200-gallon fuel, 40 gallons for water, and 50 gallons of hydraulic oil. In addition to hydraulics for the deck equipment, the boat has a ten-ton Pacific Western hydraulic driven RSW system.
At sea trials, the Pointe Steele, demonstrated the incredible maneuverability achieved with twin 600 HP jets and clocked out at 38 knots,.
Photos courtesy of Velocity Marine
For more information:
Velocity Marine and Fabrication,
500 Metcalf St. Bldg. N3
Sedro Wooley, WA 98284
Phone: 360-389 6233
Marketing Communications, Global Marine
4400 Leeds Ave. Suite 300
Charleston, SC 29405