Tinkering Leads to Better Boats
by Michael Crowley in "Around the Yards"
National Fisherman – October 2012
© 2012 by National Fisherman Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
On the shop floor at Reynolds Marine in Anchorage, Alaska, is a 33' x 11' gillnetter with a pair of 300-hp Yanmar diesels matched up with 274 Hamilton water jets and two 32' x 10' 6" gillnetters, each with a single 455-hp Caterpillar C7 connected to an UltraJet 305HT.
Once these boat are finished, Reynolds Marine has nine more aluminum gillnetters to build. All are for Prince William Sound salmon fishermen. No wonder the boatshop's Charlie Reynolds says, "It never seems to slow down." Mind you, Reynolds isn't complaining.
The three boats under construction were to be delivered this summer to salmon fishermen in Cordova, Alaska. The gillnetter with twin diesels is for Scott McKenzie, and the two boats with the Cats are going to Kory Blake and Mark King.
Seven of the next nine boats will be powered with a single diesel, one with twin diesels and one with two gasoline engines.
Reynolds designs all the gillnetters he builds, but these are not cookie-cutter designs, where the boat you buy this year is a replica of one built last year. The hulls will be the same, but the interiors can be adjusted to owner's wishes, and Reynolds is always tinkering with his designs.
"There's nothing that's drastically different. I'm always changing little things to make the boats better," he says. Reynolds reels off some the recent changes. "This last year I changed the ceiling height to gain more room without changing the aesthetics. Improvements have been made to net reels and rollers. Electrical panels have been changed to upgrade to higher quality. I've gone almost exclusively to LED lights."
Regarding the hull, Reynolds works "to make things cleaner and lighter without losing strength. The last boat I did, I shaved 1,000 pounds off — 10 pounds at a time. It's just trying to design so the material you use is lighter, not necessarily the thickness but the shape or how it's fabricated up."
The goal of all this effort, especially regarding the hull, is "not so much on the top end, but better fuel economy and being able to pack more weight."
He figures the twin-Yanmar-powered gillnetter should top out at 40 to 42 knots and cruise at 26 to 30 knots, with each engine burning 15 to 17 gallons per hour at the cruise speed. The gillnetters with a single Cat C7 should have a maximum speed of 32 to 35 knots, and cruise at 26 knots while consuming 15 gallons per hour.