New Crabber Heads for Grounds

Friday, October 29, 1999
On the Bering Sea king crab fishery, explains deckhand Jerod Goodin, "There are six in the deck crew. Each of us will work 15 hours on and then take a three hour break. The captain won't sleep and if there are a lot of crab none of us will sleep." That is just the way it is in one of North America's most lucrative and dangerous fisheries, which will probably have just four days of fishing this autumn. In early October, the crew of newly built Arctic Venture were excited and anxious to get the pots and other gear loaded on the Astoria Oregon waterfront near the mouth of the Columbia River. The new 124 x 30-ft. (31.7 x 9.1 m) boat, owned by three partners, Don Jester, David Lethine and Derrick Ray, was built in a remarkably short time at Giddings Boatworks in Coos Bay, Ore. "Don has been the driving force since they started cutting steel seven months ago, and she is equipped with the best money can buy. In the Bering Sea you want reliability and lots of redundancy," says Derrick Ray who owns a share in 137-ft. Siberian Sea, which he will skipper for the king crab season while David Lethin skippers the new boat. As the gear is loaded, Don continues his hectic pace. One moment he is poring over charts of the Bering Sea discussing fishing spots with David Lethin. The next moment he and Lethin are stowing extra lines for the crab pots in the boat's roomy focsle below the raised forpeak, which contains a frozen bait locker on the port side kept at -10 degrees Fahrenheit by a three-ton compressor and can hold 30,000 pounds of frozen herring and squid for bait. The starboard side of the forpeak has additional storage. Below, where the lines were being stowed, are the vessel's three electric over hydraulic motors, including one 60 hp motor and two hp motors. These, as well as a pair of 50 hp motors located aft turning a pair of 50 ton compressors for the boat's RSW system, draw power from a pair of 250 kW gen sets, each powered by a six-cylinder Cummins 855 engine. An additional six-cylinder Cummins 6BT5.9 engine powers a 100 kW hotel generator and provides basic hydraulics. The big generators will be run while fishing to power the hydraulic pot hauler and launcher. Once live crab, up to 250,000 lbs., are loaded into the vessel's 9,700 cu. ft. of capacity in six holds, the gen sets will run continuously to circulate the water to keep the crabs alive. Main engines for Arctic Venture are a pair of Cummins' new electronic QSK19 engines rated 660 hp at 1,800 rpm turning 63 x 54-in. propellers through Twin Disc 5202 4.5:1 marine gears. Based on the long established and highly regarded KTA19 engine, the entirely redesigned power plant is rapidly gaining a following in the commercial fleet says Tom Curry of Tom Curry Marine Supply in Newport, Ore. who provided all five Cummins engines to the new boat and has sold several of the QSK19 engines this past year. In the run up the Oregon coast from the builder, Giddings Boatworks in Coos Bay to Astoria, Derrick Ray reports the boat achieved a top speed of 12 knots at 1,850 rpm and delivered nine knots at an economical 14 gallons per hour per engine at 1,400 rpm. The boat was designed by naval architect Mike Dianich of Corbett, Ore. with enough versatility to be adapted to a range of fisheries in future.
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