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Cetacea Page 82

May 20, 2006

Dutch Harbor Whaler

Everyone who has seen the popular television show, "Deadliest Catch," knows where Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is located. It's a rather remote and busy commercial fishing harbor, and not exactly the place you'd expect to find a 35-year-old Boston Whaler. Long-time CONTINUOUSWAVE contributor Jim Potdevin was recently in this remote southwest Alaskan town, and he discovered a 13-foot Boston Whaler at the end of its commercial fishing career--abandoned in a "boneyard" of marine cast offs. He took a series of excellent pictures, revealing the fine condition of this castaway. Via email with Chuck Bennett at Boston Whaler's factory in Florida, the hull was discovered to have been shipped from Rockland, Massachusetts in February of 1971 to Puget Sound Marina in Seattle, Washington. Now, 35-years later, this classic Whaler is sitting on a pile of debris in Dutch Harbor, awaiting the next step in its fishing career. Anyone looking for a nice small boat?


Photo: Dutch Harbor, Alaska, boneyard with abandoned 13-foot Boston Whaler boat
Dutch Harbor Bone Yard
On a recent visit (May 15-16, 2006) to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Jim Potdevin discovered a small abandoned boat sitting on a pile of discarded marine equipment in the "bone yard." With that distinctive interior color and hull shape, there was no mistaking--it was a classic Boston Whaler.
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-01


Photo: 1971 SPORT 13 castaway
Whaler Blue
Amid the piles of old line, wire rope cables, marine gear, and other cast offs, the blue gel coat interior of the classic Boston Whaler stands out distinctively. And it looks like it is in really very good condition.
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-02


Photo: 1971 SPORT 13 wooden interior
Mahogany Interior
The wooden interior looks to be intact and in its original configuration. The forward thwart seat is missing, but other than that, all is well. With a little sanding and some varnish, these fine original factory mahogany wood components could be easily restored. The cold Alaskan climate does not seem to have been too harsh on this boat.
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-03


Photo: 1971 SPORT 13 stern cockpit splash well dam showing damage
Minor Damage
The only area of any significant damage appears to be here, on the cockpit splash well dam and starboard gunwale. It would not take too much effort to make a proper repair to his area and return the hull to nearly perfect condition. This is also an excellent view of the wire rope steering system. including a very interesting clamp/lever device for applying and releasing tension to the steering cables.
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-04


Photo: 1971 SPORT 13 transom view
Strong Transom
The transom looks like it is intact and ready for another outboard. What shall we put on this nice little boat, a nice modern 25-HP four-stroke outboard?
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-05


Photo: 1971 SPORT 13 stencil number 2A5172
Stencil Number 2A5172
Thirtyfive years of service have not erased the hull's stencil number. This view also shows details of the original wire rope steering system. Those pulleys and the engine fitting are themselves worth a trip to Dutch Harbor.
PhotoCredit: Jim Potdevin - Reference: 82-06

It's a long trip, but there may be a nice 13-foot boat available for the asking in Dutch Harbor. Seriously, if anyone is in the area, it might be rewarding to investigate further. Also, say "Hi" to Captain Sig Hansen of the NORTHWESTERN and some of the other guys from the crab fishing fleet, if you bump into them.

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This article first appeared May 20, 2006.
Last modified: Wednesday, 01-Aug-2012 08:38:54 EDT
Author: James W. Hebert