Fishermen's News - The Advocate for the Commercial Fisherman

Mavrik Delivers Susan Renee for Bristol Bay

 

The F/V Susan Renee is a standard Mavrik PB 32 with a custom narrow reel built for owner Jeff Songstad. Photos courtesy of Mavrik Marine.

Last July, we reported on the emergence of Mavrik Marine as a significant new builder for the Bristol Bay fishery with seven new aluminum gillnetters on the water in 2015. Founded in 2011 in La Conner, Washington, the yard had delivered its first 32-footer in 2013 and three more in 2014. Under the direction of owner Zachery Battle, Mavrik has continued its impressive growth this year with another six gillnetters scheduled to roll out of the busy shop where some 85 employees have been working round-the-clock all winter on a wide variety of projects.

Battle describes their PB 32 Bristol Bay design as "classic style meets state-of-the-art performance." It's a fairly conservative design by today's standards with a moderate 14-foot beam that gives a fish-hold capacity of 17,000 lbs in the eight insulated holds, with a shallow draft of 36 inches. The hull design, inspired by long-time fisherman, Pete Bjazevich, has a full keel and reverse chine with full-flow tunnel. The flush deck reduces tripping hazards and won't snag "web." Wide side decks make it safer going forward, where the raised shear helps keep the bow dry.

The chiller/RSW system is an IMS 7.5 ton, split between the compressor and pump on the starboard side of the lazarette and condenser and chiller on the port side, which gives a very clean layout, says Battle. The reel was built by Mavrik, with a Maritime Fabrications automatic level-wind, also built in La Conner. The stern roller and anchor winch came from Kinematics in nearby Marysville.

The latest of the 32-footers to hit the water is the F/V Susan Renee – number fifteen in the series – for skipper Jeff Songstad, whose previous boat was a 1993 Kvichak.

Jeff lives in Everett, Washington and began fishing on a hand troller in Neah Bay when he was in high school. He began fishing Bristol Bay in 1980 and went into partnership with his fellow crewman Jim Reed in 1987 with a wooden boat named the Stanvik, coincidentally built in Everett by a man named Byyant 1961. After two seasons the partners picked up an aluminum boat by Shore and re-named it the Jimmy Jeff. That was followed ten years later by the Jimmy Jeff II – the Kvichak design that Songstad fished for the next 20 years, becoming sole owner when Reed died. He has fished for Trident his entire career.

"The Kvichak was a real top-of-the-line boat," he told me, "and the 460-HP Lugger was a great engine that I would buy again if I could." (Alaska Diesel Electric stopped production of the Lugger and now specializes in Northern Lights gensets.) "None of the new boats on the bay ever appealed to me, until I saw the first Mavrik Ava Jane in 2014. That changed everything for me: it was the perfect design in my opinion – bigger, faster, stronger."

Mavrik installed the first Tier 3 MAN diesel in the US in 2014 in the first of the PB 32 design, the F/V Ava Jane, built for Steve Kurian. The new owner found the engine lived up to all the maker's claims, especially quiet and smooth operation across the entire speed range. Mavrik couples it to a 30-inch by 34-inch five-bladed stainless steel propeller via ZF 360 2.192:1 reduction gears. This is a standard feature that sets these boats apart and gives them "state-of-the-art performance."

By 2015, there were eleven Mavrik boats fishing the bay and everyone was watching them. Songtstad took a careful look at their construction and could see it met his criteria, so he decided that would be his next boat. He also ran a car lot in Everett for 28 years: "I've seen a lot of engines in my time and this MAN runs and performs 100 percent the way they said it would. It's a dream come true for me," he said with a smile.

The 12.8-liter Tier 3 MAN R6-730 diesel, that produces 537 kW (730 HP) at 2,300 RPM, with a rating of commercial/light duty, yet weighs only 2,877 lbs. This inline six-cylinder does not need exhaust recirculation or exhaust after treatment to meet EPA standards and is a development of a German truck engine used all over the world. (MAN Diesel & Turbo SE is a world-famous name in large-bore marine diesel engines up to 100,000 hp.)

With fifteen of these engines in service, supplied by RDI Marine of Seattle, MAN has certainly increased its visibility in Bristol Bay, and RDI has been building a reputation for service and reliability with a factory-trained mechanic based in Naknek throughout the season. At its base, RDI provides a complete service center where it test-runs every new engine, adds any special parts a customer requests, and paints all engines with a finish coat in a choice of colors

Mavrik builds the hull with 1/4-inch aluminum plate on the bottom, 3/8-inch tunnel and 3/16-inch on the sides and features a full reverse chine. There is a heavy 1.5-inch by 8-inch metal shoe protecting the stern gear. The engine room is about 6 feet wide with enough headroom to inspect the engine, filters etc. that are all set up for easy maintenance. The three-station steering is run off a full-power Orbitrol hydraulic system. The fuel capacity is 390 gallons, freshwater 50 gallons. Working displacement is 22,500 lbs. The forepeak has four big bunks and there is a nice arrangement in the galley according to the builder, with a "wet head" shower, diesel stove and a single electric heater by Heater Craft. All Jeff's electronics are by Garmin.

Sea Trial

A small but significant change to the standard fit-out is a five-blade propeller, which was recommended by a marine engineer and has given the boat a slightly different power curve. On sea trials with full tanks, net reel, all deck equipment and 7 men on board, the Susan Renee was making 25 knots at 80 percent load and burning 37 gph, according to the computer readout that is part of the standard MAN package. At 17 knots and 1,700 rpm, the fuel burn was down to 18 gph, putting that in the "economic cruising" range.

But there was one important feature Songstad brought from the Kvichak to his new boat: the tall narrow net reel that allowed him to set and pick faster than most other skippers. So Mavrik fitted the Susan Renee (named after Songstad's wife) with a custom reel 21 inches wide and 74 inches high, which happened to match the top of the wheelhouse nicely! This year, Mavrik's quota of six gillnetters also includes two with different drive systems.

A diesel stove and refrigerator share space in the cabin with the helm, which boasts a full Garmin electronics package.

One is a 15-foot wide version of a standard design based around the successful PB 32 and the 730-HP MAN but with a 24-inch high-thrust Traktor Jet. The second design is a one-off with 17 feet of beam that was nearing completion. "It's the first of its kind: powered by a 1,000-HP Caterpillar and a 521 Hamilton Jet. The client wants the big number (capacity) on step but with a single jet, and this is the only way we could do it," Zach explained.

It may sound like Mavrik builds nothing but gillnetters, but actually this is only a part of the company's total output. They have also built some seine skiffs, a Puget sound crabber, a tender, and have a 70-foot catamaran ferry for Hawaii under construction, plus repairs and conversions on other fishing vessels and commercial craft. And there are already orders for more gillnetters for 2017.

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