CAP AUGUET: The largest modern fishing boat ever manufactured on Isle Madame has hit the water.
Earlier this month, father and son duo Adolphe and Shawn Boudreau completed construction on the fishing vessel All Segments, which was purchased by the Everett family of Digby.
The hulking 50-foot by 30-foot boat weighs in at 90 gross tonnes (45-50 tonnes).
“It’s a stacked wheelhouse design,” Shawn explained. “The accommodations are bigger in that style. The bunks and the kitchen are a lot bigger.”
The Boudreaus started with a Grizzly fibre glass hull from Wedgeport Boats, which was floated from Yarmouth, to the Petit de Grat wharf, then to the Isle Madame Boat Club in Robin’s, from where it was placed in Shawn’s backyard.
Once there, the Boudreaus spent a week setting up a 50-foot by 100-foot tent in which to construct the All Segments.
“It looked like a big circus tent,” Adolphe said laughing.
In August of 2016, the Boudreaus started reinforcing the hull by doing “the stiffening and bulkheads,” according to Shawn. As Adolphe explained, construction had to strictly follow designs approved by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Helped by two friends of the family, construction on the living quarters, deck and wheelhouse was interrupted for two months last spring while Shawn went lobster fishing.
With the major construction phase complete, moving the boat from Shawn’s home to the wharf in Cap Auguet, just minutes down the road, took more than two hours on September 19.
Crews with Nova Scotia Power Inc. removed low-hanging guide wires and raised the main service line across the road so the boat could pass beneath.
“They raised it up from their truck, they didn’t have to disconnect because they were so close, they just raised it so we didn’t touch,” Adolphe recalled.
BellAliant was also on site while the lines were moved.
Peter Covin Contracting Ltd. of West Arichat laid the groundwork for the move, levelling the driveway to the centre of the road to avoid a large dip when departing Shawn’s property. They also reinforced the road used to lower the boat into the water.
Lending support to the move was the Isle Madame Volunteer Fire Department which helped with traffic control and Emergency Health Services was also on hand.
As the boat eventually wound its way to the wharf, dozens watched as it was gradually taken to the water, to wait for high tide that evening to launch.
The other member of the Boudreau family to play a role in the move was Kenny, who drove the truck towing the All Segments, using a trailer which Shawn modified himself to accommodate vessels with a wide berth.
“He’s handy at anything he puts his hands on,” Adolphe remarked of Kenny who has been driving heavy equipment and large trucks since he was 19.
Once in the water, the All Segments was towed to the Petit de Grat wharf that evening.
While in Petit de Grat, the boat required weeks of work, including wiring and more carpentry.
“The guys from Volvo had to come down to start the engine because of the warrantee,” Adolphe explained of the boat’s Volvo D13 engine.
The Canadian Coast Guard then had to perform rigorous stability tests using weights and measurements.
“This was the first time I’ve seen it done,” Adolphe said. “One guy is boat side and one guy is in a skiff… when they put the weights on in the boat, he’s measuring with a scale ruler, so it’s pretty detailed,” Adolphe noted.
Shawn noted the tests are tools to demonstrate “how much the boat can take.”
“At the end of the day, it’s to provide you with documents as to how much traps or fish you can put aboard safely,” Shawn explained. “And it’s the same as winter, for icing conditions, you get a fairly thorough book and there are all kinds of break-downs for gear, crew, how much you can put in the fish hole, how much ice it can take before it gets unstable.”
This will be useful information for the new owners who will be lobster fishing until May, Shawn said.
On the evening of October 10, the boat departed Petit de Grat and arrived in Digby by 6 p.m. on October 12.
“It’s sad to see her go in a way,” Shawn acknowledged. “The shed’s empty.”
Although it was time-consuming and hectic, Shawn added he received another fibre glass hull this week and he and his crew will soon start constructing his second boat, which will be a twin to the All Segments with the same dimensions and weight.