It’s hard to talk about our new boat – the one that’s now in production at North River in Roseburg, OR – without talking about our old boats. Angling Unlimited started as a one boat operation in Neah Bay, Washington in 1988. The boat was a 22 foot Sea Sport called Obsession and it served me well for 5 years. When we moved operations to Sitka, we moved up to a 27 foot Sea Sport and eventually owned three of them. They were good boats but had two major drawbacks. They were very hard riding in chop and they had a full cabin forward. Given that salmon often run around the boat, the inability of the angler to move with the fish was a real disadvantage. The cabin forward design also crammed everyone – captain, deckhands, and anglers into the aft cockpit.
In the fall of 1998, Captain Chuck and I flew down from Sitka and toured boat builders all over the Northwest and Southern British Columbia looking for a boat with a comfortable cabin that our customers could ride in with a full walk-around deck so people could follow their fish and spread out from bow to stern. Our final stop was the one that counted – Almar in Tacoma. They had a boat in production that was close enough to what we had in mind that we could begin customizing our own design from there. The first of these boats – Shearwater – showed up in Sitka in 1999. It took very little time for us to realize we’d built the boat of our future and, as it turns out, the future of a number of other charter companies. It’s my guess that close to 30 of these boats were made for Southeast Alaska charter companies based on our design. Almar was eventually sold to North River in Roseburg, OR. Our boat currently under production is our 12th.
The new boat will be a foot longer – 30 feet – which provides a wee bit more fishing space aft. It’s powered by a D-6 Volvo which is true of our entire fleet save one. Most of our tweaks on the new boat are subtle, because after evolving this design for 14 years, we’re down to wee details. The ride is super smooth, the boat is stable at rest when we’re fishing, it’s quiet when running, the cabin is spacious and heated, and our anglers run laps around the boat from bow to stern with the full walk-around layout. She’ll cruise at about 24 knots. The electronics are from Simrad and include the newest CHIRP technology in the sounder and a big, 12-inch screen.
It’s going to be an awesome ride and I’m going to run it. We’re only two months away from delivery and getting the season rolling. I’m really excited.