In the spring of 1999 “Shearwater” arrived at our dock. It was a custom walkaround cabin Almar that we designed, and she pretty much revolutionized the Sitka charter fleet. Within a few years there were at least a dozen Almar walkaround cabin models in the local fleet along with another dozen or more similar designs from other builders. Almar was bought by North River about 12 years ago and continues to build boats for us.
With each new boat over the years, our design has evolved with more efficient layouts, more fishing room, better propulsion systems, and countless tweaks to make these a nearly perfect Sitka charter boat.
In 2019, a new iteration of the design hits the AU dock in the form of a North River 30 with, for the first time in our history, outboard power, an even roomier deck layout for fishing, and the latest electronics.
The most noticeable change in the 2019 North River is outboard power. Captain Chuck, our resident mechanical guru who seems to be able to fix everything but the common cold, explains why:
“The Volvo diesels have been good to us over the years. They are fuel efficient and the engines hold up fairly well. My concern remains with what’s behind the engines – in cars you’d call it the drive train. A sensitive intermediate bearing that goes bad too easily and requires an engine pull to replace is a problem. The expensive outdrives only hold up for three seasons and the props are too easily compromised, mainly through spinning the hub, thus causing the boat to vibrate. Our expectation is the outboards will present fewer problems and require less maintenance. Yes, the daily fuel cost of running outboards will be significantly higher, but the cost of replacing intermediate bearings and outdrives pretty much offsets the fuel savings on the Volvo diesel and give us unnecessary headaches.”