Monday, January 8, 2018

Flying Eagle, Maine Lobster Boat, New Home on Orcas Island

On May 1, 2015, Flying Eagle arrived in Anacortes  after being trucked on a flat bed from the East Coast.  Rick and Diane Strollo purchased F.E. in Rockport, Maine,  in 2014 where she'd been owned and partially restored by Artisan Boatworks in Rockport, Maine.

After a season in service, it was evident that F.E.'s hull needed more attention. Artisan Boatworks had replaced the forefoot and some planking forward  but along the keel and at the turn of the bilge aft, water was leaking in at an unsafe rate.  Emerald Marine Carpentry would continue the restoration. The boat's original oak ribs where past their usefulness; many where broken at the turn and split at the heels. The boat had been re-framed with sisters once before but the stainless deck screws that had been used as fastenings had corroded away, leaving the planks adrift.  The oak floor timbers that tie the hull to the keel were rotten and cut away in places. Fortunately, the keel itself was in good condition.

Flying Eagle, a Maine Lobster Boat, was built for Floyd Pinkham of Gouldsboro, MA.  Her keel was laid by the Beal brothers in 1962 and she was launched on Beals Island in 1963. She earned her keep lobstering until the mid 1990s.  After many years of service, several owners and various name changes, Flying Eagle was returned to her original moniker after being purchased by the Strollos.

Rick has a fondness for the type and appreciated the rarity of finding a working boat in condition that could be saved and enjoyed. They have an efficient, seaworthy hull form, a good turn of speed, rich history and great looks!  His aim is to preserve this vessel as authentically as possible and pay homage to the past and share some of this treasured history with others.

Being in very nearly original condition and with a new V-8, allowed Rick to fit her out in a traditional manner while using her as a day boat from Orcas island, Wa.  Those of us who are fortunate enough to have the San Juans as our regular cruising grounds may glimpse this picturesque boat enjoying the many pleasures of the archipelago.

Here are pictures of the repairs and results:

Andy Stewart caulks some cotton in the seams after FE's arrival on the west coast in anticipation of her return to Emerald Marine carpentry where further work will be completed.  Notice the bronze prop cage: Original equipment to prevent lobster lines from becoming entangled, saving equipment and lives.  Picture from Rick Strollo


One year later, set up in the shop, with  temporary shoring to keep the shape at the turn of the bilge


In the cockpit, as found, with the cabin sole and ceiling removed. Original frames are marked for replacement.

Planks removed for access and proper fits later. Shores to keep the shape. The hull was detached from the keel in this area as the frames and floor timbers where removed.

Clearing away old framing, temporary wood in place of the floors. This is Shawn Huston, who did the most work during this refit.

Old holes in planking filled with woodnails and epoxy 

Almost ready for new frames



Three new ones, bent, clamped and clench nailed.

Heron as guest shipwright, clamping from the outside



Repairing some areas of rotten planking. Also repairing under the fiberglass lobster pot guard.


New frames and floors plus new "cheeks" on the keel sides to receive the frame heels.

Using visquene tube as a steam box to twist in a new garboard plank forward.
(Thanks to Tips from a Shipwright)
The original white cedar board had a rent through at a knot that was leaking.
We used yellow cedar as planking in our repairs. Beautiful stuff!



Allen cutting in the trim, Seth plumbing a new fuel tank under the side deck.

Rick has all the details right.
Notice the lobster traps on the stern. Photo: Rick Strollo
Flying Eagle graced Victoria Harbor and won honors in the Classic Boat Festival for Best Restored Power Vessel in 2017
photo: Rick Strollo
Nested pram.  Photo: Rick Strollo

While in attendance at the Victoria Classic Wooden Boat Festival It was remarked how much F.E. looks like a Nova Scotia boat, which makes sense, given its proximity to Bealle Island.
Maybe the Beal Brothers would be proud. We are honored to be able to preserve their history.




There is a great article written by Rick Strollo himself in NW Yachting magazine February 2016 edition pages 98 and 99 on the archived PDF.  Further details for those interested.

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