When we heard about an opportunity to own a real Maine lobsterboat, Miles and I got a little too excited. It was a dream that we didn’t know we had, one that we would fulfill using money that we probably should have spent on just about anything else. We were compelled by her story, though, and by the thought of keeping her in Harpswell as a working vessel. And once we met her, it was all over.
This was our first view of the West Wind:
Looking back, we can now see what rough shape she was in after 30 years of work in Casco Bay. But on the day we first saw her, all we saw was a shiny red boat. Seriously.
The owner of the West Wind had fished her for about 30 years before commissioning a new lobster boat. Once the new boat was in the water, the West Wind was hauled out and placed on jackstands in his yard. And there she sat, for several years.
When Miles and I purchased her in June of 2011, we knew that she needed some work done. However, we decided to put her in the water for the summer season and enjoy cruising around the bay before doing anything major. Oh!, the naivete of first time boat owners.
The former owner rolled her down to the shore on two axles and left her for a high tide. We visited before the tide.
Once the West Wind was in the water we put her on a mooring in Water Cove. There she sat while we made plans to fix her up. For now, her engine needed a few tweaks, but we had big plans for renovations once she was out of the water in the fall. Beyond pumps and starters and filters, she needed her house sawed off and raised. But we thought she looked pretty sweet cutting through the water.
And immediately cut off her house.
We kept the pieces so we could copy the shape of the house exactly. We really loved the way she looked, it was just that only a very short person could keep from hitting his or her head when driving the boat.
Once we cut the roof off, we stopped work for the winter and wrapped the boat to protect her from the weather.
Little did we know, work was still being done in the shop. Captain Jay was busy making us a Christmas present: Little Red.