Wood Hull, Fiberglass Top

The perfect solution

by Mike Crowe

The Richard Stanley-designed 38' oak and cedar hull with a first ever fiberglass top on launch day in Bass Harbor, Maine, August 12, 2017. The boat features precision custom details from the keel and timbers to the custom hardware, to the cedar planking to the flawless hand brushed paint. The heavily constructed boat will work in the lobster and tuna fisheries. Laurie Schreiber photo

TREMONT – Wood hull with a fiberglass top?

It’s a completely new concept that seems obvious once you think about it. But it took the creative mind of long-time boatbuilder Richard Stanley to put it all together.

Stanley launched his “solution boat,” named National Pride, on a sunny afternoon in mid-August, to the cheers of a sizeable crowd. The beautifully shaped hull slid in the water for a jaunt through Bass Harbor.

Stanley said he’d had the idea for the hybrid boat for a long time. The wooden hull/fiberglass top concept offers the best of both worlds, he said. For one thing, a wood hull provides a far more comfortable ride than fiberglass. On the other hand, a fiberglass top is easier to maintain than wood.

His design for the 38-foot fishing boat provides a stable working platform and rides well with less rocking motion than glass hulls, he said. The fiberglass top lasts longer in the sun, rain, freezing and snow that opens a wood top to leaks that can cause rot in the wood hull beneath it.

Left to right, Jonathan Minott (boat carpenter), Richard Stanley, Doug Mayo (owner), Chris Peterson (boat carpenter), David Sordyl (boat carpenter), Chris Rose (electrician from Kramp Electronics). Not pictured, Keith Peterson (boat carpenter), Lorraine Stanley. Laurie Schreiber photo

Stanley designed the closed cell foam cored top and had it custom made. The top, which includes the forward deck, wheelhouse sides, top and wash rails, is fiberglassed to the sheer plank and covers the wash rails. The bulkhead and dash is half-inch solid fiberglass. The sidewall to the platform is quarter-inch solid fiberglass. Stanley added a fiberglass guard over the planks at the top of the wheel to keep the cotton from being drawn out from between the planks by the force of the water thrown by the blades.

Stanley said he’s pleased with the looks and performance of this debut.

“The boat is beautiful, it worked out great and sits on its lines well,” he said. “It’s a bit low aft but will level out.”

The keel and frames are built of Maine oak and the planks are 1 ¼-inch Maine white cedar. The working platform is 1 ½-inch vertical grain Douglas fir. All are fastened with silicon bronze screws. Down forward the ceilings and bulkhead are varnished white pine.

National Pride runs a 550-horsepower John Deere diesel from Downeast Diesel. The bronze prop is 28 X 28, 4 blade from H&H on an RE Thomas 2 ½-inch stainless shaft. The stainless rudder and trap sheathing were custom built by Nautilus Marine Hardware. Nautilus also built the stainless steel corners for where the transom and the planks meet to prevent lines from wearing between the planks. The stainless steel prop cage was built by DC Welding and Fabrication. The 2- 200 gallon stainless fuel tanks were from White Tail Welding.

National Pride will be fishing out of Portland and Bass Harbor. The “solution boat” spent a lot of time on the drawing board and Stanley said he is now looking forward to building another.

For more information, visit richardstanleycustomboats.com.