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Scallop Trawler WILLIAM C BAKER, 1962

November 26, 2013 in Ships

A type of boat found in every New England fishing port, the WILLIAM C BAKER was typical of wooden commercial draggers of the era. Referred to as an “Eastern Rig” (East coast design) or “Side Trawler”, this class of vessel plied the ocean waters for over 70 years harvesting both fish and clams. No two trawlers were the same, each built specifically for it’s owner. Ranging in length from 40-100 feet and crewed with up to 10 men, the fishing boats were a successful design and served their crews well. Designed to handle the storm tossed Atlantic waters, the boats were powered by a single engine, either gasoline or diesel. A round trip to the fishing grounds could last up to a few weeks and an empty fish hold meant no paycheck for the fishermen upon return to port. Besides the danger from ocean storms, the draggers would occasionaly pull up a mine or torpedo in it’s nets, resulting in a catastrophic event on the open sea. Such was the case in 1962 when the scallop boat “Snoopy” dredged up a WWII torpedo off the coast of Virginia. Rather than cut the net the captain opted to try to release it. Survivors said the boat took a roll and the torpedo struck the side of the vessel and exploded. Incredibly three of the crew survived but the Snoopy was vaporized in an instant.
The years and the salt water envoirment took their toll on these little vessels, and the costs of repairs and maintainence forced owners to build newer steel boats with better equipment and longer range. There are a few “eastern rigs” around, mostly museum pieces but for decades it was the means of bringing fresh seafood to market.

My 1:48 scratch built model is based on a scallop boat (also known as scallop dredge) using a general design, not a specific boat. The hull is plank on frame construction using a variety of wood I had in the old scrap box. The cabin back aft is all plastic sheet and the masts were built from brass tube. I used a few commercial parts like the small boats(dorys) and air funnels. The winch is scratch built from plastic and the gallows were scratch built from brass as were the scallop rakes. The pilot house interior has detail but unfortunately I managed to delete all the building photos of this model, I can’t believe I did that! The boat will be part of a diorama depicting a boat aground with a coast guard crew rescuing the fishermen, a project for this coming winter..

8 additional images. Click to enlarge

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12 responses to Scallop Trawler WILLIAM C BAKER, 1962

  1. Excellent rendition, sir… have a talent.

  2. You are one heck of a ship builder. The backround supplied made it even more interesting.
    How much time do you have invested in this one?

    • Hi Al
      Thanks for the kind words. The model took about six months to construct, I was working on 3 other models at the same time. I find that scratchbuilding is a “stumble along” process, trying to find the parts you know you can’t fabricate so you dig into the old junk parts box. This can slow up the build so you work on a plastic kit.

  3. Great build Mike, I have seen a lot of this type of fishing boat where I live.
    One criticism is that the deck looked to clean, just an observation Mike, your skills are fantastic , and it will be great to see its diorama.

  4. It’s really beautiful, Mike, just a stunning display of talent and creativity. I would however agree with Simon. I doubt fishermen holystone their decks every day! 🙂

  5. Nice to see a model shipwright at work again. I know what you mean about a scratch kit – I’m building (at intervals) the Royal Caroline. After neat sprues and aftermarket sets, it’s always a bit of a shock to come back to basic lengths of timber and brass that have to be made up to plan design.

  6. Mike,
    Another of your absolutely stunning models.

  7. I love scallops, Mike, and I love this model. It’s interesting how an ‘ordinary’ prototype can make such an attractive model, especially when it’s built by such a master.

  8. Yep Mike, it’s a Beauty! Any way you could post more “in progress” photos? I’d be really interested to see how you plan and execute your scratch build projects.

  9. now thats model building…from scrap!

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