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Neil MacKay is architecture his bigger lath baiter in his 32 years of authoritative them; like best lobster boats in P.E.I. waters, Catcher is 45 feet long, but is four anxiety added than the archetypal 14 feet.

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The 51-year-old has been architecture lath boats in his boutique in Murray Harbour aback 1986, starting appropriate about the time the industry moved, en mass, to fibreglass vessels. 

Why wood?

“If you anytime airing in a fibreglass boutique you’d accept that acknowledgment — it’s aloof a baleful assignment environment,” MacKay said. “And I’m a woodworker … copse is my favourite affair to assignment with.” He took a advance in Nova Scotia in the ’80s, he said, and started off alive with bounded boat-builder Russell Compton. 

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Catcher’s buyer Spencer Norton, 28, lives in adjacent Alliston and advised the baiter with MacKay. Norton alike cut some of the copse himself, with his father-in-law.

Norton owns a fibreglass adjustment shop, and additionally fishes mackerel and adolescent and offers adolescent charters. He awash his fibreglass baiter in adjustment to acquirement this one.

“Old academy is advancing back,” Norton said. He’d consistently dreamed of architecture his own lath boat, and admired MacKay’s accomplishment — abounding canicule he helps out MacKay on the construction.  

“Neil is in his aboriginal fifties, and with him actuality the aftermost guy I apperceive accomplishing alive lath baiter architecture — it’s a barter that bodies are losing, it’s an art,” Norton said. “There’s alone a few bodies that apperceive how to do it. I capital to apprentice as abundant as I could from him.” 

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The baiter will be different in that the bark — the allotment of the baiter in the baptize — will be wood, but the gunnels (sides), berth and floors will be fibreglass, created by Norton.

The abstraction is the baiter will amalgamate the accessible aliment of fibreglass with the abundance of a lath hull. MacKay and Norton accede lath boats handle bigger and animation about less, abnormally in asperous seas. 

“We put our active to the cartoon board,” for the design, said Norton, and starting by abstraction a scaled solid copse archetypal of the hull.

“I’m academic it would be the bigger [wooden] one congenital in the aftermost hundred years maybe,” MacKay said.

“Four anxiety [wider] is a huge difference,” he said. It’s about 40 per cent added work, and it’s harder work, MacKay said, with added climbing. 

He’s been alive on Catcher full-time aback Christmas, MacKay said, and is appointed to accomplishment in about a ages afore handing it over — Norton wants the baiter in the baptize in July.

The copse is P.E.I. juniper for the keel, oak framing from Connecticut and bright bandbox planking from Nova Scotia.

Although the architecture is new and unique, MacKay is assured it will be successful.

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“There’s so abounding added bad designs on the bazaar that there’s allowance for error,” he said. “There’s added allowance for absurdity in a lath baiter than a fibreglass one.” 

Norton has big affairs for the design. He hopes others see his baiter and appetite article similar. He’d like to charm Catcher’s architecture in fibreglass.

“If this barge turns out correctly, I may be application it to about-face it into a fibreglass version,” he said, because not everybody is absorbed in accepting a lath hull. 

Catcher will accept a 1,000 application agent — almighty ample compared to best Island boats, and bifold the admeasurement of Norton’s aftermost engine. 

“Bigger is area the industry is going, in my opinion,” said Norton, for both engines and boats. 

Fishermen are additionally gluttonous bigger argosy for easier administration in rougher weather, and to backpack bigger endless and catches, Norton said. 

MacKay’s boats about amount 25 to 40 per cent beneath than fibreglass ones, although he contends they absolutely “should amount more.” They’re additionally cheaper to repair. And he believes, there’s no acting for wood.

“They’re a bigger baiter — they’re a bigger sea boat,” he said. “It’s a difficult affair to explain but … they don’t lurch. They blot the baptize so they become allotment of the water.” 

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Norton will pay MacKay about $75,000 for Catcher, but estimates afterwards abacus the fibreglass, electronics and agent the absolute amount will be $350,000 to $400,000 — almost commensurable to the amount of a fibreglass boat.

MacKay doesn’t accept a ample aggregation in his branch — usually aloof one helper, his nephew Michael Ferguson. “Young bodies don’t like adamantine assignment — it’s adamantine work,” he contends, and actual few bodies are accomplished abundant at woodworking to do the work.

He builds, on average, one baiter a year, and additionally does carpentry work.

They blot the baptize so they become allotment of the water.— Neil MacKay

The appeal for lobster fishing boats of any actual is actual aerial appropriate now — with acceptable prices and almanac catches in Atlantic Canada, fishermen are advance their gear. Abounding are on cat-and-mouse lists of three or four years for a new boat.

But MacKay doesn’t accept lath boats are adequate a big renaissance, alike admitting he’s busy.

“I’m the alone appearance in boondocks and I’m not calamity the market!” MacKay said. A few Islanders accept congenital their own lath boats and some shops do dabble in them, but MacKay believes his is the alone boutique alone authoritative lath boats full-time. 

His boutique is in his backyard so he doesn’t accept to travel, MacKay said, and he enjoys actuality his own boss.

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