Thai trawler questions
With that high fore-end it looks like there would be plenty of room for a pretty spacious cabin in the forward half of the boat without having to build up from the deck. With regards to access, a design feature I've liked in some of the older fishing boats in the PNW, like halibut schooners and the like, is a companionway down to the forward hold (or maybe cabins) with the on-deck part being a sort of vertical box but with the front side curved toward the pilothouse. I assume the curve was to reduce the shock of any water coming aboard. I don't know if this sort of thing would be practical or aesthetic on your boat, but it's one idea. There is a converted halibut schooner in the yard in our marina, and I'll take a photo of this companionway entrance in case you are interested and are not familiar with this kind of deck structure. It's pretty common so I'm guessing you know what I'm talking about.
The Hawaiian tuna boats were all built locally in the 1940s. Most of them were powered with a single GM 6-71. The boats were quite narrow for their length and they cut through the big swells in the islands like a destroyer. They were beautiful to watch underway. I'm assuming the hard chine and hull bulge below the bulwarks was to reduce rolling as these boats fished in some pretty rough waters like the Molokai Channel.
They were day boats, going into Peal Harbor to net live baitfish (the number on the side of the pilothouse*was their Pearl Harbor access permit number). Then they went out in search of schools of feeding aku (albacore). When they found one they would run the boat directly into it and a couple of people in the live bait well would start shoveling baitfish over the side. The fish would see the feeding tuna and run under the boat for protection. Since the boat was slowly moving forward, the baifish all ended up by the stern. Four to six fishermen would stand barefoot on a 2" x 12" board fastened across the stern just above the waterline. They used short bamboo poles with a short length of wire line and a big chromed unbarbed hook. They'd flip this hook into the feeding frenzy of tuna at the stern, get a bite, and lever the fish through the air into the fish well immediatly behind them. A couple of guys in the fish well would unhook the fish, give a yell, and the fisherman would lever the hook back into the feeding frenzy. They did this with the boat pitching and rolling in six to twelve foot swells plus wind waves on top. No railings, no safety harnesses. At the end of the day the boats would run back to Kewalo Basin between Honolulu and Waikiki where the tuna canneries were and offload their catch. Then they'd do it all again the next day.
They were also called "sampans" which I was told is the Japanese word for plank-on-edge or carvel construction. The crews were almost exclusively Japanese-Americans, usually second generation.* Every boat had a small shrine (Budhist or Shinto, I don't know which) on the rear bulkhead of the elevated pilothouse.* Here's another shot of the boat pictured earlier.
-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 7th of May 2009 11:14:26 AM