Originally Posted by Scary
The old Detroit's for all their faults were engines designed to run hard and be put away wet..
My all-time favorite boat design, the so-called aku boats in Hawaii (aku is albacore tuna)-- were all built locally in the late 1940s and were powered by a single 6-71. Long, slim boats, they cut through the huge swells and wind waves like destroyers. These are the boats on which the fisherman stood side-by-side and barefoot on a plank across the transom and, using bamboo poles with a hefty line and a huge chrome hook tied to the end, pulled tuna out of the feeding frenzy off the stern and levered them through the air into the fish hold behind them.
I called them aku boats, but the other local name for them was "sampan," which I believe is the Japanese word for smooth plank hull construction as opposed to lapstrake. They were day boats--- no refrigeration--- so they went out in the morning and came back to the tuna canneries in the evening. All year long, every day except religious holidays.
And those engines just kept going and going and going. I was out fishing the same waters in the 1970s and those 1940s boats were still going strong. Of course their engines needed maintenance and repair, but to me the 6-71 became synonymous with the aku boats that probably would have fished forever if technology hadn't sent them to the boneyard in the 1980s.
I have only three photos of them, and I didn't even take them. This is one of my big regrets: I saw these boats almost every day from the mid-50s until I left Hawaii in 1979. I went out on them, I filmed on them, but I never took a single photo of them for myself. I guess I figured they'd be there forever and I'd go down and take pictures "someday."