Home Back Issues July/August 2013 Shipbuilder Fred Wahl stays afloat

Shipbuilder Fred Wahl stays afloat

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2013
Monday, July 08, 2013
Article Index
Shipbuilder Fred Wahl stays afloat
Page 2
0713 FOB FredWahl 02
A view of the Trailblazer from the company warehouse
// Photo by Adam Wickham

The industry began to revive around 2005, says Hal Hockema, a naval architect for Seattle-based Hockema & Whalen Associates. The favorable exchange rate for U.S.-caught fish and the premium on wild salmon made commercial fishing a lucrative occupation once again, as did the strategic fisheries management via federal- and state-set quotas.

“Wahl stayed with it while others dropped out, and now that the market is coming back, he’s in a good position to meet it,” Hockema says. “He’s kind of a last man standing.” Staffed by about 75 employees, Fred Wahl’s shipyard can construct a boat in six to seven months and, unlike most others, fabricates all its own tools from scratch, welding together everything from cranes to anchor winches to shaft couplings.

Wahl’s specialty boat to date is the Arctic Fox, a 58-foot design he developed in 2007 and has replicated a dozen times. The seiner fits the regulatory length limits of Alaskan fisheries but compensates by being as wide and deep as possible.

Commercial fisherman Matt Giambrone, whose 58-foot Magnus Martens is one of the three new boats headed for Alaska this season, says the design squeezes maximum performance out of the length limit. The boat can hold a lot of gear and 200,000 pounds of fish at once, which reduces the number of port trips needed to unload.

“It used to be, to pack that much fish, you’d be looking at a boat that was 80 feet long,” Giambrone says.

To meet a need he predicts will arise in coming years, Wahl recently designed and built a 114-foot stainless steel crabbing vessel called the Victory. His largest boat yet — and hopefully (depending on demand) a prototype for many more to come — the Victory will take on the Bering Sea this summer.

While Wahl’s shipyard is currently busier than ever, Wahl’s son Mike, who started as a purchasing agent when he was 20 and now oversees the yard day-to-day, says he cannot predict what the future will bring. He does know one thing for sure, though: “The good old days are right now,” he says. “We’re rolling through them.”



 

Comments   

 
Guest
+1 #1 Anchor wenchGuest 2013-07-10 19:56:24
Nice article, but an anchor wench would be quite different from an anchor winch.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Web Editor Emma Hall
0 #2 Anchor 'wench'Web Editor Emma Hall 2013-07-10 20:01:10
Ha! You're right. Thanks for the catch, fixed now.
P.S. Arr, matey!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #3 RE: Shipbuilder Fred Wahl stays afloatGuest 2013-07-10 21:50:14
"Anchor Wench" (hysterical)
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #4 BuckysMarineGuest 2013-07-25 10:04:55
Ha 'Anchor Wench' , bit of a slip up there eh! ;)
From a fellow boat building enthusiast.
http://www.buckys.co.uk
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS