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

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


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