FV Natalia: Keeping On Keeping On
Cummins Vessel Reference #834
When Ray Wadsworth’s Kodiak Marine Construction of Squim, Washington built the FV Order of Magnitude in 1990, fuel was cheap and roe herring prices were high. Wadsworth wanted an edge on the competition and bought it by installing a 3000 HP gas turbine in his new 58 by 14.5-foot aluminum seiner. Minutes can make a difference in getting in position to set on the herring.
Wadsworth also designed his own 32-inch water jet for the boat and included an auxiliary Cummins KTA19 at 425 HP for moving at a slower speed as a displacement hull for fishing with a more economical fuel burn. In that original configuration, both engines turned the water-jet through a single transmission.
However, when fuel and fish prices dictated a rethink on the boat, Wadsworth tore out the gas turbine and the jet. He kept the Cummins KTA19 and added a Twin Disc 514 gear with 2:1 ratio and a 32 by 36-inch four-blade prop in a tunnel. The boat had done 52 knots with the gas turbine and fast is nice but burning 265 gallons per hour doesn’t leave much to take home. The boat seined profitably on the KTA19 diesel with an eight-knot speed.
By the time Bruce Schactler bought the boat in 2006 the fishery and the fuel price had settled into the new reality. The Japanese market for roe herring had tanked. The price of fuel had more than doubled. The herring were fetching about a quarter of what they had peaked at in the 1990s.
Schactler saw the potential in the aluminum boat. At the same time he realized that it had been built for speed with only an 18-ton RSW and a 50,000-pound cargo capacity. In 2007 he had Craftsmen United in Port Townsend sponson the hull to add another eight feet to the beam bringing it up to 22.5 feet with the same seven-foot molded depth. This increased the cargo capacity to 80,000 pounds in two holds, both chilled with a new 30-ton RSW system. A 70 kW genset provides for the refrigeration while a 10 kW set provides hotel services.
On deck, the well set up fishing gear includes a 24-inch Kolstrand line hauler for pursing along with Kinematic and Pullmaster winches. A beefy six-inch main boom is supplemented by two four-inch diameter picking-booms.
Schactler renamed the boat Natalia as a part of its on going transformation. The addition of the sponsons represented a dramatic step in this evolution, as did the earlier removal of the gas turbine and jet. Perhaps the most consistent piece of the boat has been the six-cylinder Cummins KTA19 main engine. While it transitioned from turning a jet drive to a prop, it has remained a reliable component of a great boat.
At the end of the 2017-fishing season the engine had clocked a remarkable 53,000 hours. Schactler decided it was time to replace the venerable diesel. He got McKay Marine of Newport Oregon to supply another Cummins KTA19, which made for an easier install in Kodiak by Schactler and his crew. Three pressure-compensated Spencer hydraulic pumps run off of a Funk drive gear on the front of the main engine. The engine is set aft in the Natalia so it turns the same four-blade prop through the same 2:1 reduction via a ten-foot long 2.5-inch shaft. The new engine, like the old, is rated at a relatively low 425 HP to provide the best match to the hull for a comfortable eight-knot cruising speed.
Schactler’s current annual round includes fishing herring in Togiak in April or May, tendering salmon in Bristol Bay in June and July, when the shallow five-foot maximum draft and large RSW system are valued, Finally he seines salmon in Kodiak in August and September. Times change and the best boat for the job can change. The FVNatalia has been able to add some beam and reduce some horsepower, but with a new main engine she will, in the years to come, chase a lot more herring and salmon for her owner.
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