Design Variations of P. E. I. Wooden Trawlers

Ian Earl Gorman

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There were four basic designs:

As of December 2001, Eldredge-McInnis design 397 was held by the Mystic Seaport Museum, who can supply prints. I do not know if the museum also holds designs 403 and 454.

Twenty-four of the 25 trawlers were built by Wagstaff and Hatfield, under the supervision of (and inspection by) the marine architect (Walter McInnis from Eldredge-McInnis Inc). The Fisherman's Loan Board expected that supervision and inspection of construction by the designer would improve the operation of the trawlers and make them more profitable to operate.

The first wooden deep-sea trawler (Souris II) was built at Caraquet in 1950. It is similar to Eldredge-McInnis Hull 397, but with smaller beam and depth, and it was built before Hull 397 was designed. My father believed that the yard had modified an Eldredge-McInnis design by simply adding 3 feet to the length of a 57-foot (LOA) hull. If true, this would explain why the Souris II had a smaller beam and depth than the other 60 foot trawlers. I have also been told that the Caraquet shipyard built some trawlers to a design from Eldredge-McInnis, which they obtained through the New Brunswick government. However, I do not know if any of these were the Souris II, nor did Eldredge-McInnis have a record that the Souris II was built to one of their designs.

The remaining 24 trawlers were built by Wagstaff and Hatfield. Walter Jones (the premier of P.E.I.) supported the Fisherman's Loan Board in awarding the first contracts to Wagstaff and Hatfield against political pressure, because the competing yards would not agree to supervision and inspection by the marine architect.

The last wooden deep-sea trawler (Fan and Jo Anne) was launched in 1961.

Trawlers Grouped By Design

60 Feet LOA
Designer: May have been Eldredge-McInnis Inc., Hingham Mass.
Builder:  Poulin & Friolet Construction Co. Ltd, Lower Caraquet, N. B.

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last Registered

193275  1950  Souris II                 1973 (sunk)

60 Feet LOA
Designer: Eldredge-McInnis Inc., Hingham Mass. (Hull 397, side trawler)
Builder:  Wagstaff and Hatfield, Port Greville, N. S.   

Boats built as designed:
     Gross register tonnage 46 (Irene R.) 47 (Paula Marie) and 48 (see below)

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last Registered

195825  1953  Irene R                   1970 (beached)
194136  1951  Marjorie and Marybelle    1973 (sunk)    
194137  1951  Murray Harbour No. 1      2000 still registered: same name
194135  1951  Paula Marie               1975 (unfit for further use)

Boats built with pilothouse extended aft:
     Gross register tonnage 50 (see below)

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last Registered

197642  1954  Cape Bear                 1965 (sunk)
197643  1954  Donald and Eugene II      1965 (burned)
198692  1955  Donna Lynn                1968 (sunk)
195822  1953  Gloria May                1962 (beached)
197424  1953  Harry G.                  1959 (burned)
              rebuilt 1964 Mark N. Dean 2008-03-10 (suspended)
198691  1955  Morningstar No. 3         1975 (beached)
195823  1953  Virginia Ann              1976 (sunk)

Boats built modified pilothouse and modified forecastle:
     Gross register tonnage 53 (see below)

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last Registered

311983  1959  North Bay                 1968 (burned)
311972  1959  Sailor's Hope             1962 (burned)


Eldredge-McInnis prepared Design 397 for the P.E.I. Fisherman's Loan Board
early in 1951.  The P.E.I. Department of Fisheries was still using a set of
drawings for these boats in 1974-75.

Wagstaff and Hatfield records show that Cape Bear, Donald and Eugene II,
Irene R, Marjorie and Marybelle, and Morningstar No. 3 were all Eldredge-
McInnis design 397.

The same design was used for all 60 ft.  draggers, although there were
variations in the pilot house and forecastle from one vessel to another.

        Dragger measurements       Design 397
Length  56.1 ft. to 56.4 ft.       57' 5"
Beam    16.1 ft. to 16.3 ft.       15' 0"  (16' 2" to outside of plank)
Depth    7.6 ft. to  7.8 ft.        6' 8.5"
Tonnage   46, 47, 48, 50, 53       52

Variations in pilothouse:

     Irene R. (Gross tonnage 46) was built with pilothouse as shown on design
     397.  One other boat, probably Marjorie and Marybelle but possibly
     Murray Harbour No.1, was built with the same pilothouse.  Since both
     boats have the same gross tonnage (46), they probably had similar

     All other boats except North Bay and Sailor's Hope (both gross tonnage
     53) have the same gross tonnage (50), and probably had similar
     pilothouses.  Cape Bear, Donald and Eugene II, and Harry G. had the
     extended pilothouse.  The interior dimensions of the rear part of the
     pilot house were 6.5' high by 6.5' wide, so extension to the rear would
     add .42 register tons per foot of length.  An extension of 4.75' would be
     sufficient to account for 2 register tons, and there was room for an
     extension of that length.

     North Bay and Sailor's Hope had a completely different pilot house, no
     rear-facing windows, with a single roof, and also had a raised
     forecastle.  I was on North Bay during the launching in 1959 and looked
     over a decked-in forecastle similar to those on the 65 foot draggers.
     This enclosed forecastle led me to believe that North Bay was a 65'
     dragger, until I saw the registry data.  The decked forecastle could
     easily have enclosed 300 cubic feet, accounting for 3 register tons
     difference between North Bay and earlier boats.  It looked a lot like the
     65ft.  draggers (hull 454), except that the 65 ft.  draggers had rear-
     facing windows above the roof of the rear section of the pilothouse.  It
     may be significant that Souris III was built the previous year to design
     454, and that Iceland was built the same year to design 454.

50 feet LOA
Designer: Eldredge-McInnis Inc., Hingham Mass. (Hull 403, stern trawler,
          tunnel stern)
Builder:  Wagstaff and Hatfield, Port Greville, N. S.   

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last registered

195319  1952  Alberton No. 1            1962 (burned)
195317  1952  Philaris                  2018-08-02 (closed) Cap d'Espoir
195320  1952  Tignish No. 1             2013-01-07 (suspended) Pandalus II


My father, who was chairman of the P.E.I. Fisherman's Loan Board at the time,
told me that all three boats were built to the same design, and that all three
boats were the tunnel stern version.  He was able to name all three boats from
memory.  The boats were built as part of an experiment in operating smaller
boats out of shallow-water ports.

Eldredge-McInnis have the plans for hull 403, and these plans were prepared
for the P.E.I. Fisherman's Loan Board in 1951.  Royalties were paid for three

Wagstaff and Hatfield records show that Tignish No.  1 was Eldredge-McInnis
design 403 and their hull 183.

The P.E.I. Department of Fisheries has plans and records of operation for
these boats (some of the drawings were available for inspection in 1974-75,
but most of the plans and records were in storage or archived).

65 feet LOA
Designer: Eldredge-McInnis Inc., Hingham Mass. (Hull 454, side trawler)
Builder:  Wagstaff and Hatfield, Port Greville, N. S.   

Reg. #  Year  Original Name             Last Registered

313396  1960  Barbara Marie             2019-04-17 still registered: Randall Kelley
                                             certificate expires 2019-08-31
313394  1960  Colville Bay              1974 (burned)
318047  1961  Fan and Joanne            1998 (sunk)
311982  1959  Iceland                   1965 (sunk)
313393  1960  Marilyn and Michael       1976 (burned)
313380  1960  Marjorie M II             1974 (sunk)
310931  1958  Souris III                1987 (sunk)
318043  1961  Souris IV                 1986 (sold to U.S.A. citizen)


P.E.I. Department of Fisheries had no design information on these boats, but
Donald Judson told me that he had run across a number 454 somewhere, and my
father told me that all draggers except Souris II were Eldredge-McInnis
designs.  Using this number, I was able to obtain drawings from
Eldredge-McInnis for a 65 ft.  trawler which had been designed for the Quebec
Fisherman's Loan Board.  Alan McInnis (son of the designer) subsequently met
with my father and went through the records to find a reference to the use
of design 454 by the P.E.I. Government.

Comparison of registry information to the design information:

        Dragger measurements       Design 454
Length  61.8 ft. to 62.2 ft.       61.5
Beam    17.6 ft. to 17.7 ft.       17' 7"
Depth    7.6 ft. to  7.7 ft.        7' 6"
Tonnage   68 to 69                 67

Comparison of Hull 454 design to other information:

               Register                 Hull 454
               Barbara Marie

     Length:   62.2 ft.                 61.5
               Fore part of stem        L.W.L
               to fore side of
               head of rudder stock
     Beam:     17.7 ft.                 17' 7"
               Main breadth to outside of plank
     Depth:     7.6 ft.                 7' 6"
               Tonnage deck to          Draft
               ceiling amidships
                9.7 ft
               Top of deck at side
               amidships to bottom
               of keel
     Length of Engine Room:   
               12.6 ft.                 11' 4" (Bulkhead to bulkhead)
                                        13' 3" (includes tailshaft extension)
     Tonnage:  69.09                    67 L. Tons
               Gross register tonnage   Displacement at L.W.L

     General appearance:

          Barbara Marie forecastle deck did not round into sides as shown on
          Hull 454 plans (i.e.  no turtle deck).  Placement of forecastle deck
          appears to be the same as on plans, side of hull carried straight up
          to deck.  Forward gallows braced to forecastle deck, instead of to
          round of turtle deck as shown on plans.  These are the only known
          differences (July 30, 1989).

          Other 65 ft.  draggers built to the same design as Barbara Marie
          show minor variations in wheelhouse structure and location of booby
          hatch.  Deviations of this nature from the design did not affect
          hull shape or weight distribution and were probably made without
          referring to the designer, and were probably made to meet
          preferences of individual skippers.