Downeaster definition.

Discussion in 'Downeast Boat NEWBIES' started by Quik Fix 16, May 28, 2019.

  1. RickC137

    RickC137 Member

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    I know it when I see it... Unless it's a "Downeast" above the waterline, and below it's a deep V, twin screw planing hull, in which case it's "Downeast style"

    Now, you can call this boat with an outboard on a bracket whatever you like. But it's a Royal Lowell design and has soft chines. Though it's built in NH.
     

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  2. Quik Fix 16

    Quik Fix 16 Member

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    This is on my build list, is it a Downeaster? 26 lobster.jpg
     
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  3. Kailua Kid

    Kailua Kid Senior Member

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  4. stumpstalker

    stumpstalker Member

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    I’ll take a shot at this.

    Quick Fix:

    Growing up in Massachusetts in the 50s and 60s I never heard the term “Downeaster” used around the waterfront at all. We used the term “Maine hull”. I only started hearing “Downeaster” in more recent years, mostly from people from the Mid-Atlantic States.

    Occasionally I would hear someone in Maine or Massachusetts refer to the Lobster boats built “downeast” as being the ones built in the Beal’s Island and Jonesport area, as in flatter-bottomed, and “skeg” and not “built-down” style. These boats were distinct from the ones built in the central Maine coast (then not known as Down East") such as by Billings in Stonington, Norm Hodgdon in Boothbay ; Casco Bay boats as designed by Lowell; Herb Rich on Chebeague Island or even Robert Rich in Bass Harbor.

    As with much in the marine culture, the nomenclature evolves and at a certain point you can be a stubborn hold-out and stick with the old terms, or go with the flow. Frank Grimes in his post on this Thread describes this well. The problem with being too flexible can be that distinctions that once made sense are overly blurred. At a certain point we run the risk of hearing a national manufacturer offering anything functional and attractive as being a “Downeaster”.



    I post below a photo that was used elsewhere on here of the TWIGGINS, a 32-foot Holland, designed by Royal Lowell (with slight changes by Glenn Holland). Although the design and building of her derives from the Central Maine Coast, and not the more Down East Maine coast, she I believe is more akin to a traditional “Jonesporter” or “Beals Islander” than many of the current Beals Island boats. Why so? Just consider the modern changes in length-to-beam ratios; overall length; tumble-home stern or lack-there-of; and freeboard differences. I am not knocking, for example, the splendid Calvin Beal, Junior designs: they are the necessary up-dated iterations required for increased trap-carrying capacity; more diesel power speed and fishing further offshore.

    “Downeast” is a little like the term “Yankee”. It depends on where you stand – your frame of reference. Over-seas we of the U. S. are all considered to be Yankees; in the South any one from above the Mason-Dixon line is Yankee; and if you are from New England, only those with an Anglo-American ethnicity whose family has been in the country since about the 17th Century is a Yankee – and maybe has to be Winthrop Fleet, to boot.



    Henry:

    Your linked document definition cites many qualifying characteristics and qualities, and is very thoughtful; but is a little unspecific for the totally uninitiated. Maybe just give it some illustrations.

    Frank:

    You covered it best. I only quibble over the “plumb bow” part. How about “rounded bow”?

    Many other good points made in follow-up on his Thread.



    This is all good fun.



    p.s. Some day we will debate what a skiff is, too.


    twiggins.w.traps.png
     
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  5. Henry

    Henry Senior Member

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    Stumpstalker:

    Very thoughtful input. Because the “Downeast” boat continues to evolve we may never be able to definitively answer the question “what is a Downeast boat?” I think we all know what is not a Downeast boat but the mystery of what one is keeps us coming back.
    It is like that elusive beautiful woman - we all know she is beautiful, but we each have a slightly different reason as to why!
     
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  6. Quik Fix 16

    Quik Fix 16 Member

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    Are these downeasters? Nay8.jpg 26 Mack final.jpg 20 PH Green Paint Gradient.jpg
     
  7. chortle

    chortle Captain

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    Lots of good answers and comments.

    I always lean towards "built in Downeast Maine" as an important component in claiming a boat is a "Downeast" build but as mentioned before that excludes some fine boats not built in Maine but that totally follow all of the most basic details and attitude towards construction values and design goals for the purpose of fishing off the Maine coast.

    I would list those as: single diesel, a hull designed primarily for high fuel efficiency and seakeeping in the open sea, a large aft deck space for pots or fishing gear, high load capacity for a big load of fish/ice/fuel without a significant loss in speed and seakeeping ability, no need for a large cabin, solid protection from weather (mostly cold), low freeboard aft for hauling fish or pots all day long, able to take to the ground at low tide, rugged simple construction that is easily maintained/repaired. Anything else needs and asterisk.

    One of the features on the Shamrocks shown and on most modern boat designs which I would not include in a Downeast construction detail are the detached rudders. It would not make sense to have an exposed rudder if you were running up near pots all day long or used the high tidal range to sit on the bottom at low tide either for maintenance of because it gave you access to a convenient or inexpensive harbor berth.

    Also, many fine boats are built in Downeast Maine that are not Downeast boats as generally defined and discussed on this forum. For example, I used to own a Sabre sailboat and would be happy to own a Sabre powerboat because of its exceptional quality of construction and excellent design for its purpose but it would not fit my definition of a Downeast Boat, I could not imagine using one to haul dozens of pots or putting a livewell the size of Chicago in the cockpit and expecting it to perform well.
     
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  8. Old Mud

    Old Mud Captain

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    I like to keep it simple also. although after reading some of the above i see it can get complicated. I get the question all the time "What is a Downeaster" and i have to start with, Do you know Where DownEast Maine is ? How it got its name ? Well long story short if you go back to the 1800's the sailing ships bring supply's here and bring back Ice, Wood etc. would mostly leave from the Boston area. With our prevailing winds being SW they would sail downwind NE to Maine. Hence the term "DownEast". Anyway yeah if it was built here i call it a DownEaster. To me yeah it.s got to have a keel, anything after that is good with me. :)
     
  9. stumpstalker

    stumpstalker Member

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    Mud:

    Your simple definition works, and the more complicated ones offered do, too. Heck, we live in an age when everyone gets a trophy.

    Your explanation of the origin of the term, “down East”, accords with my understanding – it was all about prevailing Westerlies from late Spring into the late Fall. The vessels just ran down-wind to get to distant Maine harbors bringing goods from industrial New England.

    By the late Fall winds go more Easterly, and eventually the Maine harbors were so frozen-in and the weather was so nasty that the coasting schooners just stopped going.

    Those sailing vessels were the commercial vehicles, or trucks, of their day. There were just no modern roads for overland transport by any conveyance, which then meant horse-drawn.

    Those coastal Maine communities were very isolated during the long Winters; but there was plenty of time for boat-building, and the skills developed.

    Today there are many people that do not consider you are “down east” if you are anywhere near Portland. It is dismissed as an extension of Boston; just another part of megalopolis. You have to be at least beyond Sequin to be on your way “Down East”.

    And some consider Nova Scotia to be the truer ‘Down East”; but I’ll stop here, before the fight breaks out.
     
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  10. Old Mud

    Old Mud Captain

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    Or how much we should Pay !! :D
     
  11. BillD

    BillD Captain

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  12. Old Mud

    Old Mud Captain

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    Yep, i would say that sounds right about where DE starts. When i come out of the Kennebec river Seguin is on my Stbd. side. I always look at it like when your on Rt.1 going North and the road swings to the right enough so your looking right at the rising sun, Your heading "Down East" :)
    May sound to simple but Works for me.
     
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  13. Quik Fix 16

    Quik Fix 16 Member

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    I need to start another thread, "definition of a full keel".
     
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  14. Ben Zehnder

    Ben Zehnder Member

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    Being down here on the Cape (Cod) I get confused about what is where in Maine. I do know that every town I’ve seen up there is gorgeous and simple and makes sense just like the boats. Daisy was built in Damariscotta. Does she qualify? She’s kind of tender with a stern sea and her Yanmar makes the bow riders tremble around the docks so I’m thinking yes.
     
  15. Old Mud

    Old Mud Captain

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    We need a Pic. Ben. we wouldn't want to condemn you lest you qualify. :D
     
  16. Ben Zehnder

    Ben Zehnder Member

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    Here Old Mud. '04 Flowers 25 with a Yanmar 4LHA. The other factor in determining whether it is a Downeast is the size of the hauling bill. I think she qualifies there. 07-2016.jpg IMG_8124.JPG
     
  17. T-Bird

    T-Bird Member

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    OK, from the brand new guy on this forum (started 1.5 days ago) I honestly feel like I just got "3 Credit Hours" on what a D.E. boat is! You guys are historians and sailors. As a retired 30-year active duty Air Force Colonel, you may find it ironic that I love boats (knew I should have joined the Coast Guard) and you guys are smarting me up. I can't wait to do the research on the jargon ya'll used--might get 3 more credit hours towards a maritime degree...
     
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  18. sailor of fortune

    sailor of fortune Captain

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    Don't despair!.... There was a DE (passenger boat) for sale in Amelia Island a few years ago.. I know its not what your looking for but they are sprinkled around in Florida too!... Kind of good because most peeps here don't know what they are looking at...prices cheaper. I'm in St Augustine.
     
  19. stumpstalker

    stumpstalker Member

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    I don't mean to scare any one away, but this is to get us back to basics:

    36-foot, built by Harold Gower of Beals Island, Maine, planked with red cedar in the 1950s.

    For many years fished for Lobster from Chebeague Island, Maine by Richard ("Poochie") Ross.


    polaris.4.jpg polaris.1.jpg polaris.3.jpg
     
  20. T-Bird

    T-Bird Member

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    Thanks Sailor of Fortune...you give me hope! St A. is a nice place!
     

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