A lot of tug and offshore guys who grew up on a family fishing boat want to get back to the independence of commercial fishing, but the quota costs are often a barrier. This guy found a way.
When Trygve Westergard bought the 30- by 8.5-metre Judi B in the spring of 2016, he was entering a new chapter in a varied marine career.
Growing up on a remote island off Ketchikan, Alaska as the third generation of a Norwegian-Danish family, he had fishing in his blood and his environment. A stint at the California Maritime Academy earned him an unlimited masters license and a BS in marine transportation.
After a decade of running everything from ferries to off-shore boats and filling the gaps with fishing, Westergard decided it was time to come home. Given the price of quota the logical entry to the Alaskan fishery was with a tender to collect fish from other boats.
This business would also allow his family on board for part of the year. In the Judi B, he found an excellent boat for tendering and still great potential for adding a quota fishery. Nichols Brothers in Washington State built her in 1975 to a Jensen-design inspired by a 30-metre Marco.
Since buying the boat, Westergard has added two RSW systems, of 22 and a 40 tonnes, and rebuilt the third fish hold, which had been set up for blast freezing. The boat can now pack 140 tonnes of salmon in RSW.
This, along with a lot of new stainless piping and other improvements has earned him contracts for packing Valdes salmon in the summer for Silver Bay Seafoods and Sitka roe herring in the spring. Recently he won a contract to pack live hatchery salmon fry out some distance from the hatchery at Hidden Falls to avoid predator whales.
In 2017 he acknowledged his maritime heritage by renaming her Nordic Lady. It was only later that he found out the family of the original namesake, Judi B, came over from Norway on the same boat as his grandfather.
A good part of Westergard’s continuing success comes from learning from and acknowledging others in the industry, such as Silver Bay Seafood’s Randy Lantiegne, who have been mentors.
He has even tracked down Herman Schmidt, who assisted in the design and build of the boat including the selection of the boat’s original Deutz BT16M 716W rated for 540kW at 1,800 rpm. This big V-configured engine had 16 cylinders mounted in a 120-degree V configuration.
Fortunately for Westergard, when he decided to change out the old engine for a new Cummins he found his way to Jamie Painter at Southeast Diesel and Electric in Ketchikan.
In a remarkable bit of engine fitting, Painter was able to modify the engine mounts to fit an in-line six-cylinder Cummins QSK19 rated for 560kW at 1,800rpm, to the existing engine bed.
He was able to match it to the original marine gear and ratio, a Twin Disc MB540 5.17:1 by removing a stub connector shaft and replacing a worn coupling with a Centra flexible coupling. The close match of power meant that the same gear ratio, 13cm shaft and 190- by 120cm Coolridge “Atlantic” prop could also be retained.
“We knew that he had these contract jobs to do,” says Painter, “There were some long days but we got the main changed out in two weeks and then another week for the genset.” Working alongside at the Ketchikan Boat Harbor, the repower, including the new 200kW genset, was completed by mid-May 2018.
This left the owner time to prep the boat for the salmon season. With, reports Jamie Painter, “A very efficient fuel burn.”
|Nordic Lady (ex-Judy B)|
|Type of vessel:||Fishing boat tender|
|Designer:||Jensen Maritime Consultants, USA|
|Builder:||Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, USA (1975)|
|Owner:||Trygve Westergard, USA|
|Main engine:||Cummins QSK19, 560kW at 1,800rpm|
|Gearbox:||Twin Disc MB540 5.17:1|
|Propulsion:||190- by 120cm Coolridge “Atlantic” prop|
|RSW systems:||22t; 40t|
Alan Roderick Haig-Brown is a Canadian novelist and non-fiction writer. He specialises in commercial marine and commercial fishing writing and photography. He is a regular contributor to a number of marine publications.