“FLYING EAGLE” as named by lobsterman Floyd Pinkham of Gouldsboro, ME in 1963, was designed & built by Vinal Beal. All such lobster boats were constructed by Vinal during the winter when not lobstering, by means of a half-model (no plans). These stunning vessels with their low freeboard & graceful sheer are often referred to as a “Beals Islander” or “Jonesporter”.., a work boat with beauty of purpose & specifically built for their own geographic down east Maine fishing conditions. Without question, these watercraft were the most beautiful & fastest vessels of their time. Their speed (23+ knots) were a direct result of their “skeg construction”. Skeg designs were constructed with the frames (or hull bottom) joining the keel in a flat plane nearly perpendicular to the sides of the keel, so the bottom planking at the after part of the hull meets the skeg (keel) almost at right angles. In turn, they were often lighter & faster than their “built-down” construction counterparts in Southern or mid-coast Maine. Simply put, Vinal’s design had less holding the hull back with a very flat run aft, less wetted surface & a prop less obstructed. They were also known to be stronger where the horn timber, keel & stern post come together, were less rolly while working adrift & more stable carrying large loads. She’s a rare breed with a rich documented history of hunting Maine lobsters for an astonishing 45+ years & a rare find because most were left to rot with the advent of fiberglass. When more powerful engines & mechanized means of hauling traps became common, their graceful shearlines & low freeboard soon vanished.
Discovered in Rockport Maine late 2014, FLYING EAGLE, as promptly re-named (as original when her keel was laid in 1962), was partially refit indoors at ARTISAN BOATWORKS during the worst of heavy winter weather. By spring she then endured an eleven day, 3,500 mile overland journey by flatbed truck to Anacortes Washington, arriving May 1, 2014. Following two active cruising seasons between Port Townsend, Canada & the San Juan Islands, she then completed final structural restorations during the first six months of 2017 at EMERALD MARINE in Anacortes, WA. During the restoration process, the focus has always been preserving what once was & what will never be again, so generations to come will have the opportunity to appreciate her. FLYING EAGLE would not be here today if not for all past owners (mostly lobstermen) over the last 55 years, each of which have done their part with repair & maintenance while working her hard in the far eastern fetches of the Maine.
NOTE: Other than a lighter 2013, 383 Mercruiser gas V8 stroker engine, FLYING EAGLE is very much original including her Newport Green, Medium Buff & White color scheme, her throaty dry-stack exhaust rising up through her standing shelter & her underwater bronze prop-cage meant to prevent fowling. She still does 23 knots!