You usually don’t think of “lobster boat” and “bowrider” in the same sentence. But now Ellis Boat, which has been building lobster boats (and “lobster yachts”) in Southwest Harbor, Maine, since 1947, has put the two together in its new 40-foot Ellis Bowrider Express. And despite the new seating in the bow, the boat remains true to its heritage.
“It’s a fantastic vessel,” says Shane Ellis, the grandson of the company’s founder. “It has a traditional bottom, but with a custom seat on top. We’re a custom builder. We built this for a client who wanted a seat for the kids in front.”
One of the most traditional of Maine builders, Ellis was started during the state’s boat-building boom after the Second World War. Raymond Bunker, a foreman in what is now the Hinckley yard in Southwest Harbor, and Ralph Ellis, a local fisherman, got together during a game of pool and decided to start a new venture building lobster boats themselves. They launched Bunker & Ellis in 1947, turning out working lobster boats, all plank on frame. They were all relatively narrow, with a fine entry, flatter aft sections and unballasted keels; they also were fast, efficient and seaworthy. The shop was only 40 feet away from Ralph Ellis’ house in Southwest Harbor
In the 1980s, Ralph’s son Don took over the company and moved to a larger manufacturing facility, also, of course, in Southwest Harbor. Ellis Boat has made more than 300 lobster boats since then (using the name “lobster yacht” when they made the upscale recreational version of the fishing boat). Now Don’s son Shane works in marketing and his other son Anthony works in production. The Ellis line runs from 20 to 40 feet. Billy Joel, an ardent fisherman, owned an Ellis Patriot 36.
The new 40 has the same semi-displacement hull as other Ellis boats, with a fine entry, flared bow, and flatter aft sections with a full-length keel and skeg to protect the prop and running gear. It has the long sheerline, gentle tumblehome and low profile of traditional lobster boats, with a large cockpit aft – now for extra seating, not for hauling pots. Teak is everywhere, on the swim platform, the transom, the sole, and accents throughout. The forward cabin has a V-berth, with a full galley and head with shower.
This particular boat is powered by a single 530-hp Yanmar diesel, and cruises in the 12-20 knot range, topping out at 25 knots. The price, with a 550-hp Cummins or similar engine, is $815,000.
Shane Ellis says the boat “will catch the attention of families looking to Down East boats for fun cruising. People think it’s a beautiful boat. But if they look at it and come to Ellis, they’ll see our other boats too. We have a lot of beautiful boats.”
For more: http://ellisboat.com