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First launch from a boat shop on Water Street, Yarmouth, in many decades


Captain Calvin McNicol and his building team started FV Irvin John, on June 7

YARMOUTH - When building space for a big project became available this spring in Yarmouth, a young captain took advantage of it.

Calvin McNicol, 27, already owns a fishing boat - Classy Lady - that he bought four years ago.

“She came with the name and I bought her the year I got married so I left the name because it suits it,” he says with a laugh.

But McNicol knew that boat wasn’t going to be his “forever boat.” Although he wasn’t planning on upgrading this soon, when he found out that Steve Corkum had space available in his newly built boat shop this spring, McNicol got together a boat-building team. They started on June 7, after lobster-fishing season wrapped up.  

“It was a unique opportunity,” he says. “What with boat shops being booked for years.”

The 49’ 2” x 27’ vessel features a LeBlanc hull from Wedgeport Boats Ltd. and a 425 HP John Deere engine.

McNicol named the boat Irvin John after his late grandfather, Irvin John Sollows from Port Maitland.

When McNicol was about 16, Sollows was lost at sea in 2007 while mackerel fishing in a skiff. A heart attack is suspected.

As a young child, McNicol remembers going to the wharf to see his grandfather’s lobster rig.

“He always fished and had all his gear in the barn. We’d go help him with that and play there. I had no idea about lobstering while he was alive. He stopped lobstering before I even had a taste for it really, so it’s kind of like a way to tie me and him together.”

After high school, McNicol attended Acadia University for a year. Although he received good grades, he turned to the sea when he realized that land-based work just “wasn’t for him.”

He spent a few seasons banding and working as a crewmate, then obtained his captain’s papers and bought Classy Lady (sale now pending). He’s looking forward to using his new boat this season.

Irvin John was launched from the Lobster Rock Wharf slip on Nov. 12. It was the first new build to launch from a boat shop on Water Street in many decades.

There were some minor difficulties. As the boat was backed into the water, the steering let go from his rudder, which swung into the propeller, causing some damage.

“I was scared it might have done something to the drive shaft but we’ve tested it and everything is A1.  The prop had a few nicks in it so it was sent to get machined,” he said.

On the day after launching, the vessel was a beehive of activity. Electronics were being installed and electricians were completing the wiring. Carpenters were finishing off the cupboards and the trim.

Once the prop’s back on, he’ll be testing the brand new motor to make sure it’s working well, then the vessel has to undergo sea trials with Transport Canada.

Read about the new boat shop 

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