Bristol Bay Innovation
Bryan Mcmahan’s Esa Ruth is the first of their latest pair of Bristol Bay boats that will be turning some heads on the Bay during this Summer’s sockeye season. Image: Peregrine Falcon

Bristol Bay Innovation

Peregrine Falcon boat builders, of Eagle River near Anchorage Alaska, have a history of innovation in everything from aluminium landing craft to Bristol Bay gillnetters.
They recently sea trialled Bryan Mcmahan’s Esa Ruth, the first of their latest pair of Bristol Bay boats that will be turning some heads on the Bay during this Summer’s sockeye season.
The boat’s 40-knot speed will stand out among the crowd of fast boats. But it will be their innovative design that is set to attract attention. Rather than the conventional forward cabin-design, these two craft have the cabin set aft on a raised platform that allows flexibility in handling the salmon gillnet.
‘These boats are specific to Bristol Bay, Alaska, they have a 32 foot limit but the bow or stern picker capability makes them more versatile. They can set and pick either way depending on the situation. Additionally, these boats, because of the raised wheelhouse, have much more deck space to pick fish,’ the boat’s designer and builder Jeff Johnson explained.

The twin 6.7-litre Cummins engines give Esa Ruth a 32-knot cruising speed. Image: Peregrine Falcon

Volume is added to that regulation 32-foot (9.75 metre) limit by having a 16-foot (4.90 metre) beam and a 7-foot (2.10 metre) moulded depth.
Fitted into the raised forepeak of the hull is a functional but comfortable accommodation set, including galley, for a crew of four.
Tankage is provided for 400 gallons (1820 litres) of fuel, 40 gallons (180 litres) of water and 50 gallons (227 litres) of hydraulic oil. This results in a 26,000 pound (11.80 tonne) light boat and considerably more when taking fish to the tender.
Gaining that light boat 40-knots and a cruising speed of 32 knots takes some horsepower and this is provided by a pair of Cummins QSB 6.7-litre diesels each delivering 550hp. These drive a pair of Thrustmaster 15-inch water jets through ZF301c gears with 2.88:1 reduction. An additional advantage of the jet drives is that the boat has a 16-inch draft for the shallows that can result from the huge tides of Bristol Bay.
In a season of just a few short weeks, when the millions of sockeye salmon are making their return to the rivers of Bristol Bay, shaving minutes from your setting or recovery time can make a significant difference to your catch. Similarly the time it takes to run into your tender to deliver your fish and get back out for your next set can be crucial.
The combination of raised wheelhouse, open deck and 1100hp of twin Cummins coupled to a pair of jets will give an advantage to the owners of these two boats from Alaska’s Peregrine Falcon builder.