In its 30-plus years, Wesmac Custom Boats has built more than 600 watercraft at its yard in Surry, Maine. Customers include commercial fishermen, law enforcement officials, research labs and hardcore recreational boaters.
The business started on the telephone. It was 1987, and fisherman and boatbuilder Steve Wessel and his partner Mac Pettegrow were finishing hulls for a Maine builder. They got a call. It was from a retired engineer who happened to be a Chesapeake Bay boater. He wanted Wessel and Pettegrow to come up with a new design, one that incorporated the hard chines of the fast, skeg-built (with keels bolted onto flat bottoms) Chesapeake Bay deadrise hulls, but that also had the stability and efficiency of Down East “built-down” hulls (with keels integral to a rounded bottom).
The Wesmac 42 was the result. Its 42-foot, 3-inch fiberglass hull had a full built-down keel, but the upper edges where it met the bottom were angled, as they would be in a skeg-built deadrise hull. The gracefully flared spoon bow made a sharp entry; the full forward section became a straight run to a flattened, planing stern with squared-off, molded-in hard chines running the full length. There was a tuck-in at the curved transom with a modest tumblehome to handle following seas.
Standard power was a single diesel, up to 800 hp, that would deliver a cruising speed around 17 knots and a top end of about 21 knots. The layout included a V-berth forward and a stateroom aft, along with an enclosed head with a stall shower. Four steps up, the salon was arranged with an L-shaped settee that converted to a double berth. The galley, to port, came with a stove, an oven and a refrigerator/freezer. The list of amenities ran from air conditioning to a teak-and-holly cabin sole. There was plenty of room for cockpit fishing gear too, including outriggers, a fighting chair, live wells and in-deck freezers. The cockpit controls were Chesapeake style.
Fans call the Wesmac 42 “a classically pretty shape” that “sails easy and runs fast.” That’s high praise for a Downeast-deadrise hybrid.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue.