Saturday, September 11, 2010

So you really think you own a fishing boat?

"Houses are but badly built boats so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them.... The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final anchorage."

Arthur Ransome
Racundra's First Cruise, 1923

This is a little photo essay about the vessel "Melia", and I have had an unrequited love affair with this vessel for a long time. I have not been on board, or met the owner, but I will lurk around until the opportunity presents itself. You can see her in the picture below, at the end of the dock in Sarasota's downtown marina. That is a 100'+ Westport yacht in front of her, and the Melia towers over it. When I used the words "fishing boat" in the title, I was being specious, Melia is truly a ship.

The steel hulled vessel has a foc'sle on steroids, and looks like it could take almost any seas I could imagine.

The aft deck has a substantial hydraulic davit system,

and there is no shortage of electronics on the mast including dual open array radars, satellite TV, Sat phone, and multiple communication antennas.  

An over sized RIB sits above the aft cabin, and behind the wheel house.

It almost looks like a fancy work boat, and it is, in a recreational sort of way.

But now you find out what the over sized davit is for. The vessel carries a 33' Intrepid center console fishing boat on its back deck. I suspect this vessel carries its owner to places the rest of us could never get to, and launches the Intrepid to fish in waters that would be virginal from a fishing viewpoint. How do I love this boat, let me count the ways. 

Playing the game, if I had some ham, I could have a ham sandwich, if I had some bread, below is the vessel Kate and I would own, if we had the bucks. Anyone can have a white plastic boat that looks like a hotel on the inside, I find this vessel infinitely more appealing. Eight kts is fine with me. 

To learn more about these Jay Benford designed boats, visit Florida Bay Coasters


  1. Ha! Good one - been enjoying your posts.

  2. Crewed on this boat then named Alpha Centauri now named Melia in '92 as mate to Capt. Stewart Moyes (now deceased). This boat was built for G. Ray Miller (also now deceased) out of Houston. She is a twin screw steel hulled 300 tonner. The oversized Davit is rated at 5 tons and was originally used to launch a maul seaplane from the upper deck behind the pilot house. After the plane was crashed twice Ray got rid of it and had a large awning installed over the upper deck. During Hurricane Andrew she was berthed at Lands End Marina in Key West and afterwards cruised to Eluethera, Bahamas carrying over 30 tons of hurricane relief supplies.
    W. A. Lee

  3. Thanks W. A. Lee. I did manage to get a tour of Melia after I wrote the piece, and she is in great condition. She had a fresh hull paint job last year. She still lives in Sarasota, but often disappears with the Intrepid. She is currently on D dock at Marina Jacks. I tried, but couldn't find a pic of here with the Maule seaplane, but I did find some web references. Tnx Bill