ACI Boats Launches Bristol Bay Gillnetter

The f/v Signe, which was launched in Bristol Bay by ACI Boats in early May. Photo courtesy of ACI Boats.

Aluminum boat builder ACI Boats on May 3 launched its second Bristol Bay gillnetter in Port Townsend, Wash.

The boat was designed in collaboration with ACI employee Mike Carr, who’s a second generation Bristol Bay fisherman and Port Townsend local. Carr grew up in Discovery Bay, where his dad built hulls for seiners. He started fishing in Bristol Bay in 2002 and began operating his own boat in 2010.

This, he has said, peaked his interest in the design and fabrication of boats. While up in Bristol Bay, Carr started to notice a fresh generation of gillnetters that were using new technology and propulsion.

“After getting my degree in Naval Architecture from the University of New Orleans, and all that I’ve learned from (company owner) Cory (Armstrong) at ACI Boats, I wanted to apply my own experiences as a fisherman to help design a gillnetter,” Carr explained.

The f/v Signe is 32 feet-by-15 feet, 6 inches and was designed for maximum performance while maintaining comfort and efficiency, according to ACI Boats. The pilothouse has direct bonded look-up windows that provide exceptional visibility and natural light. There is ample deck space, and a comfortable galley/berthing area that sleeps five people. With another sleeping bunk in the pilothouse, the vessel can accommodate a total of 6 crew members.

The boat is powered by twin Cummins 600HP engines, with twin UltraJets 340HT. Its top speed is 36 knots, or 26 knots if loaded with 13,500 pounds in the fish holds.

ACI Boats designs and fabricates recreational and commercial aluminum vessels in Port Townsend. Armstrong grew up in the islands off British Columbia, where he learned to weld and build boats as a teen.

He has spent his entire career in the marine industry. That includes nearly 20 years with Armstrong Marine (now Brix Marine), where as a partner and production manager, he oversaw the design and fabrication of hundreds of aluminum boats.

In 2015, Armstrong founded his own company, ACI Boats, which offers a full line up of welded aluminum catamarans and monohulls.