Homer Alaska - Boat of the week

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Miss Anne Marie: homer-made cruiser

Boat of the week

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer


Photographer: Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

Though their daughter's name is Ann Marie, the name of the Slabaugh's 78-foot boat also incorporates their daughter-in-law's middle name and (Miss) Rachel's title with small children.

Phil and Rachel Slabaugh have been multitasking for a long time, but lately, they're wrapping up projects and getting ready to hit the high seas.

"For our retirement project we were going to build a gillnetter and gillnet in Southeast but the price of fish got so low, it's like 'forget the fishing part, we'll just take our tennis rackets and go have fun.' So here we are," Phil said.

There they are, in the Homer harbor on a 78-foot yacht that was designed and built right here at the end of the road.

The boat is the culmination of a career in commercial fishing and general contracting, a 10-year long project that shows the power of a dream and diligence.

"It was always a side project, and that's why it took so long, 'cause we just worked on it as we had time and resources," Rachel said.

With contributions from some of Homer's finest craftsmen, including Warren Miller, Robert Pankrats, David Garcia, Richard Hoeschen, Leonard Miller, Glen Slabaugh, David Mogar, Bill Lener, Gary Lyon, Doug Schwiesow, Justin Berger, Brian Carper and Gary Squires at Redden Marine, the Miss Anne Marie is now a functional, floating piece of art.

The Slabaughs used the time to engineer and execute details not found on production-built boats, like compartments that are finished inside and custom-etched shower doors.

Alaska art is incorporated throughout the yacht, which salutes its fishing town roots in other aspects as well.

Miss Anne Marie is designed and built much like the seiner Phil built in the late 80s, with small adjustments to the shape to make it ride more smoothly in seas. A long-range cruiser, she's made to be comfortable in a wide range of latitudes and capable of traveling great distances without services.


Looking aft from the bridge along the starboard side shows the attention to detail and focus on Alaska art characteristic of Miss Anne Marie.

Her one-off Airex foam construction is lightweight and strong. According to Phil's calculations, Miss Anne Marie weighs 75,000 pounds, 50,000 less than any comparable vessel he's aware of.

Like many fishing boats, the yacht has dry exhaust and protection under the propellers.

The center keel is only three inches lower than the skegs, making it easy to set her on the beach for maintenance or repairs.

Under her ample cockpit, Miss Anne Marie has two fish holds that can circulate sea water.

Her flush deck allows for a stand-up engine room, and the flybridge has space for two skiffs.

Her electrical system is set up much like a wilderness lodge with two generators, the ability to convert wind and solar power and take any cycle of shore power, Phil said.

There are three staterooms forward, each with two bunks and a full bathroom, and crew quarters for four in the stern.

With two crew, the Slabaughs will be heading south sometime soon. Like the building process itself, Miss Anne Marie's itinerary includes a few known features and many possibilities.

"People use yachts two different ways. They use them to go port to port or else they use it to see the outdoors, the away places, and that's really what I'm looking for. Basically getting away from the Winnebago crowd," Phil said.

"We really don't have any plans... we're very flexible."

Lindsay Johnson may be reached at lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.