The Jacob Pike will be 70 years old this year, just like me. Happy birthday to us. But, unlike me, Robbie Begin, Linc Simmons and a crew headed by Tony Finnocchiaro, the Jacob Pike can be reconstructed. I'm afraid it would take more than a few new planks to help my career!
The Jacob Pike is one of a batch of similarly designed vessels that have worked the Northeast coasts over the years. The wooden sardine carrier was built for Moses Bernard Pike of Lubec. Mr. Pike owned the Holmes Packing Company in Eastport. He named the boat for his father Jacob Clark Pike, a sea captain who became a major sardine entrepreneur in Lubec. But we have seen the Pike, and similar vessels, nearby for years. The Ida Mae, Glenn Geary and Pauline, to name a few. There were others I am sure. I do recall “bumping into” Sonny Lehtinen once aboard the Pauline.
The 85-foot Jacob Pike is 17 feet wide and could carry 60 tons of refrigerated herring. But this time around, there will be no herring. Robbie and Linc will be transporting menhaden (pogies), now used as bait for lobster fishing. The plan, as I have come to suspect, is for fish to be captured by a bigger boat that will be working along the shores as the pogies travel into our area. Once the fish have been collected, the plan, as I understand it, will be for the Jacob Pike to “load and transport” to a Boothbay Harbor facility for storage and sale. I'm not sure if fish will be sold elsewhere, but if the Jacob Pike works out, it will offer more versatility.
I guess the big questions are twofold. How much work is required to the hull of the ship, which will only be determined by the removal of some planks — fingers crossed. And, when the fish will come. Fingers and toes crossed. Farming the seas is not unlike farming the land, in many ways. So far this season, the land farmers are getting way too much rain. Let's hope that Robbie and Linc can experience a more productive season. We're rooting for you fellas. As Robbie said, “Soon it will be in the hands of Charlie and Betty.”
Good folks to have on the crew.