Calvin Beal 38 a True Downeast Classic

Share this Article On Facebook Twitter More...

For a century, Beals Island in Downeast Maine has been Ground Zero for the design of lovely, able, and fast “skeg-built” lobsterboat hulls. Calvin Beal, Jr. is a member of that long line of designers. Over a 40-year career, Beal built out his designs in both wood and fiberglass, but in December 2008 he sold his designs and molds to Capt. Stewart Workman of SW Boatworks in Lamoine, between Ellsworth and Mount Desert. Now in semi-retirement, Beal continues to design hulls for SW Boatworks.

Our test boat for this review is Miss Hattie, which is based on a classic 38’ Beals Island workboat hull. Miss Hattie’s owner needed a roomy, efficient boat for fishing charters on the Chesapeake Bay. Though SW Boatworks has as much expertise in finishing boats as it does in laying up their hulls, this owner bought a “kit” comprising the hull, cabin, pilothouse, and deck cap, then asked Martin Hardy of Composite Yacht in Trappe, Maryland, to finish her to his specifications.

Calvin Beal drew the roomy hull with a whopping 15’ beam to carry large loads (like lots of lobster traps), but still run efficiently with a single diesel. Miss Hattie’s hull is solid fiberglass, about 1″ thick on the bottom and tapering to 9/16″ on the shear strake. The coamings are solid, too. To keep the deckhouse light but well insulated, the top is cored with 1″ balsa, and the sides with 3/4″ Divinycell.

Composite Yacht finished Miss Hattie with a roomy cabin, including galley, enclosed head and V-berth; a wheelhouse with a large dinette to port and a tackle center aft of the starboard helm; and a giant cockpit with an after helm, a big fishbox/seat, an extended canopy, and plenty of rod holders. An Onan 5.5 kW genset supplies power for the air conditioning, heat and the galley microwave.

Set under a flush pilothouse deck, a new-generation 575-hp Cat C9 ACERT electronic diesel gives Miss Hattie remarkable cruising speeds of 19.1 mph at 1800 rpm (42% load, 12.1 gph fuel burn) and 23.5 mph at 2100 rpm (59% load, 18.4 gph). Our sea trial gave us seas up to 3’, which never came close to fazing her.

A basic Calvin Beal workboat with a Cat C9 ACERT will cost about $275,000 today. Figure another $75K to $100,000K for a more finished version like Miss Hattie with genset, air conditioning, heat, cockpit helm, dinette and galley.


  • LOA: 38’ 9”
  • Beam: 15’
  • Transom Width: 14’ 2”
  • Draft: 4’ 2”
  • Fuel: 345 gals.
  • Water: 120 gals.
  • Base price: $275,000

Contact Information:

SW Boatworks

Composite Yacht

Follow New England Boating:

Like New England Boating on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Receive our Daily RSS Feed.

Planning for a trip to one our New England states:

Travel New England