With barely 36 hours in Provincetown to clean out the motor after a harrowing breakdown and a marathon Coast Guard tow from Georges Bank, a 77-foot, Gloucester-based, offshore lobster boat will headed back out today to haul traps while holiday prices are favorably high.
The owner of the Michael & Kristen, Charles Raymond of Beverly said yesterday "by a miracle," the motor started up yesterday afternoon.
Raymond told the Times the Michael & Kristen will depart Provincetown sometime today, steam for a day to the "canyon," a deep ravine in Georges, about 200 miles from Nantucket, haul traps for a day and return on Wednesday, the day before Christmas Eve.
That schedule, Raymond said, would allow the captain Ron Davis, 43, of Rochester, N.H., and the crew of five — possibly with one replacement for a lobsterman arrested on outstanding warrants — to enjoy the holiday on dry land.
The labor/management arrangement on the Michael & Kristen and many fishing boats involves profit-sharing.
"Now's a good time to sell lobster," said Raymond. "Prices have been low, but prices do a good rise around the holidays. The more they catch, the more they earn," he added.
Raymond said the problem that caused the 420-horsepower diesel motor to stall out on Wednesday was suspected to be sediment in the engine that was bounced around enough in the rough seas to become suspended in the fuel and eventually choke the engine.
The Coast Guard spent parts of three days in a rescue and tow effort that was slowed to four to five knots in the high seas that became a race against the blizzard coming up behind the ocean train along the coast.
The Michael & Kristen was delivered to the MacMillan Pier in Provincetown before noon Saturday.
One crew member, Andrew Moulton of Gloucester, was immediately taken into custody on a series of outstanding warrants.
The Provincetown Police Department could not provide details, but Raymond said it was possible the return trip to haul the 1,400 traps on trawls in the canyon of Georges might go with a replacement for Moulton.
"There may have to be a crew change," he said.
The 270-foot Boston-based cutter Escanaba did the bulk of the towing from Georges.
A fishing boat, Rachel Leah, working nearby the Michael & Kristen, had begun the task Wednesday but its tow rope snapped in the high seas. A Coast Guard Hercules C-130 from an air station in North Carolina was in the general vicinity and helped locate the drifting boat for the Escanaba.
Speaking in a Friday satellite phone interview from the bridge of the cutter Escanaba Coast Guard Commander Edward Westfall said that "by far the most challenging aspect was taking them in tow (Thursday)."
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464 or at email@example.com.