Home of the AJ-28
After our day with Steve and the Seaworthy 28 we decided to look into a boat design called an AJ28. These boats are made by Alan Johnson in Winter Harbor, Maine. Alan comes to the boat building industry having fished for lobster as a kid in high school. He then went on to U Maine and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating he went on to work for the navy for six years on nuclear subs in Portsmouth, NH. After leaving the navy, he went back to smaller boats and Winter Harbor as a commercial fisherman. After ten years of fishing, in 1985, he decided it was time to move on to something that he really enjoyed: boat building. He built a one-room shop and started finishing hulls from different manufacturers. He built 65 boats between 1985 & 1995, but specialized in the 26’ Duffy and built a number of molds to use in completing these boats. He finished 34 of these boats and marketed them as the AJ-26. In 1995, he decided to produce his own hulls and wanted something larger than the 26, so he designed his own model, a deep and beamy 28 footer that is now called the AJ-28.
On a rather warm fall day, Joe and I drove up to Winter Harbor to meet Alan Johnson of AJ Boats. We were greeted warmly by Alan in his shop. Now, Alan’s place is what I would consider a typical Maine boat building operation. There were about a dozen boats strewn about the yard, some in pretty bad shape and some in pristine condition.
We spent about three hours with Alan that day talking boats which – if you are into boats and like talking about boat design and construction – was heaven. Besides, who wouldn’t want to spend several hours talking with a boat builder about his craft! We spoke with Alan about construction materials, specifically core-cell a marine structural foam sheet of fiberglass used in various applications in boats such as hulls, decks, stringers, etc. Its unique properties allow it to be used with a variety of epoxy, vinyl, or polyester resins. We talked about engines and our need for speed. Alan’s web site illustrates in great detail his knowledge of hull speed and sizing of an engine.
While we were there, we heard from Alan that a customer of his, who lives in New Hampshire, had his boat on the market. It had a Yanmar 370 diesel engine, which would certainly work for our needs regarding speed. The next day we got a call from our broker saying that there was indeed a boat for sale in NH that fit the bill!