Hobbyist restores swamped troller

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010

He calls it his lifelong hobby. Now that hobby is finishing up and starting to garner some attention.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Dwain Reddekopp has spent the last 30-odd years bringing a swamped troller boat, the Carol Ann, back to life. The Carol Ann has been a familiar sight near mile 16 on Egan Drive for all these years as its owner has gradually restored it.

Reddekopp, a 71-year-old retired construction worker, has been steadily rebuilding the vessel over the last several decades. After retiring, he's been able to get it in working condition.

The 42.6-foot vessel has been swamped since 1982, when it hit a rock outside Swanson Harbor. Reddekopp took possession of it from the insurance company shortly after and has been fixing the damage in his spare time. It took a long time and a lot of dedication, as the needed repairs were expansive.

Reddekopp said he had to replace everything, such as the deck, wheelhouse, bow works, engine and other components.

"All I had was a hull and a cabin," Reddekopp said.

Since retiring a few years ago, he was able to move it toward its eventual relaunch. The Carol Ann is now clean and functional, with every bad part replaced.

"She's a brand new boat," he said.

It now rests in the fishermen's commercial dock past the ferry terminal in Auke Bay while he continues work on it. He plans to later move it to the main part of Auke Bay.

The next step will be to launch. Reddekopp said after working his entire life, he's looking forward to taking the boat out fishing next spring, giving the vessel back the purpose for which it was originally constructed.

He said it's been a landmark in the area to its reputation as being such a good boat and also because of its history of being disabled then repaired as a labor of love.

An employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said he's seen the boat, and the care that went into restoring it after all these years is both obvious and rare.

Reddekopp said the Carol Ann was designed and built in 1972 by Harry Ludwigsen in Ketchikan and named after his daughter. Reddekopp's brother, Stan, was the original owner.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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