There’s a new boat in Chilmark, a big one. Wes Brighton recently brought the 77-foot scalloper Martha Rose to its new homeport, Menemsha. A longtime mariner, Brighton is best known as a lobsterman and a founding member of the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust.
Purchased late last year with the help of an investor, the Martha Rose was formerly the Lindsay L out of Barnegat Light, N.J. With the boat’s acquisition, Brighton has gone full-bore into scalloping. He plans to land as many sea scallops on the Vineyard as he can during his current quota cycle, which allots 600 pounds per day, and allows for about 32 trips by March 31.
Brighton set out from Menemsha Harbor on New Year’s Day for the vessel’s maiden voyage. He and his two mates, Otto Osmers and Ian Andres, scalloped south of Block Island and in the Great South Channel, bringing the catches to market in New Bedford. Those trips served as sea trials for the boat. Thereafter, he and his crew spent time in New Bedford Harbor making engine adjustments and installing a new chain bag on the scallop dredge.
On Tuesday, Brighton docked the Martha Rose at Tisbury Wharf in Vineyard Haven. There the boat offloaded scallops on the Vineyard for the first time. Andres and Osmers schlepped 50-pound bags of scallop meat out onto the dock, where seafood buyer Alec Gale met them and bought the catch.
The Martha Rose spent some time on the big screen back when it was the Lindsay L, and saw the likes of George Clooney and Mark Walhberg in its galley. In the film “The Perfect Storm,” the boat was used to portray the sword boat Hannah Boden on exterior shots. The galley was used as the galley of the Andrea Gail, where Clooney asked his crew if they were actually “Gloucestermen.”
Long after its movie cameos, the boat changed hands and got its new name, each owner contributing 50 percent of it. Brighton’s investor, who remains anonymous at present, chose to use Rose as a tribute to his granddaughter. Brighton chose Martha as a tribute to his aunt. Hence the Martha Rose came to be.
Brighton said he and his investor share something more than a desire to make money through seafaring. He said their mutual philosophy is “about keeping Menemsha a working waterfront and making sure the next generation of young fishermen have opportunities.”
A winter of hard work lies ahead for Brighton and his crew, with little respite between cycles of dredging, cutting, packing, and steaming to and from port. “We have a long way to go to catch the rest of our quota,” he said. “[It’s] a good feeling to have a few trips under our belt.”
Brighton said he said he felt good about his crew, and “really happy about the boat.”