The Brico No. 16: Fishboat, Yacht, Workboat

by William Heavenor 2016

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

The Brico No. 16 was a fish boat (and part time work boat) and later a yacht. 34.5’ x 10.0’ x 4.3’ Wood 10.47gt 9.24rt She was powered by a 115bhp gas engine. In 1940 she was built at Steveston BC by Richmond Boat Works (S. Kishi).

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 in 1978. The mast and stabilizers have been removed but she is still in BC Telephone Company livery. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

In 1958–1964 she was owned by British Columbia Telephone Co., Vancouver BC. In 1965 she was owned by Henry J. Smith, Gibsons BC. In 1966 she was owned by Adam Sampson, Vancouver BC. In 1967 she was owned by Ferruccio Zaro, Vancouver BC. In 1970–1972 she was owned by Frederick W. Probstl, Vancouver BC. In 1973–1974 she was owned by Timo Itkonen, Richmond BC. From May 28, 1974 to July 24, 1981 she was owned by William E. Heavenor, Burnaby BC. In 1981–2011 she was owned by Michael T. Davis, North Delta BC. Her registry was closed 18/10/2011.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 1979. She was used part–time as a work boat from 1974 through 1977, ready to retire to a career as a coastal cruiser. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

My family owned and worked on the Brico No. 16, modifying her mostly between 1977 and 1980. It was at the beginning of her conversion from fishing service to work boat. She had her power plant changed in 1979 – the gas engine was retired and a Chrysler–Nissan diesel plant was installed.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 in 1979. The wheelhouse was lengthened and joined to an aft cabin built using the fish hold. An enlarged well at the stern allowed for recreational activities. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

The Brico No. 16 was retired from commercial fishing during one of the license buyback programmes of the mid–1970s. She might have been a ‘B’ license. We acquired her then, In 1974. She served us as a work boat doing the odd delivery and supply job around the Gulf Islands but we always intended to convert her fully in to a cruiser. A vivid memory is being on board repainting her fore cabin/engine room interior in Sunshine Yellow when the death of Elvis was announced in the summer of 1977.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 in 1979 returning the converted and re–powered vessel to the water at WesDel Marina. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

My grandfather, William Edward Heavenor, and I spent weekends through 1978, and into 1979, converting her for recreational use. She had been a working troller when we first took her to WesDel Marina. At that time her fish hold, mast, boom and stabilizers that were still rigged. We used her like that for a while. In the late 1970s we began removing the gear, added ballast and re–powered her with a Chrysler–Nissan diesel of around 106hp, perhaps the Chrysler marine–ized version of the Nissan IDI SD33. We enlarged the rear well, added an aft cabin with an oil burning stove (plumbed off the diesel fuel return line) changed the engine read outs and repainted everything inside. We also extended the wheelhouse a bit for design reasons – that way it flowed in to the new cabin better.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 in 1980. The only wheel house changes were new instrumentation and stretching of the cabin. We kept the riginal wheel, compass, and glass. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

I don’t think we retired the compass. As I recall we had an adjuster swing it (re–powering and all the new metal demanded it). We added a new vhf but kept a bunch of stuff like the old flasher, the Iron Mike and the UHF radio (which in 1979 was still good for calling a few bridge operators when you needed a bridge opened). We kept the winch, anchor and bunks (in the engine room). We re–caulked the hull, painted her up, put on new zinc, had the propeller serviced, and used her as a cruiser. I can’t remember if we put in a refrigerator.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 in 1979 berthed at WesDel, fueled and provisioned for a cruise to Rivers Inlet. (Photo from the William Heavenor collection.)

We went cheap on the new cabin windows (a big mistake, I now think) but otherwise did decent work curving beams and matching lines. But, of course, even with double curves, an aft cabin on a double–ender is still an eyesore.

Brico 16

My brother found this image of the Brico No. 16 in the Steveston Archives. (Photo courtesy Richmond Archives collection.)

She handled well in rough seas (better than our old 40’ Edwin Monk design and much better than our 23’ Fibreform) but could be stopped in her tracks by strong rips and, once, took a quick series of heavy waves over the bow and, until power was reduced, began to make like a submarine – whole green water through the wheelhouse glass! The old Iron Mike was steering and the guy at the helm was too relaxed! Fortunately the forward hatch (skylight) was dogged down and, with power reduced, she just rose right back up and carried on – though a little more slowly than before! She was never graceful in appearance, once converted, but there were worse looking jobs than the one we did.

Brico 16

The Brico No. 16 with the mast and down–riggers still on her. (Photo courtesy Richmond Archives collection.)

She was graceful when in motion, and she was quiet. A bonus was that at a steady 5 knots or so you were left free to safely stroll around, listen to the birds and watch the sea life – which seemed pretty unconcerned as we cruised slowly past. On good days the wired remote for the Iron Mike would be passed out from the wheelhouse and you could laze in the sun on the foredeck while making the hop from one island anchorage to another. She had plenty of room and was nothing if not comfortable. And, in the winter, with the fore cabin heated by the engine, the wheel house heated by the stack and the aft cabin heated by the oil stove, if you stayed inside, you were toasty! She was sold on in the mid 1980s when my Granddad became too ill to cruise (heart problems).

To quote from this article please cite:

Heavenor, William (2016) The Brico No. 16: Fishboat, Yacht, Workboat. 2016.

New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!

Volume Four in series

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four

Book — British Columbia's Floating Heritage
For more information …

Site News: March2nd, 2019

Databases have been updated and are now holding 56,584 vessel histories (with 5,550 images) and 58,184 mariner biographies (with 3,673 images).

© 2002-2019