CORNELIA MARIE

Cornelia Marie

Captain: Casey McManus and Josh Harris

TYPE: 128-foot house aft

BUILT: 1989 — Alabama

Built in 1989, the original Cornelia Marie had an extensive rebuild in 1995 that added 21 feet to her overall length and increased her catch holding capacity to one of the highest for a crabber. She is named after Cornelia Marie Devlin, a former co-owner of the boat who handled much of the daily business of the boat's operation.

The Cornelia Marie's twin Mitsubishi engines generate 630 horsepower for a top speed of around 10 knots but they've often been an engineer's — and a captain's — worst nightmare. The Cornelia Marie has always been a boat under severe mechanical and emotional strain.

Captain Phil Harris had an incredibly close relationship with the Cornelia Marie and its crew. Whenever an issue arose with either, he was usually able to get to the root of the problem and attempt a fix.

On February 9, 2010, after three decades at the helm, the legendary captain passed away, leaving his sons — Josh and Jake Harris — and former crew to try to fend for themselves on the Bering Sea crab grounds.

In the 2010 King crab season, veteran Derrick Ray took the helm as the Cornelia Marie's relief captain but intense friction with the crew compelled him to leave. During the mid-season break, the Harris brothers invited another veteran Tony Lara to sit in the captain's chair for the 2011 Opie season. Tony had the advantage of a deep familiarity with the boat — he worked on it for many years back in the 1990s — but after Opies, the boat ended up being tied to the dock for a full year.

Now, a new era shines over the vessel as the Cornelia Marie is finally headed back to the fishing grounds. Casey McManus now captains the Cornelia, and with new owner Josh Harris by his side learning the ropes and a fresh crew on deck, they feel set up for success.

Josh isn’t the only owner of the Cornelia Marie — his brother Jake also has a share, though it remains to be seen if the younger Harris will return to the family trade. Still, at least one Harris has realized that it’s time to get his act together.

 

THE CREW

Cornelia Marie

Josh Harris
Captain/Boat Owner

A lot has happened since we last saw Josh Harris get the polite boot off the Time Bandit.

As well as being the father to a nine-month-old baby girl, Kinsley, (which makes crab fishing look like “kid stuff”) Josh can now rightfully claim the title, “boat owner.”

Although cameras were not present, 2013 King crab was the first time Josh got back on the boat, and he mainly spent his time in the wheelhouse learning from mentor, Casey McManus.

The Time Bandit had a short and smooth run without any major breakdowns, and Josh is counting on their good fortune to continue with Opies.

Being an owner has forced Josh to juggle the responsibilities of being a manager to friends, roommates, and his brother. By far, the most difficult aspect of the job is paying for it all. They weren’t lying when they said “boat” stands for “break out another thousand.”

 

Casey McManus
Captain

If you’re wondering who has been at the helm of the Cornelia Marie since Josh purchased it this past year, look no further.

Casey McManus has been running the Cornelia Marie since the summer tendering season. While the guys in our fleet got off to a shaky start during the 2013 King crab season, Casey got right on the crab up north and offloaded 90,000 pounds in less than four days.

This is of no surprise to Casey, who at the young age of 30 has been fishing with his dad (the President of Royal Vikings, Inc. — a subsidiary of Trident) since he was five, and professionally since he was 14.

Casey’s true forte is engineering, so he will also act as chief engineer on the boat. Fed up with the archaic bucket launcher system on theCornelia, Casey wagered with Josh that he could upgrade their table at a relatively cheap cost.

Between King and Opilio seasons, Casey has been working to bring the boat into the modern age on his own dime. He claims it’s only a “little weird” to teach his boss how to run a boat, but he’s definitely hesitant to give Josh the title “Relief Skipper” at this point in time — Josh is more of a “Captain-In-Training.”

 

Zack Fritz
Deckhand

Zack, who’s been fishing on and off for the last 12 years, met Captain Casey McManus while crabbing on the Southern Wind. The two have remained close ever since.

Zack recently took some time off from the Bering Sea to work as both a logger and a mechanic, but Casey called him back with the opportunity to be his right-hand man onboard the Cornelia Marie.

Having been on the boat since it started running again in the summer, Zack can say with confidence that the Cornelia crew is his favorite thus far. Well aware of his rough image, he can be a bit of a barker when things get stressful.

 

Travis Lofland
Deckhand/Cook

The oldest crew member on the Cornelia Marie, Travis has worked on both the Wizard and the Time Bandit, where he fell overboard at dock during Season 8.

That incident put a lot in perspective for Travis. He realized he didn’t want to work on deck forever, so he took a hiatus from crabbing last year. He used that time to race speedboats and start the process of acquiring his pilot’s license.

But, he couldn’t stay away from the Bering Sea for long. Once the season began and he started seeing the guys post photos on Facebook, he knew he’d be back.

On deck, Travis has an outgoing personality, but there's also a salty side to this crewman.


Jake Jolibois
Deckhand

Jake Jolibois, who learned to fish from his father, has been on the water for over 14 years. He has fished everything from salmon to cod to crab.

He once had a fierce allegiance to long-time friend Captain “Wild” Bill before parting ways with the Kodiak in Season 8. He continued his career as a crab fisherman, and spent this past summer cod fishing with Captain Elliott on the Saga, but left that boat to join the more profitable Cornelia Marie as a full-share deckhand.

Jake, Travis Lofland, and Zack Fritz found their stride during King, and he trusts Casey McManus and Josh Harris in the wheelhouse. But Jake has broken down physically and mentally on many occasions in past seasons when the going got tough, so it remains to be seen whether he can keep up for Opies.


Tim Pennington
Greenhorn

Tim’s Cornelia journey began after he hit a rough patch and got kicked out of his parent’s house.

Luckily, his brother’s friend, Josh Harris, took him in and offered him a spot tending on the Cornelia Marie last summer. Tim said “sayonara” to his job as a powder coater and welcomed in a new career on the Bering Sea.

Captain Casey McManus was so impressed with this short guy’s gumption that Tim came back for King season.

He may be a greenhorn, but “Tiny Tim” (as the boys affectionately call him) is learning his way running the coiler, prepping bags, and sorting crab. Unsure about the future, Tim is just hoping he can make enough money to get his own place in Seattle.


Cody Moen
Greenhorn

Cody just can’t get away from the cameras. Previously seen on Bering Sea Gold where Cody works for the Pomrenke clan, Cody will spend his offseason working on the Cornelia with roommates Josh Harris and Tim Pennington.

This will be Cody’s first time on a crab boat, but he’s no stranger to heavy machinery. He has an engineering degree and knows his way around an excavator.

It remains to be seen if he can handle going from being the Pomrenke’s “Golden Boy” to the Cornelia Marie’s lowly greenhorn.

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