By Jim Callas
As a young deckhand, I had the opportunity to fish with some really awesome guys—one of whom was a fellow by the name of Capt. David Russell. Russell was fishing on a boat called the Bali Hai and was a pretty cool guy. We got to talking one day and he basically hired me on the spot for some reason and soon we were fishing every day. The Bali Hai was what was referred to as a Navy Crash boat or
AVR boat. AVR was an acronym for “air, sea rescue.” These old wooden boats were built for the navy and resembled a PT boat from WWII. Built out of double diagonal mahogany planking, powered by twin Ford Lehman diesels and had a reverse sheer line. The old AVR boats came in two sizes: 44 feet and 63 feet—we had the 44 foot version.