The 1,000th Back Cove yacht produced by the company in less than 20 years.

Cameron Crawford’s new Calvin Beal 42 is getting closer. He is now down to the little details, but should be over early this summer.

Back Cove Celebrates Milestone Yacht

        Back Cove Yachts achieved a significant milestone late last month when they finished production on their 1000th yacht.

        The not-yet twenty-year-old company, located in Rockland, has built an international reputation for economical and seaworthy vessels designed in Maine’s trademark “Downeast” style. In 2003 Back Cove launched with the efficient and practical Back Cove 29, a single-engine day cruiser with streamlined and user-friendly systems. Today, Back Cove offers luxury inboard models at 37 and 41 feet and has recently added a selection of ultra-popular outboard designs ranging from 34 to 39 feet.

        Sister companies Back Cove Yachts and Sabre Yachts, located in Rockland and Raymond, respectively, are the largest boatbuilders in the state, employing more than 300 craftspeople, including carpenters, composite technicians, mechanics, and electricians. Despite a challenging year of public health crisis, a reduced workforce, and ongoing supply-chain interruptions, the team at Back Cove Yachts not only launched a brand-new model, the Back Cove 39O, but completed the 100th Back Cove 41, 200th Back Cove 37, and their 1000th overall build. Lamination supervisor, Dean Hale, had the following to say about the accomplishment:

        “It has been truly amazing to see the growth and evolution of the boats we build. Every new model that has come out has brought something new to the shop and continues to be exciting. Having been with the company for ten years, I think it is amazing to see the progress and growth that we have had in such a short time.” – Dean Hale

        In some respects, reaching 1000 completed boats denotes another kind of milestone for this relatively young company. While Back Cove yachts may have begun in 2003 as a “little sister” brand to long-established Sabre Yachts, this savvy manufacturer from Maine’s mid-coast has carved out a niche and a following of loyal customers that is on par with any other manufacturer in their segment. Today, Back Cove Yachts is a big name in the small world of luxury boatbuilders, and the team has 1000 completed yachts under their collective belts to prove it.

        The 1000th Back Cove was commissioned by one of the company’s “original” dealerships, Boston Yacht Sales. Serendipitously, Boston Yacht Sales partnered with Back Cove Yachts for a few other landmark boats, namely the first and five-hundredth Back Coves (a Back Cove 29 and Back Cove 30, respectively). Now, they will continue the tradition with the 1000th boat, the recently released Back Cove 39O.

Classic Boat, Bernard, ME

        The big projects at the yard this winter have been repowering. In the main shop they have a 24-foot powerboat that has been repowered. She had an OMC 3-liter sterndrive, but this motor coughed up some of the valve seats and instead of rebuilding the owner decided to go with an outboard. So, they removed the swim platform, rebuilt the transom, and installed a 175-hp outboard. This project was just getting the final touches before going over for the summer.

        In another bay they have a Sabre 28, which was repowered.

        In the lower shop was a Pisces 21, which was recently sold, and the new owner swapped out the diesel engine for an electric drive.

        Another Pisces had originally been sold to an owner in Japan but returned several years later. She was then sold again, but now she is back to be upgraded for her new owner in Idaho. This one has had her diesel engine removed and replaced with an electric drive.

        They have over 80 boats in storage, some classic wooden sailboats, which when you step into the building looks like a boat museum. Of the 80+ storage boats, a few of them are Bull’s Eyes, a fiberglass version of the Herreshoff 12½.

        In the storage building they have another Pisces 21, which came back from Ohio to be completely refurbished. She got a new set of batteries as well as paint and varnish and then she will head back to Ohio. All the other boats in this storage building were ready to go in for the summer. Some did not go over last year, but they had them already last spring, so that helped them get through this winter as find help has been a challenge.

        Boat sales have been good, but the inventory is light right now, with just a couple boats for sale. They have a Bavaria 30 cruising sailboat on the market as her owner does not have the ability to sail anymore. They also have a Pisces for sale, which does not have an engine and never did. She has a cold moulded hull, which is in excellent condition. Another boat for sale is PUFFIN, an Ellis 24 centre console cruiser with small cuddy and a teak cockpit. She would make a great day boat.

Mainely Built Boats, Cushing

        In the main shop they have Calvin Beal 44 hull in that they are finishing off as an offshore lobsterboat for a fisherman out on Vinalhaven. They have been working on this one just over a month. The engine is in place, but they are waiting on some mounts and the drive train is in. The bunks and hydraulic room are also in down forward. They still have another set of bunks to do along with a work bench and they had just started building the fuel tanks.

        They have Calvin Beal 34 tuna boat going to Massachusetts. They are six weeks into this project and have the engine and fuel tanks in as well as some of the accommodations down forward. The house will be raised and extended, but beyond that she will be pretty standard.

        They just pulled in an Osmond 46, which is a 42 stretched four feet and widened to 17½ feet. She is being finished out as an offshore lobster for a fisherman from Port Clyde. They had just started putting in the bulkheads, forward cabin sole and fuel tanks.

        Before this they finished off a Calvin Beal 34, which went to Boston and 29-foot powerboat was finished off for a customer from North Haven. They also had a lot of repair work this winter. A major repair job was on a Wayne Beal 36, which is used for commercial fishing (conches and lobsters) off Martha’s Vineyard. She was stripped down, including her bottom, and totally refurbished. This included a full paint job and all new metal work. The metal work included a trap rack, a ramp for sliding the conch traps down the washboards, a stern extension, and a mast with lights. This project took about three months to complete.

        The next project will be a Wesmac 38 for a customer from New York. The hull will be started in September and they will begin work on her around the first of the year. She will be finished off as an open lobster boat, but with some sportfishing features.

        There are several people talking, but everyone is being a little cautious not knowing what the regulations will be or if the economy will crash.

PAULINE, Billings Diesel & Marine, Stonington

        Over the winter Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding framed a large portion of the bow, going back as far as they felt they could without getting too far into the midship planking. For a time, they were waiting on some big timbers to finish the forward backbone pieces. These pieces finally arrived and they were able to shape and install them so the stem and the stem knee assembly is now complete. With that all bolted in place they will continue forward with the rest of the bow framing and knight heads to complete framing.

        While they were waiting first on the timbers and then bolt stock for the center line they headed back to the stern. They got the new stern post, horn timber, tail feathers in and bolted together. They have now started to reframe the pod-stern.

        What is amazing is that a lot of the framing is original, so it has lasted more than 70 years. What is more amazing it is red oak. The only reframing that has been over the years consisted of some bow work and some frames tops amidships. This means that everything else is original.

        Tim Clark of Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding said that have another project to do and must leave the end of July to get ready for that. They are hoping by the time they leave they will have the stern mostly framed up. They would love to finish the project, but Billings Diesel & Marine needs this railway freed up by September of next year (2022). Options are being weighed as to how to proceed.

The Landing School Announces New President

Sean Fawcett currently serves as Dean of Education, begins new position July 1

        The Landing School Board of Trustees announced that it has selected Sean Fawcett to serve as the school’s next president effective July 1, 2021. Fawcett joined The Landing School in 2013 as Senior Yacht Design Instructor and has served as Dean of Education since 2018.

        “I am honored to have been chosen to lead such a well-respected and storied institution,” said Fawcett. “The Landing School is a very special place and I have seen it change lives. I am very proud of the students who graduate here and go on to rewarding careers and important positions in the marine industry. Every president of the school is entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the school relevant, and it is a special privilege to have the opportunity to lead this school and our students into the future.”

        Fawcett, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, grew up sailing summers on Penobscot Bay and racing out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he began his yacht design career with Pedrick Yacht Designs in Newport, RI, where he was involved in the design of IOR maxi boat yachts as well as America’s Cup Yachts, most notably Stars and Stripes ’87. Fawcett’s career spans several industries and disciplines including yacht design, yacht construction, yacht charter and CAD/CAM software education.

        Fawcett will succeed Richard Downs-Honey who has served as The Landing School’s president since 2018 and managed the school through the turbulent waters of a global pandemic, increased enrollments, expanded our network of supporters, and steered more than 150 students through learning and into their careers. Downs-Honey, a native of New Zealand, intends to return home but will continue to be involved with The School as a guest lecturer and mentor.

        “I learned, as the students do, it’s not about the boat. We all come excited to design or build a favored boat, to work on engines, or explore the world of composites. But The Landing School is about the boatbuilders, not the boats,” said Mr. Downs-Honey. “It is truly a transformational experience for many who attend, whether fresh out of high school or switching careers. My three years here have certainly transformed me, and I leave grateful for having had the opportunity to give our students a wonderful set of rewarding opportunities in the marine industry.”

        Current board chair Haven Ladd welcomed incoming president Fawcett and praised Downs-Honey for his passion for students and the industry. “While Richard is off to foreign waters, we are grateful that he will not be far from the hearts and minds of the Landing School,” said Ladd. “And as we move forward, I know that Sean’s experience and passion will continue to build upon our mission and help propel our school into the future.”

        Founded in 1978 by John Burgess and Cricket Tupper, The School remains committed to its mission to effectively prepare men and women for careers in the marine industry. The Landing School is the first school of its type to be accredited by The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and today offers four programs of study – Wooden Boat Building, Yacht Design, Marine Systems and Composite Boat Building.

Oceanville Boat Works, Sunrise, Stonington

        In the shop they have a Mussel Ridge 54, which is being finished out as a lobster/sportfisherman for a fisherman from South Bristol. This is actually a Mussel Ridge 50, which has had four feet added above the waterline, keeping her under the regulations. She is powered with a D-16 750-hp Volvo diesel. She has accommodations below, which include four berths and hydraulic room below with a full galley up along with a settee, table, and steering station. The steering station is set up not as a split wheelhouse, but in the Canadian style with the hauling station aft of the helm. Under the platform she has three fish holds for crates with one for an insulated tuna tank. There is also a bait tank in the back of the lazarette. A lot of the interior and fiberglass work is done and it is thought she will be going over the middle of August.

        Next, they might have a complete refurbishing job on an Osmond 42. Another person with an Atlantic 40 hard-chine hull kit from New Jersey is looking to have them finish it off. Others are talking, but the commercial fishermen are on hold has they await what will take place with the windmills and Right Whale issues.

Richard Stanley, At Portland Yacht Service, Portland

        One of the big projects underway at Portland Yacht Services is replacing the bottom on a 55-foot hard chine power boat, built by Grebe in the 1950s. She is a double planked sawn frame boat, which is thought to have been lofted out by Carl Felix, who would later teach at the Boat School in Eastport. In fact, he was one of Richard Stanley’s instructors, who Richard really thought a lot of.

        This project began when the owner wanted to replace the twin 200-hp GM diesels with twin 600-hp Cummins diesels. Rob Blood was asked his opinion and he said she needed a new bottom. They started taking some of the bottom off and was going to strengthen the engine room area. Richard Stanley was called in by Brent Sullivan, Vice President, Yachting at PYS, for his opinion. Richard had the same opinion, the bottom needed to be replaced. Brent then asked if Richard could help with the project to which Richard agreed once he was done with the projects, he was working on Mount Desert Island.

        Richard arrived thinking they might be able to save the engine beds, but once that area was opened up, they saw that they were delaminating and needed to be replaced. He added, “They had 3/8-inch bolts going down through these frames that were 1¼-inch at maximum thickness and you had 3/8 of an inch gone out of them so you didn’t have much wood. They were also fractured on the outside, not good. The original plans called for 3-inch-wide frames in that area and these were only 1 1/8-inch, maybe 1¼-inch.”

        The decision was then made by the owner to do the entire bottom. Richard added, “We had the boat scanned with this laser scanner so you can have a virtual walk through of the boat, it is awesome. We are having aluminum engine beds made for it from the scan and they are going to be a perfect fit to the hull. In the engine room area, I am putting 1¾-inch thick frame and ½-inch plywood on each side of them and we’re putting another 1¾-inch frame aft of that and then we are putting another layer of ½-inch plywood on the other side of this so the frames are doubled up from the main bulkhead forward to the main bulkhead aft and with the aluminum engine beds, she will be strengthened up a lot.”

        Rob Blood and Richard are working to get this project finished as soon as they can. Les Ranco from Mount Desert Island has also joined them and this will help speed up the project.

        Along with the structural work required for the repower, the entire electrical system will be revamped. The original 32-volt system has been removed and plans drawn up for a new 12/24-volt system and updated electronics package. Yacht Systems Manager Stephanie Makoujy is overseeing the electrical and propulsion refit and working closely with Richard.

        Other aspects of the project have required quite a bit of collaborative effort. With the increase in horsepower the rudder and driveline have had to have design and size upgrades. Accutech will be supplying the props and shafts to accommodate the larger engines. ArcTech Welding will be building the rudders to specifications.

Taylor Boats, Addison

        In the lower shop they are proceeding well on a Willis Beal 44, which is being finished off as a standard split wheelhouse lobster boat. The hull was laid up in the 42 mould and has 2 feet added along with 12-inches of sheer. Down below she will have bunks and a maintenance locker and under the platform two tanks. She is powered with an 800-hp Scania. She will be launched this summer.

        In the upper shed they have just started building a Willis Beal 35, which is being finished off as a party/tuna/pleasure boat for a customer from New York. She is powered with a 430-hp Cummins with a spartan interior. The hull has been laid up and they were just beginning to lay-up the top in early June.