Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding, Belfast, ME
The former oyster schooner A. J. MEERWALD, which sails out of Port Norris, New Jersey more specifically Bivalve, arrived in Belfast for a major rebuild. She was hauled out at Front Street Shipyard and moved to a section of the town’s parking lot right next to Front Street Shipyard’s Building 5 and a temporary building was built over her.
Tim Clark added, “This project has been in the works for the last couple of years. The organization Bay Shore Center at Bivalve, who owns the boat, reached out for shipwright consultants a couple of years ago and we went down and had a look at the boat. We then drafted a proposal for restoration work. She was restored as a period correct oyster schooner in the mid-1990s and has been running hard as an educational boat ever since. She was due for her next round of restoration work, which is basically everything deck level. The hull is in decent shape and that is what we told them during our initial assessment. However, to maintain structural soundness of the topsides, we are going to have to do quite a bit of work up on deck. There was a lot of water egress and there was some rot, some broken deck beams, and things like that. They put together a fundraising campaign over the last two or three years and got the money together through state funding and private donations. They then put together a plan to get her up here and do the work through the winter in between their sailing seasons. The goal is to launch her in June, but as is always the case, when we started tearing her apart, we discovered more. The biggest roadblock has been the transom. We were hoping not to get too far into that but the more we dug in the more it became clear that she just needed a whole new transom. That was the biggest surprise or the biggest change in the project. Otherwise, everything else was as expected in terms of the scope of rotten wood and stuff that we thought we would find.”
On deck they had to replace nine or ten stanchions and all the deck houses. Tim added, “The aft cabin that we tore off was original from 1928, it was the only thing other than the keel that was original. It had been patched together over the years and so we advocated for all new deck structures. We did a couple of new laminated deck beams and then we had to shim and re-fair the entire deck. The covering boards were messed up and they were holding water because they were at the wrong angle.
The is no work on the interior to do, but in the aft cabin they will retain the vertical V-matched on the bulkhead. Tim explained, “We did not have to touch that but all the way around the cabin the rest of it had to come off. We also took out the original house top beams which are yellow pine. We worked with the New Jersey Historical Trust to come up with a plan to carefully remove all that and put it into the new structure. That is the only thing on the inside that we are doing. The top will have to be all new decking there was no way to save the old decking.”
There are just a few months left until June arrives and Tim does not think by looking at what is left that they will go beyond July or early August, but they are still hoping for her to go over in June.”
Before they started this project, they had been working on rebuilding the sardine carrier PAULINE at Billing’s Diesel & Marine in Stonington. They left to do this project, which had been scheduled before they took the PAULINE project on. They have not yet heard if the funds have been raised to continue the PAULINE project, which has become a full restoration endeavour.
Farrin’s Boat Shop, Walpole, ME
The Wayne Beal 36 is done and was shipped down to Gamage’s Shipyard in South Bristol and put in a heated storage shed. She will be going over mid-spring.
A Mussel Ridge 46 hull and top has been brought into the back bay of the main shop. She is going to be finished out as a pleasure/semi-commercial boat for a customer from Santa Barbara, California. She will be powered with a 1150-hp C18 Caterpillar diesel engine, with 850 gallons for fuel, 150 gallons of water, a Seakeeper gyro, tuna door, a 14-inch hauler and an open transom. The interior will be comfortable with a full berth forward, a stateroom with upper and lower pipe berths, with head and separate shower. Up in the shelter will be the galley, settee, and helm station. The owner still hauls crab traps, Farrin’s normally builds their own top, but this one is one produced by Hutchinson Composite of Cushing for this model. However, Bruce Farrin said, “We are moving the windshield back two feet, changing the angle a bit, and extending the main salon back a couple of feet. This is still a family boat and eventually he might want to go as far as Washington State back and forth.
In the front bay they had a Holland 38, which they built 21 years ago for the present owner of West Point. She was in to be repowered. They removed a QSM 11 Cummins, which was the original engine with about 30,000 hours and they put in a 700-hp Scania. They also painted the hull and super structure, decks, interior bulkheads, rebuilt the hauler, updated the wiring, installed a new shaft, bearings from R. E. Thomas and new rudder. Bruce Farrin, the owner, added, “He spent the money originally to do a synthetic core and back then we were using aluminum framing for the cockpit, that was the Cadillac of construction and it paid off for him. We replaced hatches and so forth just because they were worn out, but the cockpit was fine.”
The Holland 38 was going to be done by the first week of March and she would go to Gamage’s Shipyard in South Bristol to be launched. They were then bringing in a Mussel Ridge 42, which they are finishing off as a sportfisherman for a customer from New Jersey. She is getting powered with a 1,150-hp C-18 Caterpillar. She is going to have a nice interior with forward, berth, stateroom with berths and head with separate shower. The galley will be up in the shelter with a settee and helm station.
In between the two Mussel Ridges they will be bringing in a RP 40, which they are repowering with a 700-hp Scania. She was originally powered with a 700-hp C-18 Caterpillar. This boat was in three or four years ago and had a thorough going over.
Fitzgerald Marine, Rockland, ME
For those that go around the boatbuilding shops and/or going out looking at boats already out there you will learn the meaning of quality. The details of the finish and wiring tells a lot as does peeking under the platform to see if everything is accessible. It is all about details and when I got a tour of ZORA, a Calvin Beal 44 super-wide (18-foot beam), being finished out as a sportfisherman for two brothers from Cohasset, Massachusetts, this was a step above a lot of others.
Mark Fitzgerald, better known as a naval architect, decided to go into the boatbuilding business about eight years ago, but still does some design work when asked. Right now, he is designing a 56-foot sailboat. Mark had designed this boat for the owners and when they had a problem with another finisher, he said in a weak moment bring it over. This Calvin 44 arrived as just a hull and top five years ago. She is powered with a C-18 Caterpillar and a quick look in the engine room at the wiring and it is run perfectly. Mark added, “One of the big deals about this unlike most boats everything in it can be accessed, removed, and repaired. The boat was basically built from the inside out unlike a lot of boats. You go down in the engine room and see there has been a huge effort, every system has been engineered, every system was drawn and designed and unlike most of these Downeast boats they are just winging it, there is no winging here.”
For accommodations she has a V-berth, with a head to port and shower to starboard. The shower is larger than most and that is so they can hang up wet foul-weather gear.
Most of all the work on this boat has been done by Mark, especially when they were shut down for COVID. Mark was in the shop for 10 months and does not think anyone else came in even to visit. Fortunately, there has been help and at times there has been up to three people working on the project.
The two brothers have had five other boats, but this one is to be their dream boat. They have been tuna fishing for years and knew exactly what they wanted. The fish offshore about 200 to 250 miles and stay out for three days at a time. Unfortunately, they thought that this project would take a couple of year and they sold their boat. They did not figure on the pandemic and supply issues, but she is close to being ready for the water and the plan is to launch her early this summer. The major aspect left to do is get as much of the joinery work done as possible. What is not finished when June arrives will be done next winter when she comes back,
Up forward is HARD TO GET, A Glas-Spec 35, which is in for an interior. The interior is roughed in and waiting for trim, which will be started when ZORA leaves for the summer.
Holland Boat Shop, Belfast, ME
A Holland 38 was just shipped to her owner in York, who will be finishing the mechanical and system hook-ups. Owner Glenn Holland said she had been finished out as a tuna boat and was about 75 percent finished.
In the shop they have a 32 and 38 they are working on. The 38 will be finished out as a pleasure cruiser for a customer from San Diego, CA. She is going to be well appointed with some wood trim. The 32 is also going out as a finished pleasure boat for a New York customer. The owner is going to use her for a little fishing and maybe a tender to his bigger boat. Originally, she was supposed to be simple, but Glenn has heard rumblings from the owner about head, galley, and other things. Both of these boats will be powered with a 550-hp Cummins diesel engine. One engine is at the shop and the other probably will not show up until June. They are waiting on a gear. Glenn is hoping that the 32 goes over early summer.
There are also another three 32s on order, all pleasure boats and all need to be finished before leaving.
They have been kicking out their 14s, but the orders are coming faster than they can build them. Right now, they have twelve to do. There is one on the main shop floor and another in the lay-up shop ready to come over.
Glenn has been working on fairing the 20, but still has a way to go.
Glenn said he is happy with his crew but could use a couple more people. Glenn added that they have already started growing their own crew, pointing to Gavin Holland, who’s wife just had a baby.
Wesmac, Surry, ME
In the layup shop they have a Wesmac 50, which they will be partially finishing before she gets shipped to California. They finished laying up another Wesmac 50, which they widened three feet and extended the topsides five feet on the stern above the waterline and shipped to Little River Boat Shop in Cutler mid-January. They said they it was more involved than they thought it would be, but she came out really nice. They only thing they wish they had done was take a mould off it. After the 50 in the layup shop is done, they have another to do, which will be a commercial boat for an out of state fisherman.
In one bay they have a 1997 Wesmac lobster boat, which is getting new fuel tanks and platform and cosmetic work. She originally fished out of Cushing but was sold to a fisherman from York Harbor.
In another bay they have a 42, which they will be sending out as a kit boat. There is also a 38-kit boat being worked on in Bay #1, and this one will be shipped to Mainely Boat in Cushing soon.
They also have in the shop a 46 and a 42, which are being finished out as a sportfish boats. They will have different interior arrangements, but both are powered with 1150-hp Scanias.
In another bay they are nearing completion on a 54 walkaround, which they are doing for the City of Bridgeport. She will be going outside the end of March or early April to have her enclosed flybridge put on.
They also have worked to do on Linda Greenlaw’s ERNEST, which is a wooden boat. They have removed planks under the hauling patch and these will be replaced. Linda’s other boat SELECT, which they finished last spring for chartering and is down at the shore. KODIAK is also down there and she needs a refit before going back over.
York Marine, Rockland, ME
A York custom twin jet cruiser, which they built in 2005, is in to be repowered and that meant a number of other changes needed to be made. She had twin 440-hp Yanmars and these have been removed and will be replaced 540-hp FPTs. They have had to refit the engine room by upgrading the engine stringers with carbon, change the electrical system and add lithium-ion batteries, pull the genset, rebuilt it and re-install, build, and install a new exhaust system, build a new air duct system for the engines, and then put down a new cabin sole in the salon. Owner Mike York said, “We couldn’t raise the cabin sole. The Yanmars were tight to start and we had to fit bigger engines into the same package. We tore the engines down to the narrowest point to shoehorn them in the boat with a custom-built carrier. The air intake systems had to be modified to feed the bigger engines, which necessitated coming through the transom. We are also adding new electronics and that means modifying the dash on the flybridge.” She is nearing completion and will be going over the beginning of May and delivered to her owners in Northeast Harbor in June.
In the other bay they have a Young Brothers 44, which they have modified. The hull has been cut so they could add tumblehome and the cabin has been altered. They built a mockup of the cabin and the owner flew up and liked what he saw. She is being finished out as a sportfisherman for a customer from Grenada and should be out this summer or early fall.
They also have three York 18s sold with one on the floor needing to go out this spring.
They have a number of other smaller job including rebuilding a couple jets on a Hinckley, put a transom door in a new power boat that Scott Edgerly built; rig a Hinckley sailboat up with an aft traveler, and restore a Donzi and a Side Winder, both old production boat.