The Alden schooner being rebuilt by Richard Stanley and his assistant in Brunswick. The planking is nearly done and they are working on the chainplates.
This is a Mussel Ridge 46 being finished out as a commercial/pleasure cruiser for a customer from California by Farrin’s Boat Shop in Walpole. She is powered with a C-18 Caterpillar and sports a full interior. She is scheduled to be completed this spring.
Artisan Boat Works, Rockport
In the corner of the main shop, they are building a 21-foot offshore cruiser, which was designed by Tom McNaughton of Eastport. “She is heavy displacement, kind of a minimalist cruiser designed for taking one person around the world,” said Alec Brainerd, owner of Artisan Boat Works. “No engine, no thru-hulls, top speed is probably 4 knots and it has got an unstayed carbon junk rig. We are almost done planking and then it will be glassed inside and out with unidirectional glass.”
Gardner Pickering of Hewes & Company of Blue Hill cut all the stations lessening the number hours in this build.
Also in the main shop is a Buzzards Bay 25, which was built at Brooklin Boat Yard years ago. She is getting an electric drive, a torpedo pod. They are also stripping and redoing all the varnish.
Off the main shop, they are building a coaming for an Idem scow. This boat was in the shop last year and had her hull rebuilt. This year she returned to have her deck, covering boards and coamings replaced.
Coming in soon will be a 40-foot Sparkman & Stephens sloop, which was the only sailboat built by Trumpy. She is having her cockpit and cabin redone and will be repowered.
Out in the storage shed, a couple of employees are putting a new bottom in a Concordia. This means replacing the keel, stem, stern post, floors, frames, and planking.
The service bay has been seeing a constant turnover of storage boats. They come in for their usual annual maintenance and when done they are moved out and replaced with another group. Alec said about 80 boats have gone through so far, with about another 80 to go.
Bath Iron Works, Bath
Third Party Analysis Shows the Breadth of BIW’s Impact on Maine
An economic analysis released shows that General Dynamics Bath Iron Works generated $1.8 billion in economic output in 2021 and supported 11,600 jobs between direct and indirect spending including multiplier effects. The report’s authors calculate that state and local taxes paid on those wages amounts to $44 million per year.
“For generations, Bath Iron Works has had a major impact on Maine’s economy and its people, well beyond the Mid-coast region where we are located,” said BIW President Chuck Krugh. “Our employees come from every county in the state and we purchase millions of dollars in goods and services from vendors across Maine. Ensuring a healthy economic climate for businesses like BIW has far reaching implications for the overall prosperity of our state and its people.”
BIW has for years been known to be the largest manufacturer in the state, but its impact as an economic driver for Maine has not always been fully understood or clearly articulated. In 2021, the shipyard arranged for an independent analysis, structured around a five-year lookback, to assess our overall economic contribution to the state and how BIW is helping Maine address its significant workforce challenges. “The Impact of Bath Iron Works on the Maine Economy” was prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine.
The wages paid to employees and BIW’s spending on recruiting and training its workforce, coupled with BIW’s purchases from Maine businesses, make an ongoing, significant, and positive impact across the state. These impacts indicate that BIW has provided a significant return on investments made in the shipyard over the years by federal, state, and local governments.
Some key points from the analysis: BIW employees earned $380 million in 2021. BIW represents 12 percent of the state’s manufacturing workforce and 17 percent of its production GDP. Tax revenues generated by BIW wages amount to 11 times the value of the Shipbuilding Tax Credit which the state approved in 2018. Over the past five years, the shipyard hired 6,363 workers. In 2021 alone, 690 of those new employees came here from out of state.
Preserving and advancing the shipyard’s positive economic impact will require overcoming hurdles like those confronting smaller businesses, challenges like workforce housing, childcare, and transportation, Krugh said. Addressing these problems, identified as critical needs for sustainable growth by a number of studies, will require expanded public-private partnerships, he said.
“Our team at BIW produces ships that defend our nation, while the work we do also brings prosperity to our state. Investments in BIW have proven to be a win-win for our nation, our communities, and our people,” Krugh said. “As we work to make BIW an even stronger company, we look to join with other stakeholders in exploring ways to overcome the challenges facing Maine businesses and the men and women who work at them.”
The economic impact analysis and executive summary were prepared by Ryan Wallace, Ph.D. in his capacity as Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Southern Maine. They are available here.
General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; ship construction and repair; land combat vehicles, weapons systems, and munitions; and technology products and services. General Dynamics employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and generated $38.5 billion in revenue in 2021. More information about General Dynamics Bath Iron Works can be found at www.gdbiw.com. More information about General Dynamics is available at www.gd.com.
Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin
Steve White Steps Down as President; Brian Larkin Named as Successor
Longtime leader of Brooklin Boat Yard, Steve White, has stepped down as President. Steve took over the boat yard in 1990 in a step that allowed his father, the founder of BBY, to spend more time in the design office. Since then, Steve has grown the boat yard into a company of 70+ employees. Steve plans to stay on in a limited role in the sales department promoting the boat yard’s services.
Both Brian Larkin and Eric Blake will be assuming new leadership roles. Larkin, who has been with BBY since 1987, will assume the role of President while Blake will be the new Vice President, Head of New Construction.
Brian said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to continue working on Brooklin Boat Yard’s workplace culture and product diversity as well as improving its facilities.”
Eric added, “Being witness to the business that Steve created here in Brooklin has been an incredible experience. Being part of a team that’s taking it into the future is simply the best.”
Brian’s family has been in Brooklin since 1740, and as much as coastal Maine resides in Brian’s blood, so does boatbuilding. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both boatbuilders and captains, so it seems only natural that he would make wooden boatbuilding his career.
Brian started at Brooklin Boat Yard in 1987 after college, and he’s filled many different roles since. By his mid-30s, he held the job of Lead Carpenter then was Project Manager for many years. “You get to push the envelope; nothing is ever the same,” says Brian. Here, he points out the beauty of combining traditional work with modern technology. “Almost every job here demands some sort of new innovation,” says Brian.
Brian admits that managing people didn’t come easy to him, but he’s no stranger to a challenge. He’s built over forty boats while working for Brooklin Boat Yard, and every boat required problem solving.
“It’s all down to personality here,” explains Brian, “As long as you’ve got the right attitude and have an open mind, you’re our kind of crew member.”
Brian lives in Brooklin with his wife and his Great Pyrenees, Torrey. He is both a father and a grandfather.
Derecktor-Robinhood Marina, Robinhood
A major restoration is underway on a Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender for a customer from Prince Edward Island. The owner wants her to look brand new. So, in mid-January she came into the shop and they removed the bottom paint right down to the gelcoat. She will then be given a barrier coat and then two coats of ablative bottom paint. When they were removing the paint, they also found her boot top and this will be redone when they paint the rest of the hull. Her decks will be rehabbed from where hardware had been fitted and removed and then painted. She is also receiving a new rig with all new North Sails. She will be done this spring.
In another shop they have a Blackwatch 33 powerboat that had come in a couple of summer’s ago with some engine issues. The 33 was created from a smaller model and stretched and pulled into the 33. One of their issues is the windshield base, which has cracked. This is being repaired and the owner did not like the aluminum framed windows and these are being replaced. She is also getting repowered with twin-remanufactured Cummins diesel engines, along with new gears. When spring gets here, she will be launched and then they will reinstall her tuna tower.
A Beneteau 473 is in for a major electrical upgrade, which includes Lithium batteries. They are also adding a new 24-volt windlass, some rigging changes including new standing rigging, new furler and adding a bowsprit.
Presently in the paint bay they have what looks like a British Channel cutter, with bright topsides. The owner took the boat over from her grandfather and is slowly getting her cosmetics back into shape. Last year they did the hull and this year it was the inside of the bulwarks, cap-rail, and forward doghouse. Other boats heading for the paint bay are a Hinkley Sou’Wester 42, a Seaspray 33 and the Cape Dory Typhoon. There are still a couple of boats in need of having their bottoms stripped, barrier coated and then painted.
They have over 150 boats in storage this winter and that is their maximum. They are also minus their in-the-water storage as they are in the process of replacing pilings as needed and their docks. They have met with a local dock company and this should be started a little later this winter.
Out on a mooring is the schooner MARY E., owned by Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. She normally winters at their dock, but with the marina docks being replaced, the Museum had a 6,000-pound block placed off the marina for the winter. This block will be moved later in the spring so as not to interfere with the regular summer mooring customers.
The marina project is scheduled to take two years to complete so it is thought that they will be able to offer winter berths on the dock in 2024.
Eaton’s Boat Shop, Deer Isle
Owner of Eaton’s Boat Shop, Jeff Eaton, had his arm twisted by Stewart Workman of S. W. Boatworks of Lamoine to finish off a Calvin Beal 30 for a customer from New York. Jeff had planned to lay-up one or two of his 25s, but he agreed to the project. After he was done lobstering for the season after the holidays the hull and deck was moved into the shop. S. W. Boatworks blocked off the full keel by inserting a stop in the keel making it much smaller, not as deep, as this boat will be fitted with an outboard. The owner now has a Mitchell Cove 20 with a 150-hp outboard that he uses to day cruise with his wife and friends on the upper part of the Hudson River. They have found that when there is a sou’west wind on the river that causes a little chop there can be a lot of spray coming onboard. They figured that they needed a little bigger boat that also could come with some creature comforts, like a V-berth and a head. Jeff added that the owner has not seen the boat yet and was not sure he realized how much bigger she is compared to his current one as the 30 is a lot bigger.
Jeff and his brother Tim were putting down the deck (just wash rails) and attaching it to the hull with pieces of mat and woven. “After this we will put the rails on,” said Jeff, “then we will sand that up and gelcoat up underneath and then put the bulkheads in every four feet along with the floor flange and the I-beams.”
They have also been working on stiffening up the transom. “It is solid,” explained Jeff. “It came solid glass about 5/8″ thick and then we sanded it all up and took some straight edges and found some lows and filled them. We built it up about ¾ of an inch and then we put a triple ounce and a half mat down and clamped ¾-inch Coosa to that and then after that dried, this morning we sanded the inside and doubled matted another Coosa board on that. She will be about 3¾-inches thick, which should be strong enough for the 425-hp outboard.”
They are also taking fiberglass and rolling it down onto the hull from the transom, about 50-inches, to add even more strength. On the side of the transom, they are adding angle pieces to add even more stiffness. Under the platform they will have a 4-inch PVC pipe for the wiring harness as these outboards are controlled electronically.
The head will be down under the center console and the V-berth up in the bow. On the front of the center console there will be a bench seat. There will be no hardtop on the center console, but there will be a canvas sprayhood over the forward section to give protection to the V-berth. Corey Esposito of Surry is fabricating a 150-gallon aluminum fuel tank which he will epoxy. She will also sport 40-gallons of freshwater and an on-demand saltwater pump for cleaning up.
When this is all done, she will be heading over to Glendon Stanley’s shop to be Awlgripped, the topsides being Cynthia blue.
When the 30 is out for paint, in comes Clayton Joyce’s ALYSSA NORENE, a Wayne Beal 36 lobster boat, which was damaged while anchored by another boat that broke free of her mooring in a gale. The damage starts at the bow, comes down the side and somehow the other boat fetched up and heavily damaged the starboard stern quarter and the aluminum stern extension. Thompson’s Welding of Deer Isle, who built the extension, will come in and make those repairs. The big job will be taking the stern apart so they can repair the fiberglass damage. Jeff thought that they should not be more than a couple of weeks making the repairs and then she will be re-launched so Clayton can start his spring fishing.
Farrin’s Boat Shop, Walpole, ME
In the second bay of the main shop is a Mussel Ridge 46, which is being finished out as commercial fish/cruiser for a customer from California. She has a hydraulic bow thruster, stern thruster, windlass, 14-inch hauler, number 9 Seakeeper gyro, trim tabs, 850-gallons of fuel, 125 gallons of water, tanks under the deck, live well, a 12kW generator, full accommodations forward and is powered with a C-18 Caterpillar. Her forward accommodations include a queen berth forward, double bunks to starboard, a separate head with separate shower to port, and a full galley up in the shelter along with a Stidd helm seat and a settee.
Presently they are enclosing the inside under the wash boards for additional storage. Once these are done, she is ready for paint and then they will be ready to put the rest of her together. The moulded top was customized. They moved the windshield back 18-inches, added length onto the house sides and top and then raised the top a couple of inches.
This boat will be doing some commercial fishing, but the owner’s boys love sportfishing. She will be fitted with 20 rocket launchers, 8 rod holders and an open stern.
This boat will be done this spring.
In the front shop is a Mussel Ridge 42 that is being finished out as a cruiser/sportfish. Her accommodations include a double V-berth, hanging locker, head with a full shower, utility room with a reverse osmosis water maker, electrical locker, and rod storage. Up in the shelter is a full galley with a built-in freezer, microwave, refrigerator, and convection top; a Stidd seat at the helm and a settee.
She is powered with a 1,150-hp C-18 Caterpillar and has a 6kW Northern Lights generator. She also has air conditioning, bow thruster, pot hauler and a rebel winch on the bow. For fishing she will be fitted with rocket launchers, outriggers, rod holders, bait tank in the stern, and a tackle station.
This boat will also be finished and over this spring.
Padebco Custom Boats, Round Pond
In the shop by the water, they have two new Padebco 23s under construction. One is nearly complete and just waiting for the teak to be put on and the other is in the beginning stages of having its hull laid up. Then there is a 13-foot sailing peapod, which they are finishing for Bay of Maine Boats and next to this is a major repair job on a Carolina Skiff.
The Carolina Skiff was being used to transport lumber out to an island last summer. While she was beached a wake bounced her up and down on the rocks causing the rails to be pushed up into the boat. The operator did not notice the damage and a couple of days later when he gave the boat more throttle she hardly moved. He discovered that the hull was full of water and brought it to Padebco for repairs. The yard removed the water and did a quick fiberglass repair job to seal the hull because the company needed the boats as soon as they could get it back. When their season ended they brought her back and while I was there they had removed the deck forward of the center console. This exposed the foam between the inner and outer hulls and several thin fiberglass bulkheads, which was then removed. Without structural bulkheads the hull was flexing and this caused a breakdown of the foam and thin bulkheads. The thought was to remove the entire deck as well as the foam and put in structural bulkheads to give proper support to stiffen the hull. They will then put down a plywood deck covered with a heavy layer of fiberglass making sure that everything is supported. This project should be completed the end of winter.
Also, in this shop they have been bringing in projects that need to have fiberglass work done. These are usually smaller jobs and they do this before they start the new construction boats.
In the shop away from the shore, they have a Talaria 36, which has been having her engine overhauled. Unfortunately, the owner passed away and they are awaiting word from the estate as to what their plans are. Next to her is a Bruckman 29, followed by a Shearwater 38, a Carroll Lowell/Jeff Gray cold moulded pleasure cruiser, a Padebco 29 and Padebco 32. Each of these are in for their annual maintenance and when completed they will be moved out and replaced with another set of storage customers needing their annual maintenance. To the side there is a Padebco 21, one of five, which is in for a refit. Another is in the paint bay waiting to have her topsides painted. The third new Padebco 23 is in this shop just getting her outboard, some joiner work and electronics put on. Next to her is a Bridge’s Point 24 sailboat, which lost her rudder. Bridge’s Point Boat Company in West Tremont is making a new stainless one and that will be installed as soon as it arrives. While they wait for the rudder, they are doing all her brightwork and polishing the hull.
John Williams Boatyard, Hall’s Quarry
One of the major projects this winter is doing a retrofit on a RP 40 split wheelhouse lobster boat that was purchased by a local summer customer. The new owner wants her to look just like a lobster boat but put a comfortable interior down below and up in the split wheelhouse. They will be making repairs to the platform and then build some furniture in the pilothouse and down below. The boat is powered with a 625-hp Cummins, which is a little loud. They are going to add some Soundown and a muffler, but also a soft overhead in the pilothouse and down below. The major project this winter will be to move some of the hydraulics and electronics around and add a head and shower. There is a V-berth and that will be finished out and cushions made for it. In the pilothouse they will move the electronics for better visibility and then add a wrap-around settee. They will also add a L-shaped teak bench seat on the backside of the split wheelhouse and then put down a new deck coating. She will be done this spring.
BOOMERANG, a Cal 39, is nearing the end of a major overhaul. Last year they took the deck off and resealed it, put back the toe and rub rails and rebedded all the deck hardware. The engine arrived late last year and that is being installed. They have also redone the overhead, cabin sides, added refrigeration and replaced all the seacocks.
In the paint bay this fall they did Awlgrip jobs on a MJM 36 and a Morgan 35. The MJM also had her non-skid redone.
Other projects are a Wesmac 38 is in getting a starboard side cockpit door and maybe have her hull Awlgripped; a Stanley 38 is in for a new pilothouse deck and new windows; a Stanley 36 is getting new windows and a generator; and a Garbon 34 has hull lamination issues, so they are removing the engine and drive train to address this problem. Once everything is out, they will let her dry out and then put in a new laminate. This will be followed by soda blasting the bottom and doing external repairs.
Lowell’s Boat Shop, Amesbury, Massachusetts
I have made a few mistakes and one was not visiting this shop sooner. I got together with Graham McKay, who heads the shop and got the full tour, which was extremely interesting. Graham came to the shop about 15 years ago, not thinking he was going to stay very long. He has been waiting for the opportunity to build something different, but that time has never come. There were times when it looked like there was going to be an opening and just before the opening arrived so did another bunch of orders. Graham added, “We are a working museum so the shop is open all the time to the public. The main floor is our building floor, our functional boat shop. Downstairs is our static museum, which gets people oriented to our history. Over there is a Haven 12½ that our apprentices have been building for 5 years. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after 3:00, we have about 8 or 10 senior apprentices come in who are high school kids and know the drill. There are 5 or 6, we call junior apprentices, who are just getting a taste of it.”
The first boat we came to is an Irish seine boat, which is being built for a customer who lives in Boston, but also has a place in Ireland. He needs the boat to cross a small body of water. Graham added, “This is basically his ferry boat. He had an old one that was built probably in the 1920s or ‘30s in Ireland. He used it as a fishing boat, but it is worn out. The lines were taken off about 20 years ago and now we are replicating it. We are building it in black locust and white oak. They built his boat to be heavy. He wants to be able to step on the rail and not have it too tippy. The first three strakes are going to be oak and then we are going to cedar after that. With the sawn locust frame and some oak planks, it is going to be plenty heavy. He was just asking me about oars. ‘Yeah, you probably need a pair if you want to row this thing, but God bless ya.’
They also have two Mohonk Skiffs underway, which they have been building since the late ‘70s. Graham explained, “We have been building skiffs for the Mohonk Mountain House out in New York State. They have got 10 or 12 of them out there and they periodically need to be serviced. They service them, but sometimes they get a little bit beyond their capabilities. One has been re-topped and re-bottomed. There is also a new one, this one is actually being built by one of our apprentices.”
“This design is what we would call a Merrimac Rowing Skiff,” continued Graham. “All of these flat bottom lapstrake designs that we build here are all in-house designs. All the patterns for these boats have existed here for 150 years and so this particular boat was one that they kind of made up out of several other kinds of boats back in the late 70s for the Mohonk Mountain House. They wanted something that was stable and this was the design that they came up with. This boat would typically be a little narrower and have three planks, but they made it a little bit wider by adding an extra plank and its higher sided. It looks a lot like the other boats that we would build.”
The main stay of business was building dories. The founder was Simeon Lowell, who purchased the property in 1793. They have one of the ledgers from 1805 and at that time they were building wherries and ship boats. In the ledger the first mention of a dory was in 1814 and over the years this was the predominate boat they built. In 1897 they built 915 and the big year was 1911 when 2,029 went out of the shop. Graham added, “The assembly line started up here, bottom, frames, stem, transom, and planks and on the other side of the shop they’d kind of do the finish work. When done it was out the door. They’d send them out and lower them down to the deck and bring them in and paint them downstairs. Think of the stacks of dories that must’ve been around this place and this wasn’t the only place doing this, there were another 4 or 5 places. There was a guy named Arthur True. Have you heard about the True Rocket? I think the hurricane of ’38 blew the roof in and they moved somewhere else. Then Frank Morrill had a shop. There was another guy Kenniston. Another Morrill had a shop down here and then there were a couple smaller ones up there.”
At the time they were building large numbers of dories there was just 8 or 9 workers. Graham thought that the mills may have built the parts. At the time there were several carriage builders and when the automobile made its debut these mills may have been looking for work to keep their employees busy. Graham said, “There were like 7 or 8 carriage manufacturers and when the automobiles started to come in, I think they re-tooled up and made dory pieces. That is the only way you could do it.”
There are photographs of the dories stacked ten high waiting to be shipped. The Lowell’s even maintained a warehouse down in Gloucester near the Burnham Railway where the schooners could pull right up and load them. There is a tale and I don’t know how accurate this is, that Tinky Lowell would row a string of dories down. They’d put 10 of them together and he’d start here and he’d row behind Plum Island and down around through the Annisquam. If you have ever rowed and tried to tow something, it is impossible, so, I think that is bull.”
For those that head down I-95 and go across the Merrimack River, this shop is just upriver in the bend. If you ever are in the area, it is worthy of a stop.