The Wheeler 55 with her shelter on at Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin. She is scheduled to be launched early summer.

This is a 32-foot walkround powerboat under construction at Hylan & Brown in Brooklin. She was designed by Matthew Smith for a customer from Rockport, Maine.

Just launched by Fogg Boat Works of North Yarmouth is the aluminum VJ MILL III, running on the Royal River in Yarmouth.

Bass Harbor Boat, Bernard, Maine

        The big winter project this year was on a 1961 Ronald Rich built boat, which they had done a major restoration on several years ago. However, they did not do anything with the shelter at the time and this was now in need of some serious work. The exterior and interior is all bright and all the varnish that was left was stripped. They then painted most of this, but did leave some varnish. The glass was removed and new glass was installed and rebedded. Just before she was ready to go out of the shop, they noticed that one of the aluminum fuel tanks had a slight leak. Rich Helmke said that when they did the restoration they made it worker friendly. They were able to remove the engine and the tanks, which were on each side of the engine, just slid them to the middle and pop them out. It took just four hours to get the tanks out. They were shipped to Cory Esposito’s in Surry to be replaced.

        Now in the shop they have a 1980s Chummy Rich built cruiser that they are repowering. She had a small block Chevy and this is being replaced with a 250-hp 4 cylinder Yanmar diesel. Last year they did a lot of work on the hull as she had not been in the water for 10 years. The owner knew he wanted to go with a diesel last year so it was ordered then and was at the shop waiting to go in when she came back in the fall. The engine had been replaced before and whoever had done the work had cut the bulkhead and the cabin top, which needed to be redone. Rich added this boat was custom built for a customer from Long Island, New York and had a different look. He said that they are turning her into a Downeast trawler style boat, similar to a Pembo trawler.

        In another bay they have a Bunker & Ellis 36, which is in for regular maintenance. She will be followed by a Bunker & Ellis 42.

        They are already booked for next year. The major project with be a total rebuild on the 36-foot Robert Rich boat built in the ‘50s. Also, the boat that they are working on now, the owner wants more work done next year, which will include the cabin. The cabin was built of plywood, which they will fiberglass and then add a sliding side door at the helm.

Billings Diesel & Marine, Stonington, Maine

        There is always a lot going on here. You walk into the mechanical shop and there are engines everywhere. Some new, some being rebuilt. It is an amazing place and always one of the first places to call if you cannot find a part for your engine.

        In the work bay is the Maine Marine Patrol’s boat MAINE. She is in getting repowered. They are removing a 800-hp 3406E Caterpillar and replacing it with a MAN. They need to do some modifying to make this work. This boat will then have an A-frame and winch added as she is being turned over to Carl Wilson of the science division.

        The Hurricane Island boat VIGILENCE is getting a new deck installed and NOR’EASTER, a William Hand motorsailer, is getting her annual maintenance done on the inside railway.

        Alfred Osgood’s STARLIGHT EXPRESS III from Vinalhaven, was in for some fiberglass work. She is finished and gone.

        There is still a large backlog of repowers. There is a BHM 36 coming up from New Jersey and another boat from Massachusetts to get repowered. Greg Sanborn, head of Mechanical Shop, said “Lots of repowers, a lot of repairs. Lobstering is still holding out really good for us. It is still king for my work, no question about it.”

        The building is full of storage customers and these all need some degree of work. This will keep them more than busy the rest of the spring and into summer. When the weather warms the calls start coming in asking for their boat, so most yards pray for snow this time of year.

Flowers Boat Shop, Walpole, Maine

        There are two boats being finished off in the main shop. The first is a Flowers 38, which is being finished as a charter boat for a customer from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Everything under the platform is in and they were getting wiring finished and then the platform would go in. She is powered with an 800-hp Scania. For accommodations she has a queen berth forward with head and separate shower. She is scheduled to go over this summer.

        The other one is a Flowers 43, which is being finished as a cruiser/sportfisherman for a customer from New Hampshire. She is powered with a 900-hp 16 litre Scania. This one is a lot more complicated with a stateroom forward, very large master head, guest stateroom with a separate head. There is a mid-level full galley, and up in the shelter is an L-shaped settee with another settee on the opposite side and helm station. She even sports a retractable swim platform.

        In the lower shop is a 38-foot Flowers sportfisherman they built six years ago for a customer from Newburyport, Massachusetts. She is back for general maintenance and some minor repairs.

        With the backlog done, next, they have another Flowers 38 to do.

Friendship Boat Works, Friendship, Maine

        Ready to go out the door was MELANIE MARIE II, a Young Brothers 33 lobster boat for a local owner. When asked if he had finished her off originally at Young Brothers in Corea, Randy Young, manager of the shop, said, “I have never finished off a 33. I think this one was finished by a Lash in the ‘80s. It could have been Philip because it’s from the ‘80s.” She had eyebrows on the trunk with overhangs on the shelter top and all that was retained as the owner liked the style. When she arrived, they took the trunk and wheelhouse off and ripped out all of the wiring. They changed the windows slightly, added a visor and put a berth down below as the owner would like to do some tuna fishing. They then painted the hull and top.

        On the other side of the shop was the Wayne Beal 46 ISAAC & COLBY. They had painted one side last year and this year they are painting the other side. They used Easy Epoxy, which they just roll and tip. Randy said they do two or three coasts and it flattens out fairly well. He added not to do it outside, or if it is a big boat, as the paint dries too fast. ISAAC & COLBY looks a lot bigger than others as she sports a large custom-made house with a big motor (1,200-hp MAN) under the platform. When she arrived, they removed one of the lifting rails as it was leaking. They drained the rope locker and sealed that back up. They checked the exhaust system, made some supporting brackets and replaced the exhaust tube on the portside. In making the repair to the exhaust they had to rip up the rubber flooring, which they replaced. They then reinforced that davit and did some gel-coating.

        Next, they have a couple of repair jobs coming in.

Hylan & Brown, Brooklin, Maine

        The 32-foot Matthew Smith designed walkaround cruiser is getting nearer to completion for their repeat customer. The owner loved his other boat, but found it smaller and with not as many bells and whistles as he would like. He wanted more comfort, range and speed. Ellery Brown, part-owner of Hylan & Brown, said, “By displacement this boat is three times bigger, maybe 11,000 pound boat and the other was 3,250 pounds. When you are sanding it you feel every one of those 11,000 pounds. Some of the keys for him were he wanted to go all in on systems and technology. This is a day boat essentially, but we got a gyro, zip wake trim tabs, twin Yamahas outboards with joystick controls and a thruster.”

        They started with the passageway in the centre, but being an avid fisherman he really liked the walkaround. Ellery added, “This boat isn’t for fishing. This is for picnicking and just cruising the coast. This, the wraparound seating, we took from the last boat and it is for entertaining. We started with a sort of center console idea, which evolved into more of a pilothouse, with sliding doors on the side. Down below is a single berth, not really for overnighting, may be a nap, and a simple head. Then just acres of varnish. The whole teak deck is varnished, the shelter is all varnished. Everything you see here [shelter] is veneer, none of this is solid wood construction. He is veneering the bulkhead and the dash right now. It is a pain in the ass to build but easy to maintain. Really this is a day boat.”

        In the front of the shop they have a L. Francis Herreshoff designed Rozinante, modified by Doug Hylan (a little beamer and a yawl not a ketch), which they built in 2001. Ellery added, “This one is actually kind of a funny story. When it was new we put an electric motor in it, an Elco. She went one season and the owner said forget this. He did not come back to us for it, but he put in a Nanni diesel. Twenty years later that diesel developed some problems and I said, ‘We have been doing more electric stuff and I said you want to give electric another go?” and he agreed. In those 20 years, a lot has changed, most specifically battery capacities. So, she is getting a new electric auxiliary motor and lithium ion battery.”

        In the side shop they have another electric powered boat, which is heading to a homeowner on Craig Pond. The owner lives in an area on the lake that is not accessible except by water. The original design was done by Harry Bryan and called TROUT, but with modifications. The bottom is plywood and the topsides are riveted cedar planks finished bare. For power, she sports an electric motor with a steering console and will have a top speed of 8 or 9 knots. This will be perfect for a lake about a mile in diameter. Ellery added, “He is never going to burn through his battery bank, so it is a good application. Not every application is. We are doing a lot of electric applications, but we are trying not to push it in sectors where it is not appropriate. You want to make sure it is a good fit, otherwise people would just be disappointed.”

        In the paint shop is another Rozinante and they did a frame repair and put a new transom in an Albury runabout.

        Recently they hired two people and that should ease up the spring workload a bit. They did this by simply putting a sign out by the road saying “hiring.” They now have 11 people on staff, which is the highest it has been since Ellery joined the company. It also seems that more people are looking to work. Still, there is a lack of workers, but it seems like it might be turning around a bit.

Long Cove Marine, Deer Isle, Maine

        This is mostly an engine company and always is extremely busy.

        Inside the main shop is the lobster boat CAPTAIN JACK, owned by a fisherman from Stonington. She had a C9 Caterpillar and this is being replaced with a QSL9 Cummins. To make the change they needed to make some modifications. One being they are now driving the steering off the back of the gear.

        Next to her is MISS WHITNEY, a 40+ year old Stanley 44, in to be repowered. She had a C18 Caterpillar and this is being replaced by a 750-hp John Deere with a new Twin Disc gear. They are also replacing that shaft, which has probably 50,000 hours on it. They gutted the engine room and then cleaned it. They changed her from keel cooled to dry exhaust and made some other minor adjustments for the new engine. There is still some glass work to do and then they need to redo the rubber Duraback deck.

        Before these two, another lobster boat, an Osmond 35, was in for a 1,000-hp FPT. They put down a whole new plywood platform and then rubber decking.

        Another boat that was in was a Mussel Ridge 46, WORKHORSE, which was getting ready to go over the end of April. This boat started at Hutchinson Composites in Cushing six years ago. Then she went to Boricua Boat Works in Steuben and then Berwick before coming to Deer Isle. This is not a simple boat, a high end sportfisherman for a customer from Texas. She arrived at Long Cove last August and they worked on her when time allowed. Much of the time was trying to figure out what someone else had done. Finally, they were able to straighten her out and she was now ready for the water.

        They had also done a lot of work on the new Calvin Beal 44 coming out of Oceanville Boat Works in Sunrise, which was scheduled to be launched 9 May.

        Out in the yard they have a lobster boat getting a 330-hp John Deere.

        There were a number of other lobster boats in the yard that need some degree of work done before they could go back over for the season.

Strout’s Point Wharf Co., South Freeport, Maine

        This has to be one of the best storage yards for wooden boats. It is amazing the type of boats they have in storage and the degree of finish they have. Some might think they are fiberglass as they are that smooth.

        They are just finishing up repairs on HER NIBS, formerly BERNADETTE, built by John’s Bay Boat Co. of South Bristol in 2005. She went up on the rocks last summer and damaged 12 feet of her keel. They needed to replace the keel bolts and this entailed removing the platform and tanks. She is back together and ready to be launched for her new owners of Belfast.

        SALT SPRAY, a 36-foot Downeast hull, had rot in her aft sole. They replaced this with Coosa board and then put down a teak deck. They also did some bilge work, added sound proofing and resealed the tanks.

        A Concordia 41 arrived with a new owner and it was discovered that she needed repairs made to her stern post. Instead of removing the planks, they did this from inside the boat. They made the repair and then tied it to the horn timber. This was a big job, which they hope did not put them too far behind this spring.

        Now it is time to get the storage customers ready for the upcoming season. They store mostly wooden boats and that means a little more attention needs to be paid them.

        As for engine sales, they are moving a lot of Honda outboards.

        This year had some exceptional storms, with very high storm surges. Strout’s Point has decided to slowly raise the surface of the marina by about two feet. To start, they are going to go up 6 or 8 inches. Prock Marine of Rockland came in and redid the travelift slip last June and then they added all new docks.

Wound Up Marine Services, Boothbay, Maine

        In the Industrial Park there is a small shop surrounded by a number of runabouts that specializes in storage and repair of outboard powered boats.

        In the shop there was a Padebco 21, which was having an issue with its voltage regulator. Next to her was a Duffy 26 finished off at AJ Enterprises in Winter Harbor. She was in for buff and wax and bottom paint. John Albaum added, “That was actually my boat. I had it a couple of years and then I sold it. It always stays in the family. I bought it from George Warren and his sister bought the boat from me. The boat had been here for about 10 years in storage and never used. I bought and repowered it. We buffed and waxed, cleaned it all up and that goes in on Thursday.”

        Just behind these two boats was an Albin 28, which was being repowered with a 370-hp Cummins. When this is finished they need to ready the other 40 boats and have many of them in the water before Memorial Day.

        Wound Up Marine sits on five acres with the biggest boats stored being a 30-foot Mainship and a 32-foot Carver. He said that he purchased the company from George Warren, who ran it for 20 years, in May 2022. John is not looking for bigger boats. It is easier to just keep everything small, and manageable. John went to Maine Maritime Academy and graduated from there in 2005. He added, “I sailed deep-sea until 2012. I was in the oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico for 10 years. Then I was on a tugboat out of New Jersey for a year. There are some days I’d like to go back, but I enjoy being home. My kids are younger, 4 and 6, and my wife, with her mom, own a business in Damariscotta. This lets her work a little bit more. It works out for everybody.”

        John added a full-time employee and with a couple of part-timers they can get everything done in a timely fashion. He does plan to make some changes to the building to make it more efficient. He also said that he might add a few more storage customers. In the summer John goes on the road doing mechanic work. This keeps him very busy through the summer months.