by Barb in Virginia enjoying the holidays with family
Yesterday was the release day for the sixth Maine Clambake Mystery, Stowed Away. The book takes place in Busman’s Harbor as an enormous motor yacht waits for a major retrofit in a shipyard there.
For Stowed Away, I wanted to highlight another important source of jobs in Maine, shipbuilding.
The Age of the Ship might be over, but shipbuilding is still very much a part of Maine’s economy, from the Bath Iron Works, one of the largest employers in the state, which builds massive modern ships for the U. S. Navy as well as private and commercial ships, to the small boat repair shop run in someone’s backyard. You can even go to a school to learn how to build wooden boats in the manner of your ancestors (or in the manner of somebody’s ancestors).
On the Boothbay peninsula we are lucky to have several successful shipyards. Perhaps the best known Hodgdon Yachts with offices in East Boothbay, Newport, RI and Monaco. Hodgdon (which I can never spell due to that dgd that trips me up every time) is now run by a fifth generation family member and has been building boats since 1816. They make gorgeous sailing and motor yachts, as well as tenders that you’d be happy to have even if you had no yacht to tend. Hodgdon particularly specializes in high performance composite materials transferred from the aerospace industry and they build racing as well as pleasure yachts. They also do both modern and traditional interiors. Their range of skills from ultramodern materials-handling to traditional cabinet-making fascinate me. You should look at all the amazingly beautiful photos on their webpage here.
Right next to Hogdgon’s main facility in East Boothbay is Washburn and Doughty. A relative newcomer, founded in 1977, Washburn and Doughty has corned the east coast market for new tugboats. It amuses me that there even is an east coast market for new tugboats, but of course there is. The company suffered a catastrophic fire in 2008, but quickly rebuilt. You can read all about the company and look at their photos here.
In Boothbay Harbor proper is the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, formerly called Samples Shipyard. It’s best known for its work doing maintenance and restorations of sailing yachts and vintage tall ships. It has a marine railway that can handle boats up to 200 feet long and 7oo tons. The shipyard twice did restoration work on the Bounty of movie fame, which was lost off of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy. This shipyard is an easy walk from our house and we often go over to check on what’s doing when there is a big ship in for work. You can enjoy photos of the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard here
The fictional shipyard in Stowed Away is most like Hodgdon Yachts. However, the enormous yacht mysteriously docked in Busman’s Harbor never makes it there because…murder intervenes. What are the odds?
I hope the fans of the Maine Clambake Mysteries enjoy Stowed Away.