Hodgdon Yachts (incorporated as Hodgdon Shipbuilding, LLC[1] and previously known as "Hodgdon Brothers" yard) is a builder of yachts and specialized military vessels, based in East Boothbay, Maine. It is a family-run business that was founded in 1816—the oldest continuously operating family boatbuilder in the United States, antedating the Burger Boat Company in Wisconsin.[2] Hodgdon Yachts is noted for building superyachts, both sail and power, using advanced composite materials and construction techniques. It's also noted for its ability to incorporate those advanced materials into traditional designs that employ modern electronic and mechanical marine systems. The company has several divisions—yachts, custom tenders, yacht interiors, yacht services and military composites with offices in Boothbay, Maine, Newport, Rhode Island and Monaco.[1]

Hodgdon Yachts
Founded1816; 208 years ago (1816)
Boothbay, Maine, United States
FounderCaleb Hodgdon
East Boothbay, Maine
ProductsYachts, custom tenders, military composites
ServicesYacht interiors, yard services
OwnerTimothy Hodgdon

History edit

Bowdoin at anchor off Sable Island, Nova Scotia
SC 2 submarine chaser
The USS Accentor
YMS-1-class minesweeper, USS YMS-324

In 1816, founder, Caleb Hodgdon[3] with brother Tyler, added boatbuilding as "Hodgdon Brothers" in East Boothbay on the Damariscotta River to Caleb's sawmill and gristmill businesses with the construction of a 42-foot "pinky"[3] fishing schooner, Union, launched in 1818. From 1850 and 1895 the yard built and launched 24 commercial schooners. Caleb turned the business over to sons, C. George and James P. Hodgdon, in 1870. Successive generations of Hodgdons maintained the business, as siblings left and returned from boatbuilding enterprises, elsewhere in Maine.[2]

The business regained vitality during the Korean War, when it built twelve naval patrol boats. A fire destroyed most of the yard's buildings and records in 1954 during this run of producing patrol boats. Within three years, brothers William and Charles, and George I., Sr. died.[2][4]

George I. ("Sonny") Hodgdon, Jr., who was born in 1922 and reputedly started work in the yard at an early age, rebuilt the boat-building sheds and obtained a contract to build the first boat designed by William Tripp Sr., Katingo. In addition to securing contracts to build boats for noted designers, including Sparkman & Stephens, John Alden, and L. Francis Herreshoff, he designed and built 24 small vessels, between 1956 and 1969. In 1969, Hodgdon moved to another facility to build lobster boats under the business name of "G.I. Hodgdon, Co."[2]

Hodgdon's son, Timothy, joined the business In 1979 and steered the company towards modern materials. He continued after his father died in 1995[5] and, as business grew, diversified the company into six divisions, specializing in yacht construction, custom tenders, yacht interiors, boatyard services, and composite materials for military customers. He established a variety of locations in Maine, Rhode Island, and Monaco.

In 2016, a sixth-generation Hodgdon family member to participate in the firm, Audrey Hodgdon, was appointed as director of sales and marketing.[6]

Notable vessels edit

The business built most of its notable vessels under the name, "Hodgdon Brothers", through the 1970s and then, with the advent of Timothy Hodgdon and diversification, continued under the corporate banner of "Hodgdon Shipbuilding."

Hodgdon Brothers edit

The vessels built in East Boothbay at the Hodgdon Brothers shipyard were predominantly wood construction and included fishing vessels, an arctic schooner, small naval vessels, and several yachts.

Schooners edit

Hodgdon Brothers yard was building wooden schooners well into the 20th century, they included:

Naval ships edit

Hodgdon Brothers built wood-hulled naval patrol boats, starting in World War I through the Korean War. Wooden hulls do not activate magnetic detonators on mines or torpedoes.[9] They were, as follows:

Yachts edit

Hodgdon Brothers specialized in building wooden yachts. The 1960s began a transition to fiberglass yachts.

  • The 67-foot motor yacht, Maimelee, was at its launching in 1961 the largest fiberglass yacht in the world. The hull was molded in England, shipped to East Boothbay and finished by Hodgdon Brothers. It was equipped with twin 308-horsepower diesel engines, air conditioning for cruising in southern waters and an electronic suite that included a radio direction finder, a fathometer and radar.[18]
  • Noted naval architect, John Alden, chose Hodgdon Brothers to build two schooners and one sloop.[19] In 1975, Alden selected Hodgdon Brothers to build a fiberglass 61-foot motorsailer yacht.[20]

Hodgdon Shipbuilding edit

Comanche leaving Newport, Rhode Island for Plymouth, England in the 2015 Rolex Transatlantic Race
Windcrest near Bar Harbor, Maine
Scheherazade during sea trials

The company's adoption of composite technology began in 1984 with the order of an 83-foot composite motor yacht, which was launched as Yorel, and which required a bigger yard building, new boatbuilding technology and a high standard of craftsmanship. This project marked the change in boatbuilding approach by president-to-be, Timothy Hodgdon, then 29 years old.[21] Yorel returned to Hodgdon Yard, renamed as Kizbul, for a major refit in 2013.[22]

The company offers yacht and tender building and repair services under the name, Hodgdon Yachts,[23] and military vessel construction and composite components for vessels under the name, Hodgdon Defense Composites.[24]

Yachts edit

The company's yacht division is known as "Hodgdon Yachts"; notable projects include:

  • Comanche—100-foot monohull, launched October, 2014—was designed by VPLP and Guillaume Verdier and was completed within 13 months.[25] With an overall length of 100 feet (30 m), it vied to be the world's fastest monohull with a 24-hour distance record of 620 nautical miles (1,150 km) during a 2015 race across the Atlantic, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.[26] In December, 2014 it placed second in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.[25] In 2015, it was first in the same race, covering 628 nautical miles in just under two days and nine hours.[27] With a 25.5-foot (7.8 m) beam it achieves speed similar to performance multihull sailing craft by being sailed heeled one on one edge to minimize wetted surface.[26] In April, 2015 Comanche broke the course record at the Les Voiles de Saint Barth yacht race. At the time of its building, Comanche's hull represented "one of the largest single-hull infusions" [of composite materials] performed in the United States.[28]
  • Windcrest—98-foot ketch, launched July, 2008—was designed by Fontaine Design Group. The vessel employs composite (cold-molded, wood-epoxy) construction and was 406th vessel launched by the Hodgdon family since 1816. As specified by owners, it was designed for extensive coastal cruising. It features an interior joinery of cherry and walnut with fabrics and leather complementing the natural woods. The yacht features hydraulic, electrical, water, mechanical, communications and ventilation systems, together with push-button sail-handling, satellite e-mail communications systems for entertainment, phone and e-mail, all monitored with a computer network with nine screens.[21] It placed third out of 47 sailing superyachts in the 2015 St Barths Bucket Regatta, a "gentlemen's" yacht race.[29]
  • Scheherazade—154-foot (47 m) ketch, launched September, 2003—was designed by naval architect, Bruce King, and built with composite construction, using "western red cedar, Douglas fir, divinycell, balsa core and carbon, all epoxied and vacuum bagged" to mold the hull structure. The interior features sycamore and walnut with many carved decorative features.[30] Scheherazade participated in the 2008 Superyacht Cup Ulysses Nardin in Palma de Mallorca[31] and, in 2012 and 2013, twice won the Shipyard Cup in Boothbay Harbor.[32][33] It was renamed Asolare in 2014.[30] At the time of its launching, Scheherazade was reportedly the largest sailing yacht built in the Americas.[34]
  • Antonisa—124-foot (38 m) sloop, launched August, 1999—was designed by Bruce King for an Italian owner, who reportedly was drawn to Hodgdon's reputation. It features detailed interior and exterior woodwork—matched with exotic, advanced materials[35] that include aluminum honeycomb composites and carbon-fiber—and a pipe organ in the cabin.[36]
  • Liberty—80-foot (24 m) commuter, launched 1997—was designed by Bruce King and is described by the builder as having a "strong, light hull with distinct round transom" and top and cruising speeds of 33 knots and 25 knots, respectively.[37] The design employs a narrow beam to allow the craft to slice through seas at a higher speed than vessels of similar displacement. The hull is laminated with cedar and mahogany. The construction saves weight with an aluminum honeycomb deck having a teak veneer that resembles traditional wood deck planking. Additionally, the underwater foils and shaft struts are of carbon fiber, instead of bronze.[38] Yachting Magazine chose Liberty as one of its dozen notable yachts, stating that it "celebrates the great commuter yachts of the 1920s and 1930s—a significant period of yachting history—yet she is built of modern materials, employs up-to-date engines and systems.... Liberty represents the best of old and new."[39]

Tenders edit

Feadship yacht, A2, with Hodgdon Yachts "Mini Venetian Limo Tender"

As a result of building a custom yacht tender—a vessel that ferries passengers from a large vessel to shore—for Steven Spielberg's super yacht, Seven Seas, Hodgdon saw a market for such craft and developed two tender sizes in two configurations—open and "limo" (with a roof that raises up)—from 27.8 to 34.4 feet (8.5 to 10.5 m).[3] According to the company's specifications, their top speeds are 34 and 36 knots respectively.[40]

Electric vessels edit

In 2022, Hodgdon began building the 10.5-metre (34 ft) Vita LION "performance electric day boat," which can carry eight passengers at a 22-knot cruise speed, using two 150-kilowatt (200-horsepower) electric motor drives. Vita's yacht was designed in England and is built in Italy. Its 234 kWh lithium batteries can be charged in under an hour, according to company specs.[41][42]

Military vessels edit

A Mark V Special Operations Craft launching a ScanEagle UAV

The company's defense products division is known as "Hodgdon Defense Composites". On January 11, 2008 Hodgdon and the U.S. Navy unveiled an experimental version of the Mark V Special Operations Craft, designated the Mk V.1, designed to reduce the number of injuries sustained by sailors and SEALs during the operation of the aluminum version of the vessel. Nicknamed the MAKO, the vessel was developed by a subsidiary of Hodgdon Shipbuilding, in collaboration with the University of Maine's Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center. It features a hull made of layers of carbon fiber, a foam core and an outer layer of Kevlar for additional strength. It was constructed and launched at the Hodgdon Yachts East Boothbay facility. The MAKO is lighter than the current Mk V.[43] The Office of Naval Research funded the prototype "to compare the properties of composite construction with aluminum"[21] versions of the same craft.[44]

In 2012, the Hodgdon Defense Composites division received several military contracts to produce rescue boats that resemble personal water craft, small enough to be air-dropped from a C-130 military cargo plane, yet able to penetrate rough surf. The 12-foot vessel is called the Greenough Advanced Rescue Craft (GARC) and employs a 143-horsepower engine, driving a pump-jet. Such craft reportedly have a range of up to 150 miles (240 km) at 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and can carry four people.[45] The craft was developed for the United States Air Force Special Operations Command.[46]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Hodgdon". Homepage. Hodgdon Shipbuilding, LLC. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Caldwell, Bill (1983). Rivers of Fortune: Where Maine Tides and Money Flowed. Camden, Maine: Down East Books. ISBN 978-0-89272-568-7. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  3. ^ a b c Davis, Christine (November 14, 2015). "Luxury in Motion: Market grows for megayacht limo tenders". Palm Beach, Florida: Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  4. ^ a b c Boothbay Region Historical Society (2004). The Boothbay Region Revisited. Images of America. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7385-3625-5. Retrieved 2015-11-15.
  5. ^ "Obituaries: Margaret S. Hodgdon". Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Portland, Maine. January 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  6. ^ Hodgdon Yachts (September 15, 2016). "Sixth generation Hodgdon family member appointed as director of sales and marketing". Boothbay Register. Boothbay, Maine.
  7. ^ George Story, Hudson (April 10, 1909). "Boston's Busy Business Boats". Motor Boat. New York. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
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  9. ^ "Minesweepers". How it works: science and technology (3rd ed.). New York: Marshall Cavendish. 2003. p. 2633. ISBN 0-7614-7333-5. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
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  14. ^ "Bulwark". Naval History and Heritage Command. United States Navy. June 29, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  15. ^ Priolo, Gary P. (2006). "Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper (YMS), British Motor Minesweeper (BYMS) Index". NavSource Online. NavSource Naval History. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
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  17. ^ "Small Coastal Transport (APc)". Navsource.org. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
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  23. ^ "About Us". Hodgdon Shipbuilding, LLC. 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  24. ^ "Hodgdon Defense Composites". Hodgdon Defense Composites, LLC. 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
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  28. ^ Fottles, Gemma (May 1, 2015). "Comanche breaks record at Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2015". Superyacht Times. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
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  41. ^ Doll, Scooter (27 April 2022). "The oldest shipyard in the US will build Vita's new LION high performance electric boat". Electrek.
  42. ^ Springer, Bill. "Vita Power's Tesla-Inspired Electric Speedboat Steals The Show At Star-Studded Monte Carlo Gala". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
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  44. ^ Babb, Colin (2008). "Office of Naval Research Spearheads Development of New All-Composite Mark V.1 Patrol Boat". News and Media Center. Arlington, Virginia: Office of Naval Research. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
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External links edit