News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 12, 2014
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New boat makes waves in Brooklin

The ‘Dreadnought’ sails in Center Harbor

The “Dreadnought,” a 49-foot Taylor design built at the Brooklin Boat Yard, eases its way through Center Harbor after it was launched Monday, June 9. The new design that balances cruising comfort with racing performance will make its home in Southwest Harbor.

Photo by Rich Hewitt Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Rich Hewitt

The latest creation from the Brooklin Boat Yard touched water for the first time on Monday, June 9, and the boat’s new owner is hoping to make waves on the racing circuit.

Dreadnought, a new 49-foot design from Jim Taylor of Marblehead, Mass., balances the accommodations of a cruising vessel with the performance of a racing boat.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful boat,” said Jim Weber of Southwest Harbor and Atlanta after a short motoring expedition around the harbor.

Weber noted that the boat went together smoothly following a year of planning before construction began last September. This is the third boat the crew at the boatyard has built for Weber, and he said the boat was designed to allow him to continue cruising Maine waters, but also to position him better to win more races during the season.

Although Taylor, who was present for the launch, had worked on smaller projects with Brooklin Boat Yard, this was his first start-to-finish project with the Brooklin crew.

“This is a creative, talented bunch of boat builders,” he said. “I’ve never had a project go as smoothly and it’s due to these guys. It’s been a real pleasure.”

Sailboats run the gamut from pure cruising vessels to “flat-out” racing boats, Taylor said. To meet the owner’s desires for a faster, easily handled boat, his new design shifts more toward performance, while still maintaining a comfortable interior.

In simple terms, he said, it’s a question of power to weight.

“More power—she’s got a bigger rigging—and less dead weight, you go faster,” he said.

The new boat is a light-weight, cold-molded yacht boasting traditional lines above the water, with a modern underbody. The canoe-shaped body provides less drag and the deep-draft fin keel and small rudder also reduce the wet area and help provide additional speed.

Although the design is new, boatyard owner Steve White said Dreadnought was the third boat the yard had built for Webber and that the process had gone smoothly.

“It was a straight-forward process,” he said. “We used the techniques and materials that we’re accustomed to.”

The crew of 52 at the boatyard has been working steadily year-round, and the space in the yard left by Dreadnought’s departure is likely to be filled quickly. White said the yard is ready to start two new projects—one new construction and one rebuild—and is currently bidding on two more.

“We seem to be fairly consistently busy,” White said. “And we’re getting more inquiries than we had two to three years ago.”

That reflects the trend in the boatbuilding industry overall, which was hit hard by the economic downturn several years ago. Industry reports recently have indicated that while the market has yet to reach the levels it saw in the mid-2000s, the industry is rebounding.

Meanwhile, after some on-the-water tweaking to Dreadnought, Weber expected to take command of Dreadnought this week and to begin getting accustomed to sailing her. He indicated that he could be racing as early as the end of this month.