Gamage Shipyard in Maine is returning to the boatbuilding business with two new vessels

Despite a 149-year history of continuous operation, Gamage Shipyard in the US hasn’t launched a new vessel in nearly 40 years, operating instead as a marina, storage facility and full-service refit shop in South Bristol, Maine. That’s about to change this spring.

Gamage Shipyard plans to launch two new vessels in May; a Flowers 38, which is the completion of a build started by a different yard, and a complete, bare-hull, new-build Holland 32, a spec boat Gamage is building and launching as part of the shipyard’s effort to get the word out that it is back in the boatbuilding business.

The return to its roots began in 2015 when owner Rory Cowan hired Mike Tatro as general manager and tasked him with hiring skilled boatbuilders onto the crew.

The build process began on the new boat in September 2019 with a bare hull made of composite fibreglass, purchased from Holland’s Boat Shop in Belfast. The boat will be equipped with a 350hp engine that will cruise in the mid-20 knots and will feature all of the modern, onboard amenities.

The boat will undergo sea trials in early May and be offered for sale in the US$200,000 range, according to the Lincoln County News.

In 1871, brothers Albion and Menzies Gamage bought the property on the South Bristol waterfront and over the next 50 years, built 88 sail and steam-powered fishing vessels. A cousin, Elliot Gamage, bout the yard in 1924 and built more than 288 sail, power, recreational and commercial vessels.

During World War II, the shipyard was dedicated full-time to the construction of wooden military vessels, such as minesweepers and ship’s tenders.

The last newly built boat it launched was the 55ft fishing vessel Windsong, in 1981.

Gamage Shipyard is planning a community event to commemorate the launch of the new Holland 32 in late spring.