By David Robinson

Since setting up shop in Belfast, Maine, the Front Street Shipyard has rarely been out of the news and more sites are being planned. The company now has a Building 6 plan, which significantly strengthens the company’s facilities for handling superyacht refit work.

Building 6 is set to be a 22,000sq ft structure that would be able to accommodate the shipyard’s 485-tonne travel lift and provide the capacity for yachts up to 46m (150ft) to be refitted. Front Street partner JB Turner, former president of the Lyman Morse Shipyard, was quoted in www.marinebiz.biz as saying: “We’d love to have it built this year. A lot of it is based on the job list and financing. It would give us the finest facility on the East Coast.”

The four basic parts of the Front Street Shipyard’s business plan are listed by Turner as being:

– production and customised boatbuilding

– refitting yachts

– general dock and boatyard services

– special projects related to offshore wind and ocean energy

“We are the largest yacht facility on the East Coast north of Newport, RI, and one of the largest on the entire East Coast,” Turner was quoted as saying.

Front Street’s most recent expansion, working with Trefoil Marine to build 9m (30ft) T30 catamarans, is already looking to expand. This development saw an investment in a 15,000sq ft build shed at nearby Bucksport. The first of these catamarans is due in the water by July 21 and it has the flexibility to be marketed both as a yacht or a commercial marine craft serving various functions.

This project started with seven employees and already in prospect is an increase of another 10 to 15 on order to meet the seeming demand for the T30s.

He added: “And if Trefoil Marine taps Front Street to build the 24.4m (80ft) version of its patrol boat as well, that would give impetus to erecting Building 6 and add another 40 to 50 jobs at the Belfast site – putting it pretty much at full capacity. That 80-footer could be a huge market for us.”