By Mary Maynard Drake
The 124' sailing yacht ANTONISA slipped into the waters
of Linekin Bay on August 28, 1999, amid accolades to her builder, Hodgdon Yachts. The
Italian owners and some 4,000 well wishers, including Maine governor Angus King, crowded
into the small village of East Boothbay, Maine, for the launching.
Hodgdon Yachts, headed by fifth generation
boatbuilder Tim Hodgdon, 44, has been building wooden boats since 1816. In 1989, the
family firm shifted from traditional plank-on-frame construction to superbly crafted
yachts of high tech wood/epoxy composites. The Bruce King-designed ANTONISA is the yard's
fourth to utilize WEST SYSTEM ® products in its construction materialsincluding
some 2,000 gallons of epoxy.
The launching process began with workers removing the
end of the boat shop. Brownell Inc. of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts had modified the boat's
cradle with the addition of four sets of wheel assemblies attached to hydraulic cylinders.
Each assembly consisted of six special weight-bearing tires. The cylinders were used to
help change the direction of the tires, raise the cradle off the ground and keep the boat
It took over seven hours just to winch the vessel
out of the shop and a total of three days to travel the few hundred yards to the boat
ramp. Steel plates laid on the curved roadway kept the yacht level, then extended the ramp
far enough into the water for ANTONISA to float at high tide.
Even so, when festivities began, ANTONISA sat on her
trailer, only her keel awash in the rising tide. A pulley was attached to an underwater
ledge in the bay and a cable was run from the cradle through the pulley back to a winch on
one of the trucks. After the speeches and christening by Mrs. Antonisa Natuzzi, the cradle
was pulled farther into the water until the sloop's buoyancy, with the help of air bags,
lifted the vessel free of the cradle.
Launching didn't end the work. ANTONISA was tied to
the barge in deep water where divers inserted the centerboard. It was permanently fastened
when ANTONISA was hauled a few days later at Sample's Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor. The
vessel draws 9.75' with the centerboard up, 26.5' with the centerboard down.
At the former Percy and Small Shipyard (now Maine
Maritime Museum) in Bath, Maine, two cranes stepped the 174.9' carbon fiber
masttallest in the world of its type. Interior details, fine tuning the rigging and
testing the 6,761 square feet of composite sails are continuing at Hodgdon Yachts.
Delivery is scheduled for November.
The firm will build a new larger building and
renovate an abandoned marine railway on the other side of East Boothbay to accommodate its
next project, a 151' Bruce King-designed ketch, which will again will be built with WEST
Epoxyworks 14 / Fall 1999
Copyright © 2002, Gougeon Brothers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without the consent of the publisher. EPOXYWORKS, Gougeon Brothers, WEST SYSTEM, Episize, Scarffer and Microlight as used throughout this publication, are trademarks of Gougeon Brothers, Inc., Bay City, Michigan, USA.