Notes from the Belfast waterfront

Fournier Tugs levels up; Shear Madness preps for Arctic return

By Ethan Andrews | May 16, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Workers at Fournier Tugs in Belfast on May 12 remove paint from a newly acquired boat.

Belfast — On May 12, workers at Fournier Tugs in Belfast were stripping paint off the cabin of a newly acquired tugboat with handheld grinders.

Owners Doug and Patrick Fournier bought the tug from Moran Towing, a large East Coast company that was upgrading its fleet to Z-drive propulsion — a high-end system with a dog leg in the drive shaft that allows the propellers to rotate 360 degrees below the boat.

The Fourniers have two Z-drive boats. The new arrival, rechristened Captain Arthur Fournier after the Fourniers' late father, isn't one of them, but it's an upgrade of sorts. The tug has two standard propellers, Doug Fournier said. As a result it can maneuver better and is more reliable than "single-screw" tugs.

Fournier Tugs is in the process of selling its lone single-screw. Fort Point was recently emblazoned with the logo of Duluth, Minnesota-based Heritage Marine and renamed Edward H. after that company's late patriarch, Edward H. Ojard.

Another tug, Taurus, might go with it. Fournier said the Belfast-based tug operation is downsizing to three boats, from four, on account of less commercial traffic coming to Mack Point Cargo Terminal in Searsport. Heritage Marine co-owner Capt. Mike Ojard said by phone May 12 that he will probably buy Taurus. "Almost 99 percent sure," he said.

Duluth lies at the far end of Lake Superior. Fournier said the tug, or tugs, would get there via the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. The trip of 2,400 nautical miles would take 25 days, he said.

While the Fourniers do most of their work in the deep water ports at Searsport and Bucksport, there's the occasional job in Belfast Harbor. On May 10, they helped the 130-foot superyacht Komokwa from the shipyard's travel lift to a slip 200 yards to the north. Two days later, the yacht, visible from the pilot house of one of the Fournier tugboats, was facing the opposite direction from how Fournier had left it. Fournier wasn't sure why.

A worker at Front Street Shipyard said they had reversed the boat that morning in a somewhat complicated maneuver that involved spinning it around from the dock. "All that because his TV reception wouldn't come in," he said.

Shear Madness, a 72-foot Nordhavn powerboat, arrived at Front Street Shipyard recently from North Carolina for routine maintenance before heading to the Arctic.

Owners Kathy Clark and Bradley Rosenberg have a photo in the cabin of their yacht in profile framed by a hole in a massive iceberg. They had traveled north to Greenland with owners of a Nordhavn 68 — the company is actually Taiwanese, Clark said, "like Haagen Dazs." And their travel mates had a professional photographer on board. It was the perfect iceberg, Clark said, so they staged it twice, once for each boat, backing them up stern to stern between shots so the cameraman could hop across.

The couple are retired from business careers. In 1999, they bought out a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., of "Shear Madness," a murder mystery set in a Georgetown hair salon, invited 400 friends and got married on stage. When they bought their yacht in 2010, they named it after the event.

During their last trip to Greenland, they went up the coast of Labrador, Clark said, but didn't get to see it properly. When they leave Front Street Shipyard in about a month, she said the plan is to go back.

"See what the water allows us to do, and how far north we can go," she said.

The view north from the pilot house of Fournier Tugs' tractor. Fort Point, foreground, is bound for a tugboat operation in Duluth, Minnesota. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Kathy Clark and Bradley Rosenberg May 12 on the after deck of their yacht Shear Madness, at Front Street Shipyard for maintenance. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Shear Madness, a Nordhavn 72, recently came into Front Street Shipyard for maintenance. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Comments (2)
Posted by: CAPT ALBERT STEVENS | May 17, 2017 07:37

Thanks for the information.  I am curious about the boats that come into Belfast Harbor.

 



Posted by: from the kitchen | May 17, 2017 05:18

Nice to see the rich people are ok.



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