Notes from the Belfast waterfront

An unsystematic log of comings, goings and news from the harbor
By Ethan Andrews | May 08, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews A warm spring day hints at the high season on Belfast's increasingly busy waterfront. The 130-foot Komokwa, pictured, is due back in the water soon, while plenty of other large vessels are on their way to Belfast.

Belfast — At Front Street Shipyard May 4, a Maine Maritime Academy work boat hung in the travel lift as a worker blasted junk off the hull with a high-pressure hose. Yard Supervisor Sam Smith said it was the first of several that would be coming through for routine maintenance.

Across the yard, several large yachts that spent the winter were parked next to a seine boat that Smith said was for catching lobster bait. The schooner Timberwind, Maine Daysail's charter ship, which was in for a month of maintenance, sat next to a sleek gray composite hull built at the shipyard and now being tested and refined.

Outside the shipyard's largest workshop sat Komokwa, a 130-foot private yacht that came in for an engine repair. It was too tall to fit inside, Smith said, but would probably fit in a larger building planned for construction next door. Komokwa is slated to go back in the water around May 10, Smith said.

Cangarda, a 1901 steam-powered yacht with a hull that goes on forever, was docked by the travel lift piers May 4, wrapped in plastic but still recognizable by a smokestack poking out of the canopy.

Farther south, the tallest mast in the harbor, belonging to the 96-foot New Zealand-built Symmetry, was scheduled to come down at the end of the week and the rest of the yacht brought ashore over the weekend.

Boats stored in buildings throughout the shipyard will come out soon, Smith said. Other vessels will arrive by sea later this month, he said, including a 100-foot Nordhavn power boat and a large sail training vessel making its first trip to the shipyard.

At the city's public docks, Harbormaster Katherine Pickering reported just one large yacht booked for the season so far. The 80-foot power boat Capriccio is expected at the end of August.

American Cruise Lines' new 267-foot American Constellation is coming to Belfast July 9. The company's previous boat, the 215-foot Independence, had become a familiar sight at the foot of Main Street in summers past. But Pickering said the new ship might be too long for the public landing and probably would moor in the harbor.

Three yacht clubs have made reservations in Belfast for the summer, she said, including Downeast Yacht Club July 13 and Portsmouth Yacht Club Aug. 7-8. First-time visitor American Yacht Club of Rye, N.Y., is penciled in but not confirmed yet for Aug. 17-18. It would be the largest group with 35 to 40 yachts.

New York Yacht Club made a coral-colored splash in 2015 when it added Belfast to its summer cruise itinerary for the first time. As of May 4, the club had not contacted the city about coming to Belfast in 2017.

Pickering said she's looking forward to the yacht club visits because the clubs are dying out as older members quit and younger recruits — for lack of interest, money or time — can't be found. At the same time, she said, the average yacht is larger than it used to be.

"The boating scene is going to be interesting the next 10 to 15 years," she said.

A Maine Maritime Academy work boat gets a quick wash at Front Street Shipyard May 4 shortly after coming out of the water for routine maintenance. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Thompson's Wharf seen from the Belfast Harbor Walk. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Cangarda, a 1901 steam-powered yacht, under winter wraps at Front Street Shipyard. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
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