Belfast resident launches hand-crafted sailboat

Looks forward to exploring the Maine coast
By Ben Holbrook | Jun 22, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook Belfast resident Arch Davis stands aboard his 30-foot cruising sailboat Saturday, June 16 at the Belfast public landing.

Belfast — After decades of building boats to sell to other people, one Belfast man has finally finished his own vessel to sail along the coast of Maine.

Arch Davis is no novice when it comes to building boats with more than 30 years of experience, and after five and one-half years he recently completed work on his own 30-foot cruising sailboat. The sailboat, which Davis named after his daughter, Grace Eileen, is a little unusual because he opted to forgo putting an engine or outboard on the boat.

“There aren’t too many sailboats without an engine because there are some areas where you sometimes need it to get into and out of areas, like moorings,” Davis said. “You just have to be a little more careful without the engine.”

One of the risks of sailing without any power other than wind is the chance Davis could drift onto a reef or be stranded if the wind dies down too much. However, he said he can always get a tow if he’s in a dire situation, and by sailing without an engine he doesn’t become “a slave to the power.”

As Davis worked on his boat over the years he had help from Grace, who built a dinghy, which will travel with the sailboat, when she was 10-years-old. Davis said Grace developed a “special set of skills” as a result of the time she put into helping him build the sailboat and the work she did on the boat was incorporated into her education as she was being home schooled at the time.

While working on his sailboat, Davis chose to use plywood for planking and to use a carbon fiber mast over a more traditional fiberglass one. He said the boat was relatively easy to build as he’s intimately familiar with the process, but he did acknowledge the carbon fiber mast was a little trickier to work with.

“I hadn’t used a carbon fiber mast before but the people who made it were very helpful and they gave me a lot of advice,” Davis said.

To commemorate the maiden voyage of the Grace Eileen, friends and family gathered at the public landing in Belfast Saturday, June 16, to congratulate Davis and see him off on his journey. Before preparing to launch his sailboat, Davis said he was very excited about getting out onto the water.

“I’m really looking forward to exploring the coast and doing a little fishing,” he said.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or

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