Super-yacht built in Boothbay places third in world-renowned ‘gentleman’s race’

Posted April 26, 2012, at 7:23 p.m.
Last modified April 26, 2012, at 8:36 p.m.

BOOTHBAY, Maine — There’s no question that Hodgdon Yachts built the Windcrest for luxury and elegance, but it turns out the super-yacht was built for speed, too.

The posh 98-foot Windcrest, which Hodgdon launched in 2006 for a private owner, ranked third out of 47 similar vessels recently in the St. Barth’s Bucket, a race in the Caribbean where the competitors sail some of the best super-yachts in the world.

Edward Roberts, director of sales and marketing for Hodgdon, said that although the St. Barth’s Bucket is “competitive but not seriously competitive,” placing well is an honor sought after by folks the world over.

“It’s a somewhat relaxed race,” said Roberts. “I’d call it ‘gentleman’s racing,’ but St. Barth’s is one of the most well-known, sought after and highly respected races in the world.”

Roberts said there are about eight big-boat regattas like St. Barth’s Bucket in the world, two of which are in the United States. One is in Newport, R.I., and the other, the Shipyard Cup, takes place every summer off the coast of Boothbay.

Though Roberts couldn’t say who owns the Windcrest or how much it cost, he said it combines traditional boatbuilding methods with performance, as was evident in the St. Barth’s Bucket. The vessel was designed by noted yacht designer Ted Fontaine of Rhode Island.

One aspect of the Windcrest that harkens back to yesteryear is that its hull is built from western cedar, though it’s clearly not your grandfather’s wooden boat. While most of Hodgdon’s more recent vessels use infused carbon-kevlar composite construction, the Windcrest is built in what Roberts calls cold-molded wood construction, which fuses thin layers of cedar with advanced resins. The result is the majestic traditionalism of wood with the performance and weather-resistant properties of composites.

“Objectively, the case could be made that it’s as good or better than pure composites, but it’s not as light,” said Roberts.

Hodgdon, which has its main yard in East Boothbay and an interior-building shop in Richmond, builds several varieties of vessels but focuses on yachts of between 65 and 200 feet in length. They typically take as long as three years to construct and, as is the case with the Windcrest, the shipyard’s clients usually prefer to remain anonymous.

Roberts said Hodgdon’s employees take great interest in seeing where their creations go — including when they win races.

“It’s a great source of pride to people here,” he said. “We like to keep aware of where the various boats we build are. It’s more of a pride and curiosity for us.”

Roberts said Hodgdon also builds luxury powerboats and has one currently under construction, but he couldn’t say much about it because of strict nondisclosure clauses in the contract.

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