Belfast shipyard chosen for Seacoast Mission vessel refit
BAR HARBOR — The Maine Seacoast Mission has decided on Front Street Shipyard, of Belfast, to complete the midlife refurbishment of the Mission’s 74-foot boat, Sunbeam V. Captain Michael Johnson expects the boat will be at Front Street Shipyard next month for the extensive refit, according to Seacoast Mission, in a news release.
“The Sunbeam’s last trip ends April 25,” said Captain Johnson, in the release. “Then there’s a week to ten day decommissioning period for the boat in Northeast Harbor. In early May the boat will go down to Front Street Shipyard and have an additional decommissioning. Some of Front Street Shipyard’s work can be done while the boat’s in the water. It’s probably going to be hauled, taken out of the water in mid-May.”
Capt. Johnson said in a YouTube video explaining the Sunbeam refit, “The thesis of the refit work is basically to gain access to the below deck areas. Steel boats rust from the inside out. A lot of those areas are difficult to access.
“There’s no major hull degradation. But we need to address it now before there is,” Johnson said. “We have to rip out the entire accommodations section of the boat, sand blast the steel, and paint two coats of marine epoxy on the internal sections. Every nook and cranny. Unless you rip out the entire downstairs area you’re going to miss something, and that’s going to haunt you for years.”
When the Sunbeam’s insides are removed, Johnson explained, “it’s also a great opportunity to cosmetically upgrade the boat.” He said it “is a perfect chance to update” all of the Sunbeam “dated equipment and dated cosmetics.” That work includes the Sunbeam wheelhouse, bunk houses, galley, and salon, all of which are shown in detail in the Sunbeam Captain’s YouTube video.
"The boat’s fundamentally sound and serves us well,” said Johnson. The refitting “is the best choice going forward to get another 15, 20 to 25 years out of the Sunbeam,” he said. “We’re hoping to have the boat back in service by Christmas.”
Front Street Shipyard President and General Manager JB Turner said, “Our entire team at Front Street Shipyard is eager to begin working with Maine Seacoast Mission on the comprehensive refit of Sunbeam V. The vessel has had a critical role in the health and well-being of Maine island communities for almost a quarter century, and we’re honored to contribute to that ongoing mission through this refit. Having the opportunity to update and upgrade the capabilities of Sunbeam V will have a direct benefit to our fellow Mainers, which makes us all proud.”
Captain Johnson will oversee the Sunbeam V refit. Meanwhile, Sunbeam Engineer Storey King will captain the Mission’s interim boat, Moonbeam, so Sunbeam crew members Sharon Daley, Douglas Cornman, and Jillian can continue their work as Island Health director, Island Outreach director, and steward in the Sunbeam V’s absence.
Captain Michael Johnson’s “Sunbeam Refit Explained” video is available on the Mission’s YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/akiP_lMWYuA