Seacoast Mission chooses shipyard for Sunbeam refit

BAR HARBOR — The Maine Seacoast Mission will be completing midlife refurbishment of its 74-foot boat, Sunbeam V, at Front Street Shipyard in Belfast.

The Sunbeam’s last trip ended April 25.

“Then there’s a week to 10-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,” said Capt. Mike Johnson. “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.”

Sunbeam Engineer Storey King will captain the Mission’s interim boat, Moonbeam, so Sunbeam crew members can continue their work in the Sunbeam V’s absence.

Captain Michael Johnson’s “Sunbeam Refit Explained” video is available on the Mission’s YouTube channel.


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