Mechanic Bill Parker of the John Williams Boat Company in Hall Quarry with a few of the engines he and his team are working with this winter. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALISON LANGLEY

Winter of the engines

MOUNT DESERT — In a boatyard that balances new boat production with service and storage work, winter is the time for the big engine projects. A “repower,” switching out a boat’s engine, is a big job that can require cranes and a fair bit of “boat yoga” as mechanics squeeze and reach into nooks and crannies to get everything disconnected and then connected again — all without damaging the gelcoat and varnish.

The John Williams Boat Company in Hall Quarry takes on five or six of these projects every winter, General Manager Jaime Weir said.

“We go by whatever is best fit for the boat and what is sought after by the owner,” he said. Often this is a balancing act between an engine that is powerful enough for desired performance but small enough not to take up too much space.

The crew is installing Yanmar electronic diesel engines in two boats this year. One’s going in a Duffy 35 to replace a trusty Detroit diesel. The other, a 260-horsepower model, will replace a Yanmar 170-horsepower engine in a Stanley 38.

The mechanics also are rebuilding two Yanmar diesels, one for a Stanley 36 and one for an MJM 34.

Crew members Bill Parker, Brian Murphy and Chris Fernandez have many years of experience with diesel and gasoline engines, Weir said, and have also earned the trust of customers.

“All three have really developed a loyal following. There’s a good level of trust there,” he said.

During the season, the yard has a mobile marine service. Boaters with engine troubles can summon a mechanic to meet them wherever the boat is and help address the issue.


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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