Miss Maisey is one of the only lobster pleasure yachts designed by Sonny Hodgdon and built at the Hodgdon Bros. world renowned boatyard. She is currently in the midwest and has been very well cared for over the years. Please read the owners comments below to learn more.
Pleasure Lobster Boat “MISS MAISEY”
Specifications/Materials and Equipment List Current to May 1, 2017
Draft: 2’ 8”
Displ. 6,200 lbs.
Fuel: Gas (37 gals. stainless steal)
Power: Rebuilt 1946 GrayMarine 4-140 gas, stock 37 hp @2000 rpm; rebuilt approx. 50 hp; cruise speed: 9 – 10 mph @1600 rpm
Builder:(circa 1946-49) Hodgdon Brothers
P.O. Box 505, East Boothbay, ME 04544
Rebuild: (2002 – 2004) Directed by Paul von Goertz (current owner)
Knife River, MN
MISS MAISEY marks the first step in the transition of the traditional Maine working lobster boat to the current day “lobster yacht.” As one (only?) of few remaining early transition boats, it has been restored to near original state, with no alterations to its hull, cabin, deck, cockpit or interior spaces. As such, the boat is testimony to Maine boat builders being among the first American builders to pursue the post-WWII pleasure boat market using production techniques developed for the war effort.
The four-cylinder GrayMarine engine built in 1946 matches the time period when the boat was built thought to be 1946 or 1947. The original engine was most probably a four cylinder, and may have been a GrayMarine, as GrayMarine supplied many of the engines for small boats during The War.
In keeping with the time period when she was built, nearly all hardware and fittings are brass, bronze or copper - no plastic. Some may have been Navy surplus.
While the rebuild of MISS MAISEY preserved its original design and profile, modern materials and components were used to reduce maintenance, and increase safety, reliability, and comfort. Decks were rebuilt using the West System over fiberglass cloth. Electronic ignition was installed and an electric fuel pump with separate fuel line installed to provide back up to the mechanical fuel pump. An alternator replaced the original generator. A modern thermostat replaced the original, which used a wax-like material that would expand and contract with heat. Complete details on the rebuild of the boat and engine are discussed later.
Current owner’s comments on the history of MISS MAISEY –
(by Paul von Goertz)
MISS MAISEY is one of probably 21 “lobster pleasure boats” designed by G. I.”Sonny” Hodgdon Jr. and built from 1946 – 49 at Hodgdon Brothers (now Hodgdon Yachts, Inc.) in East Boothbay, ME. Exact dates and number of boats built cannot be verified as a fire in 1954 at the boatyard destroyed company records. Hodgdon is now one of the nation’s premier custom yacht builders and in its 6th generation of family ownership, which dates back to founder Caleb Hodgdon in 1818.
In March of 2014, while attending the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland, I had the opportunity to meet Tim Hodgdon, current president, who recognized MISS MAISEY as “one of our 27 footers” from photos I had brought. While I was under the impression that Sonny was Tim’s uncle, he was actually Tim’s father. I have since given Hodgdon Yachts pictures of MISS MAISEY for their family and corporate archives. The boat is also on their current FaceBook page.
During WWII, Hodgdon had a contract with the U.S. Navy to build mine sweepers and smaller military craft, all of wood. Following the war, probably as a result of being geared for production boats, the company decided to build its first pleasure boat – which it called a “lobster pleasure boat.” The boat was patterned after the commercial lobster boats the company had refined - along with countless other Maine boatyards - since the turn of the century when the availability of gasoline engines prompted a redesign of sail-powered lobster boats.
The company was aggressive in its efforts and actually transported a Hodgdon lobster pleasure boat to the Chicago Boat Show in early 1947. The boat was purchased by a man from near Detroit, MI, and owned by him and his family members until 2004 when it was placed for sale. I do not know where the boat is today, but it was well cared for and in excellent condition when placed for sale, according to a family member.
The lobster pleasure boat had the same pleasing sheer line, slender beam and built-down keel of the commercial Hodgdon lobster boat. It also had the engine well forward and extending into the truck cabin. It had amenities to appeal to pleasure boaters:
• A larger trunk cabin to accommodate a V-berth, head and nav station
• Pilot shelter with graceful trailing edge
• Mahogany accents
• All bronze, brass or copper deck hardware, Navy-style brass running lights,
copper fishing rod holders
For some reason, Hodgdon abandoned marketing a production pleasure boat in the early 50s and returned to building fishing vessels and one-of-a-kind larger pleasure boats. Visit the Hodgdon web site at hodgdonyachts.com to see the mega-yachts the company is building today.
I acquired the boat in 2002. My hobby is rebuilding classic boats. Over the years I have rebuilt a 1963 31’ Norwegian motorsailer, a 1947 23’ Chris Craft Express Cruiser, MISS MAISEY, and am currently rebuilding a 1934 Isle Royale double-ended commercial fishing “gasboat.” One of the reasons for rebuilding the boats I chose, was to observe and learn the different building techniques of the builder. What better to learn and appreciate boatbuilding than from Norwegians, Chris Craft, Mainers and Lake Superior commercial fishermen! MISS MAISEY with its roomy cockpit would also be perfect for trolling on Lake Superior. My wife and I have been to the Canadian Maritimes and Maine a number of times and have always loved the graceful, yet functional lines of the lobster boat.
In March of ’02, I emailed Maine boat builders, marina operators and marine supply stores and offered a finder’s fee to anyone who could find a lobster boat for which I was looking. Specifically, I wanted a boat:
• 24 – 26 feet (small for a lobster boat, but my boat shed is only 28’ long)
• Built by a reputable Maine boat builder
• Built of native Maine wood, preferably cedar on white oak steam-bent frames
• Build-down keel
I got a lead on a boat within two weeks and in typical Mainer fashion, the person who gave me the lead declined my finder’s fee. The boat was in New Harbor and I was told it was a Hodgdon, which as a Midwesterner meant little to me. I asked a good friend who lives in Portland to check out the boat and fortunately he did within a few days of my call. He called from the seller’s home and encouraged me to buy it. I told my friend to give the seller $200 down and I would send a cashier’s check for the balance the next workday. The deal was done. My friend took digital pictures of the boat and within a couple of hours I was viewing the boat. Just what I wanted!
From what I gathered from the previous owner, the boat had been owned by a couple of elderly gentlemen for about 20 years and used for sport fishing. The boat needed work and they were not up to the task so they sold it to the man I bought it from. He was going to use it for commercial lobstering, which was a fate the boat had avoided for so many years. As it was, the man had an opportunity to buy a classic wooden powerboat at a reasonable price. He decided to buy it and convert it to an excursion boat - and so did away with the idea of using the Hodgdon as a commercial lobster boat. Hence, the Hodgdon became available.
After purchasing the boat, I was able to track down the widow of the owner prior to the two elderly gentlemen. They were a Maine family and for more than 25 years had used the boat for sport fishing in the Christmas Island area. She was in her 90s and had many pleasant memories of the boat they called SEA LARK.
Getting the boat to Knife River, MN (on Lake Superior 20 miles up the northeast coast from Duluth) involved two moves to get the boat to a marina with a lift, and a long haul by commercial boat carrier from Rockland, ME, to Knife River, MN. The boat arrived in mid-June of ’02.
Since purchasing the boat, it has been rebuilt and upgraded as follows:
• Removed the existing and very tired 235 Chev 6 (not the original engine) and replaced
it with a rebuilt four cylinder GrayMarine 4-140 with standard 2:1 Paragon
• Replaced the main deck and covered it, along with trunk cabin deck and shelter top, with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resins using the West System
• Rebuilt the cockpit sole and planked it with 4” vertical grain Douglas Fir; black poly
• Sistered 16 frames that were cracked at the turn of the bilge with steam bent ash. A
strongback placed inside the hull, along with a series of threaded rods, which passed
through both strongback and hull planking, allowed the hull to be pulled back into shape
as nuts on either end of the rods were slowly tightened over the course of a cold
northern Minnesota winter.
• Refastened three floors
• Built a new engine box
• Refurbished all bronze, brass and copper hardware (true to a lobster boat, the boat has
little or no chrome)
• Installed a Federal bronze air horn the same physical size as the original electric horn
• Stripped 50 years of paint from all mahogany accents and refinished them using the
• Replaced bent shaft and matched new prop to the GrayMarine
• Replaced existing mahogany bench seat with new mahogany seat of same approximate
size, which also incorporates five rod holders in seat back.
MISS MAISEY was relaunched with fanfare on July 20, 2004 and floated nearly perfectly on her waterline. With the Gray, MISS MAISEY cruises at about 9 mph and can achieve speeds to over 10 mph. Fuel economy is just under 4 gph at cruising speed.
In August she was entered in the 2004 Lake Superior Wooden Boat Festival held in Superior, WI and received “Skipper’s Choice Best Powerboat Over 24 Feet.” In March of 2005, she was recognized by MAINE BOATS & HARBORS magazine as one of twelve “Boats Of The Year 2004.”
MISS MAISEY is matched to an engine thought to be as close to her original engine as possible – a GrayMarine four cylinder 4-140 Lugger. Stock horsepower was 37 hp @2000 rpm; now after rebuild, which included shaving the head, the engine produces approx. 53 hp. Cruising speed approximately 9-10 mph at 1500 rpm.
Cooling is by an open system with a bypass to cool and silence exhaust. The engine also has an oil cooler. A copy of an original GrayMarine engine manual for a 4-140 Lugger is on board boat.
GrayMarine was a very popular military and commercial fishing engine during the 40s and 50s. It was a very dependable and slow turning engine built to robust standards and economical to operate. It was and continues to be a favorite of lobstermen and Great Lakes commercial fisherman. There were a lot of GrayMarines in service on Lake Superior as there was a Gray dealer in on Western Lake Superior. The Gray was originally installed in a 34’ Lake Superior fishing tug, but saw limited use as the commercial fishing industry on Lake Superior collapsed in the early 50s. The engine was removed from the tug and sat idle in a shop for many years.
ENGINE FEATURES -
• Electronic ignition
• Dual battery system with battery switch
• Dual mechanical and electrical fuel pumps (separate lines). Mechanical pump is
primary with electrical as back-up
• Three-way fuel filtering: water, sediment, fine particulate. Boat and engine wiring/fuel system (all to code): Bob Trygg, Knife River, MN, independent contractor for marine electrical systems and outside contactor to Barker’s Island Marina, Superior, WI
• Boat inspected and certified by USCG Auxiliary
• Paragon standard transmission with 2:1 gear reduction.
• GrayMarine gauge cluster.
• Fuel tank is stainless steel and holds 37 gallons. Has anti-siphon valve
• Stainless steal shaft with brass prop, both of which were new in
2004. Prop was specced to the engine and hull design by American Wheel
• Engine rebuilt by Heritage Marine of Knife River, MN
• Carburetor rebuilt by Van Ness Engineering, NJ
• Fuel pump rebuilt by Van Ness Engineering, NJ
• Starter rebuilt by Van Ness Engineering, NJ
• Alternator rebuilt by NA Auto Electric, Duluth, MN
• Modern engine thermostat in housing matched to engine supplied byVan Ness
Materials list –
(Items with * are taken verbatim from original Hodgdon Lobster Pleasure Boat sales literature)
*White Oak – keel and stem (4” sided), frames, floor timbers, transom frame, engine bed and rudder
*Douglas Fir – deck carlines, clamps, floor beams, cockpit beams, bilge stringers
Long Leaf Yellow Pine – hull planking (7/8” thick).
Long Leaf Yellow Pine is considered one of the best hull planking woods because of its dense and oily fibers that gives it extreme rot resistance (and discourages marine worms), strength and durability, workability and ability to hold fasteners.
The US Navy specified long leaf yellow pine for the landing craft and minesweepers Hodgdon was building for the Navy during WWII. Hodgdon had a supply left over and used the material on at least some of its lobster pleasure boats. It is likely MISS MAISEY was one of the first lobster pleasure boats built by Hodgdon after the war, and so received the long leaf yellow pine planking.
A promotional brochure produced by Hodgdon, apparently after a few of the lobster pleasure boats had been made, states the planking material as either clear white pine or mahogany – an indication the long leaf yellow pine was used up on the earlier boats and others Hodgdon was building. It is known that the lobster pleasure boat Hodgdon sent to the Chicago Boat Show in early 1947 was planked with long leaf yellow pine. It is unfortunate that company records that would have provided valuable information on the Hodgdon lobster pleasure boats were lost in a shipyard fire in the mid-fifties.
Mahogany – Cabin door (oak panel center), cabin hatch, steering console, chart table (made from wood repurposed from original cockpit bench seat) engine box top, grab rails and bench seat.
*Cabin roofs – marine plywood over spruce beams
Rudder – thought to be white oak, well oiled with brass rod reinforcement
Cockpit sole – 4” vertical grain Douglas Fir (naturally finished) with black polysulphide seams.
*Fasteners – all Everdur bronze, brass, copper or stainless steel.
Deck Hardware – All hardware is cast, no stamped fittings. Almost all are cast from either brass, bronze or copper (exceptions are fittings not available in these metals and so are stainless or chrome). Classic running lights (Navy surplus?), bits, chocks, wheel, and four copper rod holders are all original to boat.
Equipment list –
Garmin Fishfinder 240 with through hull
Richie Powerdamp Compass
ICOM IC-M402S VHF Marine radio
Ground tackle -
20 Lb. Danforth anchor with 6 feet of anchor chain
150 feet nylon anchor line marked at 10 ft intervals
Cast brass bell
Cast bronze air horn with tank and compressor (300 psi)
Windshield wiper (11” blade)
Two Rule flapper-type automatic bilge pumps
Carburetor flame arrestor
Two-battery system (#1 starting, #2 boat systems; or can be run and charged together)
Two multi-purpose starting/deep cycle marine batteries in battery case
Deltran Battery Tender
Battery selector switch with alternator field disconnect protection
Dynaplate thru-hull bronze grounding plate
Shore power receptacle
Rocker fused switches ID’d in panels
Mahogany chart table
Chart storage rack
Storage cabinet (two drawers and two shelves)
Plumbed with through-hulls for toilet discharge
V-berth with 4” foam vinyl covered cushions
Brass 4 1/2” diameter matched traditional marine clock and barometer mounted on mahogany panel (cast casings)
Hanging storage net
GrayMarine gauge cluster in mahogany panel
Brass spoked traditional steering wheel
Brass lever throttle
Brass floor shift
Cockpit cabinet for storing up to six 8’ rods
Eleven rod holders (including one on each downrigger)
Mahogany beverage holders
Mahogany binocular holder
Mahogany bench seat with five rod holders built into seat back; 2” thick foam vinyl seat
Collapsible step stool with storage rack
Collapsible helmsman’s seat
Drop down curtain from cabin top (attaches to cabin sole)
Sport Fishing –
Two Canon manual downriggers telescoping 4-foot booms (new fall 2007) with rod
Cockpit cabinet for storing up to six 8’ rods
Eleven rod holders
Stainless steel prop cage
Extra wood for gunnel and cabin sole (saved from rebuild)
3-ring binder containing original literature/installation information on all boat systems and rebuild components
Publicity that resulted from rebuild of MISS MAISEY -
SOUNDINGS – February 2007, “A bridge to ‘lobster yacht’’
MAINE BOATS & HARBORS – March 2005, “2004 Boats of they year – MISS MAISEY”, by Art Paine
LAKE SUPERIOR MAGAZINE – March 2005, “MISS MAISEY freshens up”
WOODENBOAT MAGAZINE - 2004 “New Launchings”
CLASSIC BOATING MAGAZINE – 2004 “New Launchings”
P.O. Box 203
Rockport, ME 04856