June 20, 2017

Covey On a recent visit to Lunenburg I had a few minutes to speak with Al Hutchinson at Covey Island Boatworks. The company, which gained an international reputation for building wood/epoxy yachts mostly of a traditional nature, has been busy diversifying in the face of a changing marketplace. They have just launched a “state of the art” fishing boat at their new facility in Brooklyn, on the site of the old Bowater Mersey paper mill. The yard had built a few commercial vessels over the years, but nothing like this newest boat, which is almost yacht like in its finish and has every conceivable bit of gear

Al pointed out the custom boatbuilding market is vastly changed from pre-2008 days with the number of new sailboats launched over 50ft down almost 90%. Being able work in several market segments is crucial for long term success. 

Covey 2Covey Island Boatworks built their 1st Solar Electric Ketch in 2004 and their 1st Hybrid yacht designed by Sparkman & Stephens in 2006. Electric & Hybrid marine propulsion is finally gaining in popularity and is more widely accepted now thanks to the automotive industry, advances in Lithium and AGM batteries, Regeneration, and public interest in sustainability and our environment. In response to these trends, Covey has taken on the regional distribution of Torqeedo electric outboards and partnered with the UK based Lynch Motor Company (LMC)

SchoonerLMC is widely regarded as an innovator and leader in the design and manufacturing of very efficient and reliable electric motors for the marine and other industries. Al had this to say about their relationship with LMC: “The tremendous growth and popularity of electric propulsion and hybrids in the boating industry is something that both companies want to expand their focus on in Canada and the USA. Consumers are embracing the concept of sustainability and showing great concern for our environment. Being respectful of the marine environment is equally rewarding and even practical today. We feel there are specific opportunities for new boats to include electric or hybrid (diesel/electric) propulsion systems based on the boating habits of the owners and we want to play a part in this segment. There is also a considerable opportunity to repower older boats with electric or hybrid systems.”

Schooner 2Perhaps as an example of how things are changing, just next door to the Covey Island offices David Westergard is building a traditional wooden schooner. David has built several large schooners in recent years, but he says this one is a simple daysailer design with only minimal accommodations. While David is a master of traditional boatbuilding techniques and this new boat is a classic design, a look in the bilge of the reveals an electric motor. -GC

www.coveyelectricmarine.com
Photo credit G. Cairns

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