The 199-years history of the five generations of Hodgdon boat builders is possibly the longest history of a family of boat builders in the USA. We met Tim Hodgdon, Ceo&President Hodgdon Yachts.
Caleb Hodgdon started this history with the launching of a 42’ pinky schooner for the local fishing fleet in 1816.
He was an entrepreneur and his primary business was a saw and gristmill. Between 1850 and 1895 the yard and the mill prospered. The mill ground tons of grain, and sawed thousands of board feet of lumber while 24 schooners (all commercial vessels, either cargo carriers or fishing boats) were launched. During this period three generations of Hodgdons were building in their shipyard.
In 1895 the last vessel of the 19th century slid down the ways. The last five years of the century seem to be lean years for shipbuilding in East Boothbay and resulted in the third generation leaving home to find work. With the turn of the century, yachts would replace commercial vessels as the predominant work. In 1902, Takitsky, a 42’ yawl designed by I.B. Mills, was the first Hodgdon yacht. With the launching of Takitsky and the heralded talents of the family, the Hodgdons were set for a prolific 20th century; in 1999 Tim would close the century with the launch of Antonisa.
Tim Hodgdon’s contributions to the family legacy are cold molded construction, mega-yachts and custom tender boats. Under Tim Hodgdon’s leadership the company transformed from a small shop building traditional wooden vessels to the company that built one of the largest wooden sailing yacht launched in the 21st century.
Hodgdon is America’s oldest boat builder and still family owned: what does it mean for you?
We are very proud of the history of our company and its longevity. Our company goals are driven towards innovation and quality. While innovation in the 1800s was much different technically than what we strive for now, the importance of moving aggressively forward is unchanged over the years.
Your company has differents divisions: could you explain us how your business is made?
Hodgdon company consists of five divisions. While the separate divisions are focused on a specific aspect of the marine industry, they remain part of the whole. The divisions include Hodgdon Yachts, specializing in custom sail and power yacht construction (up to 60 meters); Hodgdon Custom Tenders, building some of the highest quality superyacht tenders afloat; Hodgdon Interiors, crafting high-end superyacht interiors (up to 80 meters); Hodgdon Yacht Services, devoted to service, refits, storage, and dockage; and Hodgdon Defense Composites, constructing specialized defense craft. The company’s diversification is critical.
You built old style sailboats and also a super technological one, Comanche: which are your next projects?
We have contracts in place that range from a high quality 65′ modern classic yawl, to high end limousine tenders. Hodgdon Interiors has projects of extraordinary quality underway to support production at our own shipyard as well as interiors subcontracted to other yards and elsewhere. We have very cutting edge advanced composite projects with unique requirements under construction.
Please, could you describe the type of yacht refit work you do?
Currently we are working on a 155′ ketch that we delivered in 2003. This is being done at Hodgdon Yachts. At Hodgdon Yacht Services – where we service and support smaller vessels – we are refitting a classic 45′ yawl, a 44′ Magnum powerboat, and other projects.
Nowadays technology is more and more important: what is a must have onboard?
Technology today is vast and spread across a broad range of capabilities, making it difficult to identify “a must have.” To some people that means complex vessel monitoring packages, joy stick controls, and touch screens. To others it means carbon fiber light weight construction, waterjets, or entertainment equipment.
You have an office in Monaco: which are the differences between an american owner and a mediterranean one?
I can’t see any differences based on geographic location. Owners know what they want and we take great pride in delivering products that cause a high level of enjoyment and satisfaction to these unique and knowledgeable individuals. We at Hodgdon have been very lucky to have worked with a large number of visionary owners, designers, project managers, and others in the industry.