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Old 05-24-2014, 09:02 PM   #1
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Newly proposed marina in St. Augustine

Just saw on Cruisers Net that there is a proposal for a new ship yard and marina in St. Augustine. The site is on the West bank of the San Sebastion River. It appears to me the site is the old Main Ship plant. From the layout it looks like the old lay up building will become a large dry storage building. Then the old "water front" area looks like it will become the docking area. There have been literally thousands of boats made at that facility. They put a lot of people on the water. We may never see as prolific a builder of trawlers again in the US.
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:04 AM   #2
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It would be nice if they did something with that property. As is, its a total waste of prime waterfront land. St Aug has a history of not getting these types of projects off the ground.
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:48 AM   #3
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We may never see as prolific a builder of trawlers again in the US.


The boomers are retiring 10,000 a day ,all are past their prime spending , and with many houses having been used as piggy banks , perhaps in 2025 or 2030 there will be a big demand.

Price is the killer , so IF boat production ever modernized , and prices drop by 1/2 or 2/3 on new builds , boat demand in the 40-60 ft range might come back.

While there are millions of boomers still around , it would take a miracle.

Or simply a revolution in boat construction , which becomes more possible every day.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:08 AM   #4
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The site is on the West bank of the San Sebastion River. It appears to me the site is the old Main Ship plant.

I thought the Mainship facility was on the east bank, accessed from Riberia St?

-Chris
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:18 AM   #5
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I think this is it according to Google
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:31 AM   #6
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I thought the Mainship facility was on the east bank, accessed from Riberia St?

-Chris
You are thinking of St. Augustine Marine, a boat yard owned by Luhrs/Mainship. They serviced all sorts of boats there as well as built steel boats for commercial and the Malorka (sp) Strait exploration yachts. If you will look at the Google picture, the docks slightly down stream on the East side are the Riberia St. facility. The big factory site is on the West.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:22 AM   #7
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. We may never see as prolific a builder of trawlers again in the US.
Geeze, that makes me sad to hear that, Don. I often wonder what the market really is, where it's going, what it's thinking. When I think of the darned good designs that have fallen...?!

One example was when Pearson bought PDQ Cats. Only two years before, PDQ was included in a coffee-table publication as one of the top 10 highest rated sailing crafts in the world. They had the knowledge, skill and even the tech with the most recent cad-software. One financial slip and they were down, even though they had become the top North-American catamaran builder with their 34' power-cat. The introduction of its 41 ft. model was a technology shock to the industry for hull efficiency, just as the 34 was.

When Pearson bought it, I figured it was a very good move for the company and that surely we'd be seeing an even more refined version of these designs. Then Pearson went flat too. A shame.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #8
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Geeze, that makes me sad to hear that, Don. I often wonder what the market really is, where it's going, what it's thinking. When I think of the darned good designs that have fallen...?!

One example was when Pearson bought PDQ Cats. Only two years before, PDQ was included in a coffee-table publication as one of the top 10 highest rated sailing crafts in the world. They had the knowledge, skill and even the tech with the most recent cad-software. One financial slip and they were down, even though they had become the top North-American catamaran builder with their 34' power-cat. The introduction of its 41 ft. model was a technology shock to the industry for hull efficiency, just as the 34 was.

When Pearson bought it, I figured it was a very good move for the company and that surely we'd be seeing an even more refined version of these designs. Then Pearson went flat too. A shame.
Larry, I think it is our roller coaster economy that gets them. Afraid of losing business, they gear their factories and staffs to the top of the market. Then boom the bottom drops out. Trying to hold a work force and nearly empty assembly lines is a killer. Everyone hates to be fired or to fire someone. The industry is too slow to reduce the force. Many are always positioning to be ready for the come back that doesn't come soon enough to save them.

My business is very much like that. How many real estate developers have you heard of going under? Probably the majority. Guessing the market is more luck than skill. Overhead is the killer.

As I told my son during the last downturn, "I use to think it would be easy to sell houses at a loss, but I have changed my mind".

It ain't easy running a business.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:45 AM   #9
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You are thinking of St. Augustine Marine, a boat yard owned by Luhrs/Mainship. They serviced all sorts of boats there as well as built steel boats for commercial and the Malorka (sp) Strait exploration yachts. If you will look at the Google picture, the docks slightly down stream on the East side are the Riberia St. facility. The big factory site is on the West.

Ah, got it. That would also prob'ly 'splain why Gioia Sails (OEM canvas for Silverton/Luhrs/Mainship... and I guess Hunter) was at the place on the west side...

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Old 05-25-2014, 01:05 PM   #10
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The boomers are retiring 10,000 a day ,....
Price is the killer , so IF boat production ever modernized , and prices drop by 1/2 or 2/3 on new builds , boat demand in the 40-60 ft range might come back.

Or simply a revolution in boat construction , which becomes more possible every day.
Exactly. With the prospect of future tech like giant 3D printers, new boat construction may take the route of huge initial out-lays only possible with backing by governments like China, where semi-custom hulls, complete with stringers, coring, bulkheads and decks are printed to your specs. Finish-outs could be computer-cut cookies, nested for transport and assembled anywhere. Who knows...maybe nano-cellular tech will grow future boats organically with teaser-grafts from your behind, giving a whole new meaning to buttock-line angle.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:59 PM   #11
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I think Mainship / Luhrs bought the yard after Desko, the shrimp boat builder, went out of business. That site has had a boat builder there for many years.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:21 PM   #12
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Desco = Diesel Engine Service Corp, the forerunner for what is now known as Ring Power (cat).
Lurs /Mainship does own the property. It is leased to St Aug Marine. Many of the molds are still in the storage yard.
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:34 PM   #13
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Desco = Diesel Engine Service Corp, the forerunner for what is now known as Ring Power (cat).
Lurs /Mainship does own the property. It is leased to St Aug Marine. Many of the molds are still in the storage yard.
Capt. Jack,

Is that when the street got named Diesel Road? I always thought that was unusual.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:06 PM   #14
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I don't know Don, I didn't move to St Aug until 2000. Desco was at the facility on Riberia St, it was gone by then.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:22 AM   #15
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>Exactly. With the prospect of future tech like giant 3D printers, new boat construction may take the route of huge initial out-lays only possible with backing by governments like China, where semi-custom hulls, complete with stringers, coring, bulkheads and decks are printed to your specs. Finish-outs could be computer-cut cookies, nested for transport and assembled anywhere. Who knows...maybe nano-cellular tech will grow future boats organically with teaser-grafts from your behind, giving a whole new meaning to buttock-line angle.<


Master designer/builder Capt H called GRP boats frozen snot.

Would seem easy enough to have a end tip on a robot lay down a layer of GRP say 1/4 inch wide . A pair spaced an inch apart could lay up GRP that another tip would spray structural foam.

This would give an insulated , quiet, cored hull of modest weight (and therefore lower cost).

The water guns could create a snap together interior (ply with laminate or similar) that would be light , strong and finished.

A pre made wiring harness would be attached before the interior is dropped in place on the fitted engine drive goodies.

Perhaps a week , and except for quantity pricing of parts (like engines and deck hardware) there would be no saving in series production .

Like wooden boats , every one could be different at no extra expense.

The tech exists TODAY , its just a bit of will and capitol that is required.
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Old 01-21-2015, 10:38 AM   #16
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I'm living in St Augustine now, having just moved here recently. but I am kind of ignoring the boat business at the moment as it is just so limited by the 2008 recession and recent high fuel prices.

I would love to get a project like my suggested Pilgrim 40 redesign going, and as FF has suggested I think some 'modern thinking' applied to the production process could really lower production cost, as well as over-investment exposure.

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This entire cabin box structure can be quickly assembled from pre-cut honeycomb sandwich panels off over in a corner of the shop, right on the shop floor, then lifted onto the deck of the vessel and glued or mechanically attached down. Built of primarily hollow honeycomb panels, this superstructure should be pretty light-weight.


There is no electrical wiring nor plumbing contained in the walls of this cabin-box. These services are all provided for by way of the floor of the cabin,....underside of the deck.

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Very likely just have a steel shop weld up the CNC cut panels and deliver that to use in its frameless style cradle, primed and epoxy coated. Then you are not paying for metal workers (or bulk FG layup workers to sit around waiting for another order.

And the carpentry portion of the job might be farmed out to another 'home building supply group' that needs a little side work to fill out their schedule. I've done a little looking at operations in Thailand, and I know of some in Vietnam that could supply all the interior wood as a 'kit' to be installed. For that matter a USA company might just as well supply the CNC cut wood kit for not that much greater price,...and we'd be employing US workers. I even know personally of some home remodeling friends with a wood shop that could knock this wood kit out rather easily once all the dimensions and shapes were documented.



But, bottom line is what sort of market is there really for slow fuel efficient trawlers ? I'm afraid to say I think todays primary powerboat market is still the trailer launched speed boats for pleasure and fishing.
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:55 PM   #17
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But, bottom line is what sort of market is there really for slow fuel efficient trawlers ? I'm afraid to say I think todays primary powerboat market is still the trailer launched speed boats for pleasure and fishing.
There is a bigger question. What sort of market for slow fuel efficient trawlers with no history of proven quality and performance?

And I'd say virtually none. If you want to build one for yourself, that's great, but to make a new entry into the market, likely to fail.

And you're right that in number of boats, trailered powerboats far outnumber others overall. In dollars it would be megayachts. Still there's a demand for all types of boats and there are plenty of trawler and trawler type boats being sold.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:08 PM   #18
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The San Sebastion river is what the city calls the ICW. The old Luhrs/Mainship plant access is from US1 and the small winding creek that fronts the property is Oyster Creek which flows to the ICW. Oyster Creek drain a large water shed West of US1 and the water is a real test for any bottom paint. The site might be good for a dry storage boat facility and who knows maybe one day revert back to building boats. You could always tell when they where building a trawler by the smell of the resins as you drove by on US1. Where are the Mainship trawlers built now ?
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #19
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I thought the Mainship facility was on the east bank, accessed from Riberia St?

-Chris
East Bank is St Augustine Marine, accessed on Riberia St. Mainship owns this property as well as the Old Mainship/Luhrs yard.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:34 AM   #20
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. Where are the Mainship trawlers built now ?
They went out of business during the great recession in 08. David Marlow purchased Hunter Sailboats and the Mainship name from the crashed Luhrs empire, and has built a couple of small Mainship Pilots which I think are built at the Hunter yard in Alachua Fl.
Marlow also purchased the old Merrill-Stevens yard on the Miami river with much publicized grandiose plans at about the same time. That kind of petered out too, but with very little press. I'm telling you-many businesses you think are still in business aren't. Some of the "biggies"(Bertram and Navigator for an example) are just websites, and where they once built boats are now re purposed. The big Sea Ray plant in Florida is now closed too, after much fanfare of Bertram moving in. The Bertram facilities in Miami have been film studios for years now.
shocker to me was that Sunseeker was sold to a Chinese guy with zero press a couple of years ago. Heck, I'm just a website (every marina location I was at in Miami was either repurposed or torn out for condos) too, but I will answer the door at my office now out in the country. Maybe
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