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The Lure of Power Boats

The LM 30 Jet Drive
THOMASTON, Maine -- Sure, I love the 14-foot tides, fish that tastes as sweet as the sea, and light and land all around.

It's no accident that American realist painter Andrew Wyeth knocked off "Christina's World" just seven miles down the road.

But honestly, I come to Maine for the boats.

Not those cute little retro sailing schooners that ply tourists with a taste of Maine's great sailing past -- I want the big, fast, world-class, ultra-high-tech yachts that are coming from these rugged shores.

Maine boat-building is positively chic.

There are many storied builders turning out excellent boats. The Hinckley Company up in Southwest Harbor is probably the best known, with its elegant power and sail semicustom yachts.

More traditional craft come from Morris Yachts over in Bass Harbor. I like what Hodgdon Yachts in East Boothbay is doing with its 105-foot "sensible" cruiser and very sexy 61-foot cafe racer.

Even lobster boating has gone upscale.

Young Brothers, from up past Mount Desert Island in the hardcore fishing town of Corea, is now finishing its traditional lobster boats -- the ones you see on all the postcards -- in fancier cruising trims.

These boats may look old-school, but they fly. A Young Brothers 30-footer holds what is probably the outright speed record for a boat of this type: A blistering 64 mph.

But I am particularly partial to what one yard is doing with high-tech yacht construction: the Lyman Morse Boat Building Company . (Full disclosure: I helped build owner Cabot Lyman's house when I was teenager, a thousand years ago. But that doesn't give me a positive bias. I was quickly -- and rightfully -- fired.)

Lyman Morse specializes in best-of-breed pure custom yachts, built from mostly traditional, wholesome designs.

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