Since Northern Marine has had a number of existing clients return for repair and renovation work, the Washington State yard has officially launched a refit division.
The Northern Marine refit division will service both Northern Marine-built yachts as well as other builders’ boats. Since it builds yachts and megayachts to 151 feet (46 meters), it can handle a few different projects.
Arguably the most famous refit underway right now is that of Cheemaun, a 75-footer (22.9-meter) built at Northern Marine in 1998. Back then, she was known as Starship, and she undertook a three-year, 75,000-mile circumnavigation to study and document the state of oceans and waterfront villages. In 2002, after the voyage ended, an experienced yachting couple, who just so happened to be actor Gene Hackman and his wife, purchased the yacht for themselves and their two seagoing pups, refitting her in Florida and rechristening her Machiko. Now in new hands and rechristened again, Cheemaun is back at Northern Marine for the creation of a Portuguese bridge, new bottom paint, systems upgrades, and an interior redesign.
Four other yachts from 57 to 72 feet (17.4 to 22 meters, respectively) are being refitted at Northern Marine now as well.
In related news, earlier this year Northern Marine acquired the assets of Glas-Ply, a fellow Washington State boatbuilder that shut down operations more than a decade ago. Glas-Ply offered fiberglass boats from seven to 28 feet, and many dating back more than two decades are still in Pacific Northwest waters, so the brand was known for its durability. Andy McDonald, Northern Marine’s president, says the boats will now be offered as custom tenders.