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Portland Yacht Services finalizes boatyard purchase

Portland Yacht Services completed the purchase of boat repair business Gowen Marine, a move that will enable the company to service and repair larger vessels in the coastal Maine city.

Portland Yacht Services president Phineas Sprague Jr. said its customers and those of the former Gowen Marine should experience a significant increase in efficiencies and capacity.

“This is something we have been considering for a very long time," Sprague said in a statement. "The facility will give us the flexibility to move forward with our long-term plan and allow us to immediately begin servicing larger vessels that could not be serviced at our former location.”

Sprague is developing a state-of-the-art boatyard on Commercial Street near the Casco Bay Bridge. The former Gowen Marine, which has a 150-ton Travelift, complements the new yard, which is being built on the western end of the Portland waterfront.

In August, after receiving his last permit for the new boatyard at 40 W. Commercial St., Sprague finalized the sale of the Portland Marine Co. complex at 58 Fore St.

Sprague said the space limitations of the Fore Street location, combined with the complexities of opening the new yard, required an interim opportunity to keep moving forward with a long-term plan.

Maintenance and storage buildings and a launching ramp will be completed at the new yard in mid-November. Docks and other facilities will follow. Portland Yacht Services will be operating out of three properties in Portland.

Gowen Marine was founded in 1955 by Harold Gowen and was purchased in 1968 by Joseph Schmader, who grew the business into a 2-acre complex at 400 Commercial St. that supports commercial and recreational marine vessels.

Schmader, 67, will continue to own and operate Gowen Power Systems Inc., a separate company that is based at the Commercial Street address.

Sprague and Schmader met in 1972, when Sprague refitted his schooner for a circumnavigation at Schmader's wharf, and they became fast friends. The two men say they are excited about the city's future and share a vision for reinvigorating a port that was once bustling, but was later hit hard by challenges connected to the commercial fishing industry.

"I know what Phin and his team want to do and I know they are capable of getting it done," Schmader said. "I am pleased to be a part of this process."

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