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Maine builder will help produce rescue boats

A Maine boatbuilding family that’s known for its high-end yachts is collaborating with a designer of rescue boats to produce vessels for search-and-rescue or special forces missions.

Hodgdon Defense Composites, a Bath-based affiliate of Hodgdon Yachts, received several military contracts to produce rescue boats small enough to be air-dropped from a C-130 cargo plane but sturdy enough to stay upright in the most challenging surf, according to a The Portland Press-Herald report.

“In breaking surf, it can do things that no other vessel can do,” said the boat’s designer, Peter Maguire, whose North Carolina-based company, Rapid Rescue Technology, is partnering with Hodgdon Defense Composites.

Known as the Greenough Advanced Rescue Craft, or GARC, the vessel is an example of the Maine boatbuilding industry’s embrace of new technologies and the diversity in the state’s defense contracting sector.

Resembling a PWC, the GARC measures roughly 12 feet and has a 143-hp, waterjet-driven engine. The military-grade craft features a larger, deeper hull made of composite technology developed, in part, with assistance from researchers at University of Maine.

Hodgdon Defense Composites has several under construction and recently received an order for 16 more from the Air National Guard.

“This company proves that even in tough times, there is always a market for superior craftsmanship,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said just before christening the first boat.

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