J. B. Turner of Warren, the managing partner of Front Street Shipyard, will speak at the Belfast Rotary Club on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

The Front Street Shipyard, a new custom boatbuilding, service yard, and specialty composites manufacturing facility, is located on the former Stinson Seafood factory site, just south of the Belfast footbridge.

Turner is joined by Taylor Allen, owner of Rockport Marine, Inc.; Steve White, owner of Brooklin Boat Yard; and Kenneth Priest, president of Kenway Corporation in Augusta.

Turner has 24 years of experience as a manager of yacht service and composite boatbuilding projects for major yards on the east coast. Prior to his involvement at Front Street, Turner was president of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Company.

In a press release earlier this year, Turner said he sees this new yard as a melding of the strengths of all the partners. He states, “We see this new facility as an immediate global competitor in all aspects of boatbuilding, repair, and restoration, giving the yachting community another serious option for all their needs. Additionally, it will have tremendous depth in all facets of composites fabrication, from industrial to recreational applications. Full-service capabilities with value-oriented, quality work will be the cornerstone of our philosophy.”

Front Street Shipyard is currently offering dockage for boats up to 180 feet and hauling capacity for vessels up to 165 tons. The Belfast site features deep water access, space for marina facilities, and four acres of land for storage and work bays.

According to the press release, the partners believe that the combination of their individual strengths — the woodworking and design expertise of Brooklin Boat Yard and Rockport Marine, Inc., the diverse industrial composite experience of Kenway Corporation and Turner’s background of leadership in the marine industry — makes this a unique business, with a deep bench of experience.

In the press release, Taylor Allen of Rockport Marine stated, “Steve, JB and I have known each other for many years, and have enjoyed collaborating on and competing for various boat-related projects…each [company] will continue to have different strengths, but there may be times when we will compete for the same projects. We see that as all to the good; in fact, it’s good for Maine boatbuilding and the industry as a whole. What we can put together in Belfast is far greater than any of us could do alone. We come at it with very similar philosophies, plus we have a lot of fun doing it.”

White concurred, “By combining our efforts, we hope to create a truly world-class yacht yard. Taylor and I both remain committed to keeping our own yards in Brooklin and Rockport strong, and operating independently. By the same token, we’ve both been looking for a place that would allow us to compete for some of the bigger boats. Belfast is centrally located, just half an hour from either Brooklin or Rockport, and it’s got deep water access, so it looked pretty interesting. When JB Turner became available to act as the general manager, that gave us the green light for Front Street Shipyard, and when Ken Priest threw his oar in, we all knew we were on to something good.”

Priest emphasized the role that Front Street would play in alternative energy projects such as offshore wind, tidal and wave. Not only will deep-water access allow the shipment of large industrial composite products to customers around the world, but Front Street will offer efficient service, maintenance and repair to off-shore equipment. Says Priest, “The Belfast community offers the regional infrastructure and available labor force which are key to building global composite products: wind turbine blades, towers, spars, and platforms.”

Another strength of the project is the city of Belfast itself. Midcoast Maine has long been recognized for its stunning cruising grounds and top-notch boatbuilding, and Belfast is a choice destination for both cruisers and tourists. “Belfast is the ideal location to create Front Street Shipyard,” remarked Turner. “It has a broad range of businesses, hotels, restaurants and stores, not to mention the cluster of local suppliers to the shipyard.”

The Belfast Rotary Club meets at the Waldo County Shrine Club at noon for lunch followed by a speaker. The public is welcome to attend. The price of the lunch is $10, and listening to the speaker is free.