The new teak transom glistened, with gold letters shining beneath the coats of varnish. At the bow, a floral wreath was placed. Stefan Cushman’s boat was ready to launch.
With the crew at the John Williams Boat Company on Maine’s Mount Desert Island watching, Hog Penny splashed into Downeast waters, and the wreath cast into the sea with all due ceremony. It was a special moment, says Cushman, 52, a commercial real estate manager based in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was part of the experience of buying a boat in Maine.
It was also the final chapter in the 12-year restoration that remade Hog Penny, a 25-year-old Pemaquid Beach 26, into a Downeast head-turner. “It was in very rough condition. It needed to be completely overhauled,” says Cushman, who bought the fiberglass vessel in 2006. “But I liked the lines.”
He first saw it in Soundings, found it in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and bought it sight unseen, pending a sea trial, for around $75,000. Cushman then drove it from Marblehead to its new home waters in Maine. After a few initial improvements at Pemaquid Harbor Yachts in New Harbor, the restoration project began in earnest in 2008 at the Williams yard.
The restoration started simply enough with the addition of dinghy davits and a new chartplotter. A new Yanmar diesel followed, along with teak fold-away helm and passenger seats and an opening center windshield panel in the pilothouse. Each year, says Cushman, something else was planned and executed: a soda-blast and barrier coat and new paint for the bottom; a teak sprit with windlass and anchor roller; and glass side panels and a new headliner for the pilothouse. Each project, large and small, from trim tabs to sea strainers, was checked off the list in turn.
In 2015, Hog Penny got its new transom and lettering, along with a teak swim platform. “It’s really a 30-foot boat, now,” says Cushman. Recent additions include a teak cockpit sole and, to top it off, new name boards port and starboard.
“It was all done over time, carefully planned and well thought out,” says Cushman. “In the process, you get to know the boat, and you make the upgrades that really make it work.”
Cushman has roots in Maine, having spent summers in Seal Harbor on Mount Desert Island. He sailed and raced Mercurys at the yacht club, taught sailing at Northeast Harbor and went on to race IODs and J-24s.
He still spends summers in Seal Harbor. Now, he’s cruising in the Pemaquid Beach 26, weekending and sometimes just “gunkholing up and down the coast of Maine,” as he says. Some of his preferred destinations include the Cranberry Islands (the Isleford Dock restaurant on Little Cranberry is one of his favorites), Baker Island and the more distant Swan’s Island.
“If I’m going cruising offshore a little more, I’ll go south to the Penobscot area, Vinalhaven or Downeast, north to Winter Harbor and beyond, up to Roque Island,” he says. “With the dinghy davits, you throw the anchor out and row ashore.”
The Pemaquid Beach 26 handles like the lobster boat from which it’s derived. The wide beam makes it stable and sturdy, says Cushman, and the boat can take on all kinds of conditions. “It’s big enough to handle bad weather and going out at night, while keeping people dry and comfortable,” Cushman says. “But, it’s also small enough to get into tight docks, and it maneuvers
Power comes from a 2008 Yanmar 6BY260 diesel, a 260-hp powerplant that gives Cushman an easy cruising speed of just under 20 knots. “Whether you’re going at slow speed or high speed, it handles a chop and keeps you dry,” he says.
A cuddy cabin provides amenities for day trips and the necessities for overnighting, including an enclosed head. Hinged panels turn the engine box into a full bunk, which means you can sleep four people in the fully enclosed pilothouse. “Overnights are no problem. I do it all the time,” Cushman says. “I make good use of the interior. It’s basic, simple and functional.”
“This boat has provided pleasure to a lot of people,” he says. “It has pedigree, and people enjoy that aspect of it. The stern seat with the ensign flag is a nice feature, and the teak, so well-maintained, really glistens in the sun and lights the boat up.”
For Cushman, the Pemaquid Beach 26 is the full package. She’s aesthetically beautiful and totally functional. “Hog Penny really checks all the boxes,” he says.
Weight: 14,000 lbs.
Power: (1) 260-hp Yanmar
Fuel: 95 gals.
Water: 25 gals.
The Pemaquid Beach 26 is the creation of Maine lobsterboat designer Spencer Lincoln and John Cousins, who had a hand in the design of the Webber’s Cove 26. It combines the look of a traditional workboat with a contemporary bottom shape with a sharp entry, soft chines and full-length lifting strakes. Pemaquid Harbor Yachts continues to build the boats on a semi-custom basis.
This article was originally published in the April 2021 issue.