The boating world is setting a course for Maine's Rockland harbor, because of an old boat that is suddenly state of the art. The 45-foot Northern Spy is actually 56 years old - but is the first older vessel anywhere in the country to be equipped with a Volvo IPS joystick-controlled pod-drive propulsion system.
The project was done by Yachting Solutions of Rockport. Bill Morong, Jr., one of the owners of Yachting Solutions, says they believe this is the first time anyone had "repowered" a pleasure boat with the advanced IPS system. Volvo, he says, makes bigger versions of the system for commercial ships.
"The repower market is huge" says Morong, so he and the manufacturer are hopeful this first project will generate a lot of interest among other boat owners.
It clearly has caught the attention of national boating magazines. Morong says several of them, including Soundings, have already come to Rockland to see the boat and write articles about it. He's also hoping it sends a positive message about Maine's boatbuilding industry.
The boat will be on display through Sunday in Rockland at the annual Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors boat show.