From generations past when anyone spoke of the Libby boats, the same was always said even to this very day. Libby boats are known for their seaworthiness, the ability for power and speed. Libby boats go back to Ernest Libby Jr. (also known as “Nernie” by friends and family) who was from Beals Island, Maine, he started out by observing, trial and error, and an eye for detail. He first started building boats in the late 50’s, where his Uncle Clinton Beal also helped teach him some of the trade of building wooden boats. Ernest learned a lot from Clinton but for the designing aspect that was all Ernest. It was said when he first designed a boat he would measure how high sided and wide he wanted it, then make a wooden model, finally then he would write it on paper.
The first most historical boat was the “Marguerite G.”, in which any person that was or has been connected to lobster boat racing throughout the years has remembered that name. He made that boat for James Preston, whom was winning races. At that particular time the
“Marguerite G.” was the fastest boat, Ernest was very modest and simply said “there wasn’t anything special about her” the boat just had speed. But when the Marguerite G. was made
this was a huge development in boat building, mainly due to the fact that it would “plane without having spray rails”. All the boats built before the Marguerite G. always had spray rails, but when Ernest built her he was given free range to build her any way he wanted, so he did and without spray rails. In turn worked out successfully because the Marguerite G. made it into the history of boats to be the fastest boat of all others at that time.
Throughout the years the views of the boats changed, the bottoms were very flat, Ernest didn’t ever really build a very flat bottomed boat. It has been said that the more flat bottomed a boat was the more water it threw, that’s why Ernest developed a semi-v stern, closely being flat with a rocker keel, in turn the bow comes up when sailing. Ernest had said “she will also run on a following sea.”
Through years of observation of his boats sailing through the water he made improvements in whatever project he was building next. There was nothing that he didn’t use that he built, it was said that his belief was that if you built a boat shouldn’t you know how she sails, or what you need to fix or make better. He believed it was the easiest way to know what worked best or not, that’s why he lobster fished with what he built. In the process of fishing he noted all the changes that needed to be done and it was trial and error. Otherwise without knowing first hand, lobster fishermen only fished with what was recommended by others.
It was in the 70’s that when Ernest joined with Young Brothers of Corea to construct and build for them various models composed of fiberglass. The 33’ foot boat, was the first Ernest created for Young Brothers. According to Norman Libby Sr. his father was very close to the Young Brothers, as far back as when Ernest was a child. In that time Ernest designed and built the 30,36,38,40,and 45 foot boats for Young Brothers.
Years later Ernest wanted to design his very own version of a 38’ foot boat, this was a little wider and higher sided, also having less flare in the bow. This was Libby’s version of a 38’, and performed strongly.
In the early 2000’s Norman Libby Sr., his son, approached his father about making a 41’ Libby, due to the high demand for a bigger and faster lobster boat. So together with his sons Norman, Ivan, Glenn, and LeBaron they made the 41’ Libby Boat. Where at that point Norman Libby Sr. and Sons was created.
Ernest values and beliefs were that the knowledge of the creation of the boat and what causes it to maneuver great was one of his strong attributes to boat building.
Ernest predicted years back that the lobster boat was ever evolving, there was going to be a demand for wider with more freeboard boats. Ernest preferred the “old styled” boats, fairly high sided with a good amount of sheer and somewhat lean.
In any harbors near or far, there is a good chance you will see an Ernest Libby Jr. “Libby Boat”. If one thing is true throughout the years, its that the Libby boat as kept the reputation for being a good looking boat, very able to perform speed, and have known to be able to withstand bad weather.
Norman Sr. has since made dozens of 41’ Libby boats, carrying on his father’s tradition of building boats and teaching the knowledge of what he learned from his father to other’s. The brother’s all worked with Norman and still do to this day. But they are ready to slow down, and are truly thankful they will be able to come to East Side Boat Shop to work.
The anticipation of the 47’ is beyond belief! Norman and his brothers have overseen and watched the transformation of this big endeavor, and are amazed! She is going to be one big boat…! They give their insight on things and are constantly anxious of the unveiling of this “monster”. With this huge project comes a lot of new found respect for any and all boat builders. It is a huge undertaking and can be very rewarding, yet exhausting. Frank has taken every little detail to heart, and has made this boat like he wanted for himself! Originally Frank had wanted Norman to make him this 47’ boat, poor Norman just didn’t want the task, and now Frank knows why! In the end when things are finished, that’s where the prize is in sight, this 47’ Libby boat that was completed and will be passed on from generation to generation like the Libby family has continued to do. Frank hopes to make Norman Sr. and his family proud.