Talk to focus on Young Brothers’ history

The Young brothers’ fiberglass lobster boats were considered the best in the fleet in the company’s prime. From left, Arvin, Colby and Arvid Young.
The Young brothers’ fiberglass lobster boats were considered the best in the fleet in the company’s prime. From left, Arvin, Colby and Arvid Young.

Who: Colby Young and Dale Woodward

What: Talk on the Young Brothers boatbuilding company

When: Monday, July 6, 7 p.m.

Where: Gouldsboro Historical Society Museum, 452 Route 1, West Gouldsboro

GOULDSBORO — For the three boat building Young Brothers, it was all about durability, quality and speed, speed, speed.

In their heyday, the fabricators of some of the first fiberglass fishing boats in the country also were consistent winners in lobster boat races up and down coastal Maine.

“I didn’t play sports in high school and I didn’t play an instrument,” said Colby Young of the trophies he and his twin brothers accumulated. “It was a lot of fun.”

Colby, the only surviving brother of the three, will revisit the company’s rich history July 6 in a talk before the Gouldsboro Historical Society.

Speaking with him will be Dale Woodward, a former Navy engineer who now fishes out of Milbridge.

Colby, 76, said he and his brothers, the late Arvid and Arvin Young, saw in the early 1970s that the future was in fiberglass, not wood, hulls.

“They got in on the ground floor of glass building,” the late Mike Crowe, editor of the Fishermen’s Voice, said of the brothers. “They built fast, strong boats that are highly respected.”

Virtually all of the more than 550 fiberglass boats the Youngs built over 30-plus years were built based on designs by Ernest Libby Jr. of Beals Island.

“He came to see us and he designed all but the original ones,” said Colby, who had known Libby since they were children. “There was never a finer man in a pair of shoes than Ernest Libby Jr. He knew what he was doing and he was an honest Christian.”

Libby’s belief was that the bottom had to be designed so that the boat “swings good, gets underway quick, is fast and stable with some roll, steady without throwing too much water.”

Colby said the brothers built the boats — mostly 30 to 35 feet — from start to finish.

“We all did everything we had to do,” he said. “I did most of the rigging. My brothers did the glass and mold work. Then we’d split it up to avoid getting bored.”

The brothers argued at times, but then agreed to disagree and did whatever they wanted to do the way in which they wanted to do it.

“Either way it always came out in the end,” Colby said.

The Young Brothers’ boats were known not only for their speed and durability but also for the quality and attention to detail.

“We made sure we dotted all the I’s and crossed all the t’s,” said Colby. “And if anyone had a problem we would take care of it.”

They also competed fiercely on the lobster boat race circuit to the point where their victory was at times a given.

The brothers often pushed their boats — particularly Sopwith Camel and Camel 2 — to more than 60 mph, claiming the title of the world’s fastest lobster boat.

The business they started in 1975 closed in 2007 when Colby’s wife and his two younger brothers were faced with serious illnesses.

Young, who plans to be back fishing once he has a ruptured disk taken care of, said it was a good life.

“We met some wonderful people all over the country and we met some who were not so good,” he said.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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