Two families - four boats

Once upon a time there were two families, one had a multi-generational boatyard on an island off the coast of Maine. The other was a multi-generational family of fisherman from Beverly Massachusetts. Over the course of two decades Brown's Boatyard built four lobster boats for the Birarelli family. Parents, Richard (Dick) and Jean Birarelli had three sons, Mikey, Jimmy, and Joey. They found us through a friend of theirs that attended one of the first Stonington ME lobster boat races. Foy was racing his boat "Centerfold" and the friend who was interested in having a wooden lobster boat built made inquires. He decided to go a different root but he passed on his good impressions to the Birarelli family. Dick and Jimmy came for a visit and the rest, as the idiom goes, is history.

Jimmy was first, in 1985. He asked us build a 38 footer he named 'Diamond Jim', Little did we know it was the prototype for more to come.  In 1987, fresh from high school came Joey Birarelli, raring to get on the water in his custom lobster boat "Shooting Star". At 42 ft, painted midnight blue she was a beauty and his pride and joy. In 1990 we built the last of the wooden Birarelli boats for patriarch Dick. 42ft long and fire engine red the 'Jean B' was named for his wife Jean. Jean oversaw each and every boat launch party at the yard with the organizational skills of an executive chef and saw to it that no one went hungry! Each boat launch was cause for a HUGE party with many, many Birarelli relatives and friends making the journey north to watch the boats glide down the ways. Jimmy returned again In 2001 and we finished off a West Mac hull. Although he changed to fiberglass he still wanted our craftsmanship to finish off his boat. Their brother Mikey helped on each build, bringing laughter, mischief and lots of stories. Each of the boys, (as we still call them!) spent a great deal of time on island while their boats were under construction. All of them putting in sweat equity, tackling many tasks. Jimmy moved here for months, rooming at Corice Hurd's so he could work on his boat. Joey too spent a lot of time here. That time spent working shoulder to shoulder led to the close relationship between our families. They all had a work ethic like ours, a sense of humor that buoys in tough times, and a fierce pride in their work.

Our friendship with the Birarelli family has remained intact for more than 30 years, phone calls and cards at Christmas. Foy has been to Beverly several times for visits, but most recently for the unbelievably heartbreaking occasion of Joey's funeral. He passed in 2014 after a courageous battle with liver cancer. Sadly just a few months after his Mom, Jean passed. Sorrowful times for both families. Joey and his wife Nicki had been excited to come back to the island to celebrate our our 125th year in business in August of 2013 when he was diagnosed. His family and friends and it seems all of Beverly surrounded them with love, food and support. Support that included sporting bright orange "Birarelli Strong" bracelets. Joe's love of life, family and fishing will forever be remembered both in Beverly and North Haven.

Joey's beloved lobster boat, 'Shooting Star' came to his oldest son Tim. Timmy has continued their family legacy of fishing and has taken the same care in maintaining the old vessel. The closing days of Feb 2017 found Tim, his brother Tom and friend Robbie entering the Fox Island Thorofare in Shooting Star for the first time in 30 years to nudge into the Travelift track of Brown's Boatyard returning for some rehab. Timmy has a few changes he would like to make, some of the oak decks need replacing, a bit of sponginess on the house supports but, overall the boat is in remarkable shape. A true testament to how the Birarelli family (and the Brown family) appreciate working with wooden boats. We are very happy to have them back, expanding our friendship to include another generation. 

      Tim Birarelli 2017                                                                        Joey Birarelli and parents, Jean & DIck 1987

      Tim Birarelli 2017                                                                        Joey Birarelli and parents, Jean & DIck 1987

August Tips: Bad Gas

August Tips: Bad Gas

Seminal surf documentary The Endless Summer opens with Bruce Brown's voice announcing that "summer means many different things to different people." To some on our little island it means the cool bite of salt water at high tide, to others the verdant birth of produce, to Foy Brown (and associates) it means long hours bent over an uncovered outboard engine.