Published: Monday, 14 October 2013
Mike Fulton

A group of Maine-based boat builders have created a consortium called Maine Classic Boats (MCB) based in Brooklin which is now working with South Korean officials to help develop a leisure marine industry in Jeollanam Province.

MCB members include North Brooklin Boats, Brooklin Boat Yard, DW Hylan, Brion Reiff Boat Builder, Ellis Boat Company and Stephens Waring Yacht Design. 

Maine Consortium To Develop Boating Culture In Korea 4A Rieff Runner on the coast of Maine

Last month, two representatives from the province visited Brooklin to get an idea of the boat builders and the marina infrastructure there. Officers from MCB have now scheduled to meet with the governor of the province to outline how MCB can help develop and build the infrastructure needed, according to the local newspaper, the Weekly Packet.

The consortium’s president, Erik Jacobssen believes the southern coatline of South Korea offers a very good locale to develop a sailing infrastructure and culture that stands to benefit both the Korean economy and also the MCB boat builders.

Maine Consortium To Develop Boating Culture In Korea 5
The bridge leading to the own of Yeosu

The city of Yeosu has been targeted as the place to start the development process. Basically, they would like to create a type of yachting village and then develop a maritime culture around it. Here people could not only buy boats but would also have a place to keep them, especially in the winter months. They want to use Maine as the style would like to replicate.

Jacobssen said: “The Korean trade officials wanted to see for themselves that the Maine boating culture was for real. They visited member boat yards and also took a visit to the Mount Desert Island boating centres. We wanted them to see what a mature yachting community looks like.”

Hoepfully next month’s meeting with Joellanem’s governor will lead to a letter of intent between the two parties for establishment of a formal agreement and some potential government backing. MCB needs to raise US$250,000 to create a corporate entity in South Korea and its needs to attract a Korean-based partner. They want to build the Maine Classic Boats brandname there and build recognition around it.

Maine Consortium To Develop Boating Culture In Korea 1A marina in Busan on Korea's southern coast

The eventual aim is that this could lead to sales of Maine-built boats and other marine services in Korea. The vision is for MCB to create an interest for Maine maritime products so that they eventually become part of Korea’s elite lifestyle.