For a private yacht that’s traveled to places as far-flung as Antarctica, mid-coast Maine may have seemed like an unlikely spot to rest and rejuvenate for half a year. PIONEER was no stranger to Maine’s famous cruising grounds, though, so the decision to undergo a yard period at Front Street Shipyard made perfect sense. The yacht would get the expert attention of the shipyard’s talented in-house team, and the crew would enjoy the natural beauty, warm community and enviable lifestyle exclusive to Belfast.

We welcomed PIONEER and enjoyed learning from the crew about her distinguished history. Built by Palmer Johnson in 1996, she is the first privately owned yacht to circumnavigate North America. With hundreds of thousands of miles in her wake, she remains capable, comfortable, and enthusiastic about the many miles ahead of her.

The 151-foot expedition yacht hauled out at Front Street Shipyard last fall for her periodic classification inspections. The owner and crew took advantage of this planned maintenance period to update the vessel’s paint, systems, and interior.

Following her ABS survey, PIONEER required repairs to several sections of her hull. The fabrication team at Front Street Shipyard removed and replaced five aluminum areas that had developed corrosion. Once completed, the coatings team faired the repairs and painted her entire hull. Her bottom was sandblasted, faired and repainted, as well as her bulwark.

To ensure PIONEER’s decks were as refreshed as her hull, a crew from Teak Decking Services sanded down the teak and made repairs where necessary.

Front Street Shipyard’s systems team cleaned out PIONEER’s air-conditioning system and replaced some sections. They also replaced an extensive amount of the piping in the engineroom. We cleaned out all of her tanks for ABS inspection, and we also dropped her rudders and pulled her props for the survey. Her hydraulic cylinders were also replaced.

Inside PIONEER, eight of her bathrooms were updated with new shower units. We installed new countertops and cabinets in her galley and refreshed all the varnish there as well. We replaced the pilothouse dash in order to install new instruments; to accommodate these new electronics, we also had to refit her antenna.

PIONEER relaunched in June 2021 to begin her worldwide travels once again. Shortly after she returned to the water, she set off cruising throughout New England.