Countdown to launch

A 40-foot-long Carver luxury yacht is launched at Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford, which is busy putting 900 boats into the water in preparation for the boating season. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Lakes Region boat yards gear up for busiest part of the season


GILFORD — It’s the busy time of year for the boating business in the Lakes Region as area boat yards and marinas work at a hectic pace to put boats in the lake to keep up with the desire of their customers to enjoy as much time on the water as they can.
At Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford workers are putting 15 to 20 boats a day into Lake Winnipesaukee according to Jeff Fay, who says that the yard is responsible for about 900 boats, including nearly 300 sailboats, and is straight out these days.
“We handle a lot of sailboats and we’re the only place on the lake that has a full rigging crew that can get them ready for the season,” says Fay.
He says that the 275 boat slips at the marina are just about filled and that he’s looking to a good season now that the Big Lake is ice free as of April 17.
“The rain has set us back a little, but we’re moving along pretty good now and want to make sure we get in as many boats as we can and keep people happy” said Fay.
He said that his crew of 20 is being supplemented by newcomers like Justin Gargano from Providence, Rhode Island, whose parents own a summer home in the area and who is in his first year at Fay’s.
Gargano was helping prep a new boat which had just been brought over from Fay’s nearby boat sales site for launching just as a boat transporter from Miles Marine arrived, bringing a 40-foot-long luxury Carver yacht for launching.
Mike Miles said that he stores about 200 boats a year at his two locations n Lily Pond Road and is used to hauling large boats up and down the East Coast year round.
“The biggest one I ever hauled was a 60-footer that I took from Gilford to Providence, R.I, a few years ago. These big boats are like floating houses,” said Miles. He says his family has been in the boat hauling business for over 35 years.
Watching as Miles backed the boat trailer down to the launching ramp was Bob Fay, former operator of the Lakeport dam, which controls the level of Lake Winnipesaukee. Fay, who is not related to the family which owns the boat yard, is a part-time seasonal employee.
“I just can’t stay away from the water. I need something to keep myself busy,” said Fay, who retired from his position with the state’s Department of Environmental Services several years ago after more than 35 years of helping manage dams in the Lakes Region.
Jeff Fay, who has taken a more active role in running the boatyard since his father, Merrill Fay, turned major responsibilities over to him five years ago, says that both his son, Steven, and daughter, Lillian, work at the boatyard, making them the fourth generation of the Fay family to work there.
He says that Steven, 21, who is a business management major at Southern New Hampshire University, works part-time year round and takes on more work during the summer months.
“He’s teaching me the ropes,” says Steven, who also spends a lot of time scuba diving with his father as they search the lake for sunken boats and the old engines which powered them.
Fay’s Boatyard was started in 1944 by Wilbur Fay, who operated an ice delivery service to islands in the lake and also delivered groceries from a store on Bear Island. He bought the ice house in Smith Cove in the early 1940s and later started the boat yard, which was taken over by his son Merrill after Wilbur died in 1959.

Jeff Fay of Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford with his 21-year-old son, Steven, who is the fourth generation of Fays to work at the boatyard, which was started by Wilbur Fay in 1944. (Courtesy photo)


A sailboat is moved at Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford, which handles nearly 300 sailboats a year and is the only marine business in the Lakes Region with a full crew of riggers. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)





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