Ernest Libby, Jr

1935 – 2012


Ernest Libby Jr. of Great Wass Island, Beals, Maine died February 21, 2012 at a Bangor hospital after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Myrtle, and sons Norman Sr., Ivan, Glenn and LeBaron Sr.

Ernest Libby was born in Beals in 1935. His ancestors were from Bunks Harbor, Machiasport, Maine. Libby began fishing at 14 and built his first boat at 16. He fished and built boats all but the last seven years of his life. He was most known as the designer of some of the most highly regarded and fast fishing and pleasure boats.

As a boy he went around to the many boat shops on the island to learn what he could about boat building. He worked with his uncle building lobster smacks, sardine carriers and lobster boats, sawing most of the large oak parts with a hand saw. In 1964 Libby built his own shop in Beals where he built boats and in the 1960s began racing them.

Libby’s sons worked with him over the years. Many of his wood boats went to customers in Maine. When he began building in fiberglass in 1989 fishing and pleasure boat customers came from Connecticut and Alabama.

Young Bros. Boats in Corea, Maine asked Libby to design a hull for them after they saw one of his boats win races at Jonesport. This led to a long line of winning hulls at Young Bros. Libby’s extraordinary understanding of fluid dynamics was developed and honed over decades of experimentation in hull design. He used the traditional method of carving a wooden model from which lines were taken to make a mold for the boat. His mind was on the bottom of the boat where he said the difference between boats was located. The Young Bros fast efficient hulls based on Libby’s designs were soon in demand internationally.

Libby continued to built boats at his Beals Shop, including his last racing boat Underdog. Underdog has raced for years in the annual lobster boat races regularly winning high speed events.


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