Marine Engineering 201: Composite Construction for Dummies.

The news is finally out: We’re getting into the construction nitty-gritty on our  custom 57-foot Spirit of Tradition powerboat, a collaboration with our friends over at C.W. Hood Yachts. And yet again, we are reminded when it comes to boats, what’s going on inside is as important as what’s going outside. On its outer surface, this 57 Express-Classic design is what the world expects a near-60-foot custom powerboat to be: A luxury vessel filled with all the amenities, range and speed to offer the flexibility and power to steam for distant horizons; yet offering enough comforts to rest elegantly at […]

The Cal “4040”

Listen up, all you Cal 40 owners and racers: We have nothing but deep love and true respect for all you do, and what you represent. But, we have two serious marine design words for you all: “It’s time.” Over the past several months, we have been tinkering with several questions for cruisers/racers for the California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Not everyone realizes how a fertile the waters of the western U.S. have been for yacht innovation. But everything from America’s Cup boats to Bill Lee’s ultra-light TransPac racing sleds have flourished in these open waters that are lucky enough […]

Anna’s SUV Secret.

Anna has happened. After years in the making, our brand-new, all-custom 66-footer slid into the seas in Thomaston, Maine, finally ready to carry the hopes and dreams of yachting’s greatest miracle — the paying customer. But christenings come with their gentle bummers. All the wonderful ideas and yard craftsmanship that get built over and hidden. No owner or sailor will ever see the engineering of the keel, the construction of the inner mast, or what makes the staterooms tight and dry. So why not, with Anna so new to this world, talk through one of the more interesting inner secrets […]

The “Spirit-of-Tradition” Replica.

It’s the question that defines this wee and wonderful Spirit-of-Tradition design world of ours: What exactly is the line between a lovingly restored historic replica, and a true blended modern-classic, Spirit-of-Tradition yacht? We had a clever idea: why not sit down with an owner of just such a period replica, and ask his perspective. Let us introduce you to Charles Colman, an amiable mid-westerner who does most of his sailing on Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva. And this otherwise reasonable fellow has spent the past several years pouring his heart and soul into recreating a turn-of-the-century sandbagger design, called Tattler II. All […]

A Rock. And a Hard Place: Lessons Learned Going Aground in Hoi An

Here’s what happened: It was a normal Maine summer day. Half work, half play. Paul and I were out of the office, moving Hoi An from her mooring in Blue Hill to Camden. Her owners had kindly loaned the yacht to us for racing in the Camden Classics Cup to act as sponsor’s boat. The morning fog had cleared and a cracking breeze had come up; we were closing Camden fast, beam-reaching at over eight knots. I was navigating using the older, below-decks-mounted chartplotter occasionally, confirming with dead-reckoning, sighting islands, buoys, and landmarks. These weren’t my home-waters, but I had […]

Boats Now Cheaper than Homes.

Here’s a scoop about marine living that surprised us: Living on the water is probably a better deal than living near the water. During the past 60 days or so, our little yacht design world has invested serious time in exploring how to live on marine environments. We’ve been digging deep into costs and benefits of various marine residence concepts from floating homes to houseboats to live-aboard yachts. And one of the biggest puzzles of living on the water are the values involved: What’s a better deal? A residence on real land near the coast. Or a residence floating on […]

Dasher: The Un-revolution in Electric Boats.

When it comes to boats, the revolutions seem to happen when they’re not that revolutionary. Take all-electric runabouts. Our shop has spent nearly 10 years exploring electric propulsion in smaller craft. And earlier this year, the once impossible quietly happened: A major, high-quality American production boat builder began shipping an all-electric powerboat. Branded as the “world’s first all electric luxury yacht,” the svelte 28-foot Hinckley Dasher features twin 80hp inboard Torqeedo all-electric motors, BMW’s i3 waterproof lithium-ion batteries, and high capacity, dual 50-amp charging cables that can repower this boat in less than 4 hours. We’re sure that electrical pioneers, […]

Zen and the Art of Spirit of Tradition Pontoon Boats.

It can take effort to sense the silver lining in the dark cumulus clouds of the custom boat business. We work in a mature market, of a discretionary product, for a flat demographic that makes little sense to the next generation. Boats are like golf, but with waves and even crazier names for sh#t. But there’s at least one ray of hope in the thunder clouds of the yacht-making game: Pontoon boats. Yup, pontoon boats: Floating packages of giant aluminum hot dogs are the runaway winners in the slowly recovering global boat building market, at least according the Boat Building […]