Sunday, October 20, 2013

Following TRADE WIND

We love to get updates from Rockport-built or -restored boats around the world. We recently received a note from the owners of TRADE WIND, an Alden motor sailer originally built in 1938 for ocean cruising and restored here in 2011. TRADE WIND is still living up to her designer's original intention, having just completed a passage from Rockport, Maine, to the Caribbean.

"We have arrived at our dock after an easy and beautiful, moonlit passage...

"TRADE WIND is again at her very best, everything is running as smooth if not smoother than before...

"Our special thanks to Jeff, who attacked and solved the most worrisome issues without blinking an eye, and thanks to all of you who again made a prolonged stay at RMI a gratifying experience..."

We wish TRADE WIND and her crew a wonderful winter down south, and we look forward to seeing them this spring.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Just an Idea...

Our designers have some great ideas on the drafting table that are waiting to come to fruition. This most recent concept - a 65' yawl - is too pretty not to share. She's a Spirit of Tradition yacht intended for coastal cruising and racing in occasional classic yacht regattas.

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Friday, February 22, 2013


When I was a kid I liked to make models. There was a store in town next to the IGA Grocery called Cressy’s. My mother called it the five-and-dime. It turns out Wikipedia has a definition for five-and-dime so apparently it’s a real term. Cressy’s was too far from our house so I wasn’t allowed to walk there on my own but sometimes, if I made enough of a nuisance of myself in the IGA when my mother was busy shopping for groceries, she’d kick me out of the store and send me across to Cressy’s.

I remember thinking the place was huge, but I drove through that town again not too long ago and nothing there was huge. Before going back I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that our favorite sledding spot, Baker Adams’ hill, was taller than Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, and that Sam Walton got the idea from Cressy. So I guess I was pretty little. In spite of all that time I spent in Cressy’s, all I really remember about the inside of the place was the carousel style Matchbox car display case and the shelves full of Revell models. They must have sold other stuff in there, but I was all set with the match box cars and the models.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Trumpy Yachts

I’m new to the world of wooden boat building, so when I started in the office at Rockport Marine I set my sights on knowing the ins and outs of the boats that we are working on. I wanted to figure out what makes them special and be able to answer questions at the drop of a hat.

I decided to start with the EAGLE a Trumpy yacht constructed in the early 60’s and once known as MON AMIE. The Trumpy came to us for repair because the plank seams had been rotted away and needed a half dozen floor timbers repaired. Jeff Morse, Project Manager, proceeded to have his crew remove the rotted areas and fill in the seams with Mahogany splines, which are small strips of wood that are inserted into notches in the center of a joint between two larger pieces of wood. The splines serve to stiffen the joint by preventing motion across the joint. After this was completed they began to fair the hull and paint which is still in progress now.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Puzzle Pieces

“I don’t know how to do that. But I will figure it out and get back to you.”

This is my favorite part about working at Rockport Marine; I utter these words or similar almost every day. “Figuring it out” could take a couple of minutes, or it might take an entire day. It doesn’t really matter—either way it’s an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding way to spend your day.

At its core, design is puzzles and problem solving. The puzzles we have at Rockport Marine tend to be large, with a gajillion pieces ranging from new to beyond repair. There are pieces missing and there are extra pieces. Some of the pieces you will need are available in a catalog. Some you will have to invent and manufacture yourself. They are expected to fit together perfectly into a finished assembly whose physical beauty, quality of craftsmanship, elegance of engineering, and prowess under sail or power will inspire all who step aboard. Oh, I almost forgot. It should also last forever. Or maybe almost forever. Some of our grandkids might pursue this line of work and it is probably okay if a few things need fixing by then.

Rockport Marine is a busy place. So there are always puzzles in abundance. We don’t see most of them in the design office because they get solved by the crew and the project managers every day. The solutions take the form of ingenious jigs, and tools improvised or invented that increase the accuracy, efficiency, or otherwise improve the execution of the task at hand. I’d be surprised if we see 1% of the puzzles, but they tend to be good ones so I thought I might share a few.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Meet Project Manager and Carpenter Eric Sewell

Rockport Marine does some wonderful work, but the best part of the yard is the people. Wooden boatbuilding, especially, seems to draw in people that are interested in craft and doing things right, and  have good characters.

A few years ago, we started a tradition to celebrate an long-time employee at our Christmas party each year. In December, we honored Eric Sewell, who has been building boats at Rockport Marine for thirty years. He is a man of exceptional talent and great personal integrity.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Underway: Notes from the Deck of Adventuress, Part 2

The sun is warm and the breeze fresh here in Bermuda. ADVENTURESS and her crew slipped between the coral heads and made landfall last Sunday, the 18th of November. Although I have had many exciting experiences here in the past few days, I thought it might be fun to describe the sail here, as well as some of the mechanics of an offshore passage, for those of you who might be curious how one sails a large, gaff-rigged schooner 600 miles across the Gulf Stream. 
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