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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