Mark Ellis is well known in New England power and sail circles for his efficiently propelled and neoclassical designs. Born 69 years ago in Watertown, N.Y., he worked early in his career for noted yacht designers Ray Hunt, Ted Hood and Phil Rhodes.
I enjoy drawing by hand, although my office only issues drawings in some form of CAD. My first step in a new design is to sketch an outboard profile and deck plan to a size and form that I think will allow for the hull shape and interior volume, fitting the practical requirements of the design.
Seattle-based Blue North — with interests in timber, agriculture, boatbuilding and fishing — describes itself as a “sustainable resource company.” But this company does more than talk a good game; it subscribes to cutting-edge technology and high-quality craftsmanship that demonstrate its commitment to the environment. The proof is in its latest fishing boat design, a remarkable 191-footer being built for Blue North’s Alaskan cod hook-and-line business.
My family and I recently had the use of Back Cove’s new Downeast 37, the Maine builder’s fresh take on its original 37. We ran the boat from Portland, Maine, to Newport, R.I., for the boat show in early September, with leisurely stops along the way in Kennebunkport, Maine, and North Weymouth, Plymouth and Falmouth, Mass.
When I visited Eastern and Seaway boats in early 2011, the company was struggling to make a comeback from the recession. It had gone from building 117 boats in 2007 — the company’s best year — to 54 in 2009. But even at its nadir, Eastern was busy producing new models, including budget boats targeted to the times. It even bought two of its competitors, and the results have been positive.
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