Rhode Island. Little Rhody. The Ocean State. It’s small, but when it comes to boats, the place feels big. Not as big as in the glory days, before the “real” America’s Cup left Newport and before the recent economic turbulence. Still, the marine trades are “among the only growing sectors in manufacturing and blue-collar work,” according to Lisa DiRaimo, executive director at the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association. “And despite the recession, the industry has held its own.”
In a different age and a different world, I’d probably know how to devoutly genuflect and kiss the ring of a monsignor. That’s what I feel like doing next time I see Puma skipper Kenny Read or any of the other sailors competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. Heroes, crazy, but also insanely brave.
There are as many ways to build boats as there are ways to skin a cat. From floating fortresses to sleek sloops, they all have to be built somehow. “Produced” actually is more like it these days — so they might be affordable to consumers and lucrative to their purveyors.
Trolling for story ideas, I clicked through the airbrushed reality of corporate communications and the ubiquitous social media posts by sailors who had become one with their sponsor’s marketing message. I was about to reach for the flask when I found this: “Spent the afternoon with NO wind. It sucked. Questioned all my motives for being here. Then I got my shit together, fixed some things, ate lunch, got moving, fixed more, showered and felt much better.”
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