For these owners, it's wood only

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"I love it more than any boat I've had in my life," says Chris Page, owner of a 30-knot, 1,002-hp 42 John's Bay and previous owner of everything from a 36-foot BHM to a 58-foot yawl.

"It's immediately apparent how much more comfortable this boat is.

There's just no wallowing or pounding. It's real easy to get your boat customized - they moved the wheel and rudder further aft for me - and the boat handles like you wouldn't believe, including backing anywhere you want to go. The 36-inch prop really makes it go. We Awlgripped the decks and house and haven't touched it or the hull topsides in the five years we've had the boat. [Kass says it's time to paint the topsides.] Pete is salt of the earth, a handshake kind of man. I really respect him, not a false word from him ever. He was just perfect to work with."

Bob Williams, who has been fishing for more than 50 years, owns a 20-year-old 38-foot John's Bay. "Peter Kass' boats are regarded as the Cadillacs here in Maine," says Williams. Like most Kass owners, he's also had fiberglass boats, but the motions and vibrations in his last glass 46-footer made his legs numb, so he went to Kass. He says the pain disappeared when he started fishing his new wooden boat. "The workmanship in the yachts Peter builds is hard to surpass," says Williams. "He is very well regarded around here. I've seen boats built like these that are over 100 years old and I don't know why mine will be any different."

Jay Smith has a 1993 40-foot John's Bay that he fishes year-round. "I had two fiberglass boats before this one and both of them were killing my legs," he says. "I've had the Peter Kass boat now for 17 years, which is the longest I've owned any boat. I'm 66 and I don't have leg problems like I did at 49. My sternmen who also fish fiberglass boats are amazed at how comfortable this one is. It's just a lot more pleasant to be out working on this boat, not only the motions, but also the look and finish of the boat. It takes a little more work around the windows to keep it up, but there's really very little difference in maintenance overall. After 10 years in a fiberglass boat, most people are ready for a new one, but people just hang on to these boats - maybe repower them, but that's it. You know, I wish Billy Joel would come up here and meet Peter. He'd be a convert if he really knows anything about boats."

See related article:

- Bucking the tide

This article originally appeared in the June 2010 issue.