R.I. brothers unveil the North Rip 20

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A Southern New England builder of custom boats is ready to share its homegrown creations with a wider audience.

A Southern New England builder of custom boats is ready to share its homegrown creations with a wider audience. North Rip Custom Sportfishing Boats will increase production beginning with a new 20-foot center console.

“We’re migrating into a semi-custom, production-boat type of model,” says North Rip partner Kyle Wilbur. “We’re going to build five boats a month once we get set up for a production run.”

The other partner in North Rip is Kyle’s brother, designer Daryl Wilbur. Kyle, 38, handles sales and marketing. He has technical sales experience and a marine technology degree from the University of Rhode Island.

“[Daryl] basically does everything else; he doesn’t like the business part,” Kyle Wilbur says.

Both brothers are known to get their hands dirty making each boat right.

“We take everything from thought, from idea, to the finished product,” says Kyle Wilbur.

Daryl, 36, manages production. He has been employed by Hinckley Yachts and worked under renowned designer Ted Hood, and has 17 years of experience in the marine industry.

The North Rip 20 has a sweeping, flared bow and a curved sheer line. Kyle Wilbur says its running sheer, or ratio of sheer line to the bow flare, gives the boat its good looks, and is an example of the marriage of form and function.

“The key in all of our boats is the design,” he says. “It’s more than just a great-riding boat, it’s a great-looking boat.”

Wilbur says it took about a year to complete the tooling and molds for the 20. The brothers started the company a little over two years ago.

The boat is popped out of a three-piece mold and the five-person crew builds it with wood-free closed-cell sandwich hull construction, an FRP-

encapsulated stringer system, and foam sandwich deck construction.

The company does its homework studying weight and stability, too. The center of balance and center of gravity are co-located, with the fuel tank over the center of gravity. “And believe me, from a manufacturing standpoint that’s not the easiest place to put the tanks,” Wilbur says.

The 20 rides a deep-vee hull with strakes, and has tumblehome aft.

“Our flare is not overdone, so there’s not a lot of pounding,” says Wilbur. “It’s not just a lot of flare to look cool.”

The boat is built around fishing, and that begins with modeling the ergonomics on a computer to ensure a 6-foot person with a 6-foot pole can fish 360 degrees around the boat.

The transom area is designed to be clean and uncluttered, and the company specially designs its scuppers in concert with the pitch of the deck and wide gutters to be sure fish bones, debris, pieces of line and blood go over the side, away from the angler’s feet.

Baitwell placement also is key, Wilbur says.

“If I’m striper fishing, I don’t like to crawl around on my knees looking for an eel at 1 o’clock in the morning,” he says.

The company designs and fabricates all but the aluminum and stainless steel components in-house, Wilbur says.

The 20 is available with outboard, or gas or diesel sterndrive power.

“We’re very proud of it,” he says. One tradeoff is the boats are quite expensive, he says. The standard North Rip 20 sells for $48,000 ($52,800 with boat, engine and trailer), and the forthcoming North Rip 27 will be priced from $150,000 to $170,000. Efficiencies will come with growth and perhaps make North Rips more price-competitive, Wilbur says.

North Rip’s business can be split into three basic functions: custom one-off design and construction; semi-custom production; and repair and overhaul. “I’m very conservative as far as the business approach,” Wilbur says. “I’ll grow as much as I can, but I’d rather have a short waiting list than guys standing around [the shop with nothing to do]. Quality is really important to us, so I don’t want to just be banging stuff out.”

He says North Rip is building quite a few center consoles as megayacht tenders. The company is in the process of moving from Rhode Island to a larger facility in Fall River, Mass.

North Rip plans to have the boat at the Norwalk (Conn.) International In-Water Boat Show in September and possibly at the Miami Boat Show in February. www.northrip.net