POINT OF DEPA R TURE
John Bayliss cut his teeth among these men, first as a mate and later as a captain running his own charter boat. He answered the bell when Hatteras came calling in the late 1990s, serving as skipper of its venerable company boat, Hatterascal. The joy of hard work kept him engaged, and the on-thejob training would prove quite useful. “Hatteras exposed me to different things — extensive travel, meeting clients. I was getting all of this information that would serve me well before I knew I’d be boatbuilding,” Bayliss says. ¶ The excitement of the Hatterascal gig and fishing in far-flung Atlantic and Caribbean locales had its drawbacks: Bayliss was away from his young family for 200-plus days a year. However, the experience also built within him deep knowledge as a seaman and — via his own astute observations and late-night conversations over Kaliks with other captains — brought him back home to hang a shingle on his own boatbuilding facility. ¶ A former client had floated an idea about building a vessel before Bayliss purchased the property that became Bayliss Boatworks. Bayliss convinced the owner to work with Paul Spencer, with himself as a consultant. “I did a lot of the grunt work and labor on that first build,” Bayliss recalls. And it was a success. Still, the battlewagons that Bayliss envisioned were something different. “I had these ideas,” he says, “but nothing was built, nothing was proven.” Not one to shy from a challenge, he finished his own facility and secured clients for his own vessels. When his first building was completed in April 2002, Bayliss already had four boats to build.