POINT OF DEPA R TURE

Yachting - - BUILDING A VISION -

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.

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