ALU­MINUM LINES, north west de­signs

Bri­tish Columbia’s COASTAL CRAFT ex­panded from work­boats to YACHTS, and now to NEW ENG­LAND A Coastal Craft plies the wa­ters of Bri­tish Columbia’s Bur­rard In­let, near Light­house Park.

Yachting - - CURRENTS - by david sch­midt pho­tos by steve jack­man

had barely re­dis­cov­ered its wa­ter­lines af­ter a blis­ter­ing 40-knot run across Van­cou­ver’s Howe Sound when Jeff Rhodes, the builder’s CEO, asked the magic ques­tion: “Want to drive?” ¶ I glee­fully took over the con­trols at the lower helm, and the 56 was off like a shot. But rather than hav­ing the hefty feel I’d ex­pect from a boat of this size and com­plex­ity, the yacht was light on her feet. A rooster tail plumed astern as she banked and rolled through tight turns, in­clud­ing a few im­pro­vised moves to dodge logs and dead­heads — com­mon byprod­ucts of the Pa­cific North­west’s log­ging in­dus­try, and an im­pe­tus for why Rhodes builds all Coastal Craft hulls from alu­minum. ¶ When Rhodes founded Coastal Craft in 1996 in Gib­sons, Bri­tish Columbia, his busi­ness plan fo­cused on hand-built alu­minum work­boats for the log­ging, fish­ing and whale-watch­ing trades. In 2001, two cus­tomers asked if he could fin­ish the be­lowdecks space aboard one of his work­boats to cre­ate an SUV-style yacht. Rhodes ac­cepted the chal­lenge and later brought one of the sport-util­ity cruis­ers to the 2001 Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Boat Show. ¶ “I knew we had been build­ing suc­cess­ful work­boats for the first five or six years, but I was al­ways look­ing to do some­thing dif­fer­ent,” Rhodes says. ¶ By 2005, Coastal Craft had some 40 em­ploy­ees build­ing high-per­for­mance alu­minum cruis­ing yachts for the Pa­cific North­west’s chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, which in­clude big tidal swings, dead­heads, mighty cur­rents, cold tem­per­a­tures, deep sound­ings, rocky shores, er­rant whirlpools and, most months, drum­beat-steady rains. Thanks to the Gib­sons lo­ca­tion, Coastal Craft staff can sea-trial de­signs while es­tab­lish­ing deep roots in the mar­itime com­mu­nity. ¶ “It’s a nice life­style,” Rhodes says. “My em­ploy­ees can af­ford more lux­u­ries, and it’s only an hour from Van­cou­ver.” ¶ That hour is typ­i­cally com­muted via ferry or barge, which is how all ma­te­ri­als ar­rive at Coastal Craft’s ship­yard. The setup oc­ca­sion­ally adds la­tency to UPS de­liv­er­ies, but the ben­e­fits far out­weigh the in­con­ve­nience when it comes to build­ing hand­crafted ves­sels. ¶ “Our wa­ters aren’t typ­i­cal, and our boats are re­gion­ally spe­cific,” Rhodes says. “They don’t suit every­one’s bud­get, but if cus­tomers value high-qual­ity crafts­man­ship and com­po­nents, they’ll see we don’t com­pro­mise.” ¶ Rhodes, 51, grew up boat­ing in Bri­tish Columbia and spent his child­hood sum­mers study­ing nau­ti­cal lines, forms and func­tions from his lo­cal dock.

The bow of the Coastal Craft 56 IPS

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