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Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - Daniel Hard­ing Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

Things are built dif­fer­ently in Maine, in­clud­ing boats. A work­force with grit is part of what makes this state spe­cial.

Lob­ster rolls. Frigid wa­ter. Pic­turesque vis­tas. Blue­ber­ries. Lob­ster pots. Lob­ster pots and tan­gled props. Those are the first things I think of when I think of Maine. Those alone, save the lob­ster pots, are rea­sons enough to visit this in­cred­i­ble part of the world. But what is it that makes this place so spe­cial? Why do so many snow­birds flock here ev­ery year?

That’s what we set out to dis­cover—and what I hope you take away from this is­sue.

We won­dered what it would be like to spend a cou­ple days work­ing as boat­builders in Maine. I got ex­cited about the idea of getting our hands dirty along­side crafts­men and learn­ing from them first­hand. Then, a few re­al­i­ties set in, in­clud­ing thoughts about which boat­builder would ac­tu­ally let us join its staff.

There was one per­son I thought we’d have an out­side chance of con­vinc­ing. On a hot day at the Mi­ami show, I floated the idea by Bent­ley Collins, VP of sales and mar­ket­ing at Sabre Yachts. “I was won­der­ing, in­stead of com­ing up and tour­ing the yard, would it be pos­si­ble to spend a cou­ple days ac­tu­ally work­ing there?”

Collins paused for a few sec­onds. “Now that would be fun. Let’s do it,” he said. We shook hands. I didn’t think it an ap­pro­pri­ate time to tell him my wood­shop ex­pe­ri­ence ended with a B- in 10th grade.

Fast for­ward a few months. Dig­i­tal Direc­tor John Turner, Man­ag­ing Edi­tor Si­mon Mur­ray and I pulled into a dirt road and up to a gravel park­ing lot at Sabre in Ray­mond, Maine, where we met Pro­duc­tion Man­ager Don Went­worth.

“We start work at six to­mor­row. What time are you guys go­ing to get here?” he asked. I’ve been sized up be­fore; I know what it feels like. I glanced at Si­mon and John. “We’ll be here ready to go at six.” “OK then.” Our two, 10-hour days work­ing in var­i­ous de­part­ments at Sabre taught us a lot about boat­build­ing. We fiber­glassed fuel tanks. We cut, sanded and epox­ied ta­bles. We acted as ap­pren­tices as pods were in­stalled and hulls were in­fused. Yet as much as we learned about boat­build­ing, what we re­ally took away from this ex­pe­ri­ence was an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for how hard ev­ery­one worked. Be­cause de­mand out­weighs sup­ply on mod­els like the Sabre 45, you would ex­pect to see man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sors crack­ing a whip to keep things mov­ing. That might be ben­e­fi­cial in some yards, but it would be a use­less ex­er­cise in a place like Ray­mond, where em­ploy­ees de­mand enough of them­selves.

I left the yard with tired feet and a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Maine boat­builders. But be­fore you go think­ing that it’s all work and no play in the Pine Tree State, well, not so fast. You’ll want to turn to page 64 and read Si­mon’s story about the ob­scure sport of lob­ster boat rac­ing. As it is with the boat­builders of Maine, lob­ster fish­ing—and rac­ing—is a tra­di­tion passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

In Maine, peo­ple joke that there are two sea­sons, sum­mer and win­ter, and that win­ter lasts eight months. There’s some truth to that. Long, bru­tal win­ters have taught long­time res­i­dents how to hun­ker down and be­come self-suf­fi­cient. It’s that re­silience that I be­lieve en­abled the ma­rine in­dus­try in Maine to weather the Great Re­ces­sion and come out stronger on the other side.

So, what makes Maine spe­cial? Maine is a place where broth­ers work the line (boat­build­ing and lob­ster fish­ing alike) along­side broth­ers. Where moth­ers work along­side daugh­ters. Maine is a place where the work­day starts early and fam­ily comes first. It’s a place where blood is a bit thicker and hands more cal­loused. The peo­ple are warm and wel­com­ing, the air and wa­ter is clean and clear, and, of course, there are the lob­ster rolls.

There was a sign I saw while driv­ing up that read, Maine: The Way Life Should Be. Af­ter a week spent meet­ing the peo­ple who live, work and play here, I cer­tainly can’t dis­agree.

The au­thor shows Si­mon how to craft a sa­lon ta­ble. That’s his story and he’s stick­ing to it.

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