Most of us who like to mess around with boats often dream of creating and building our own perfect boat in the basement or in the backyard. On a drizzly afternoon in May I met Richard Hawse at his home in Pasadena, MD, and got a tour of what has to be the ultimate backyard boatbuilding project. Richard describes himself as follows: “I’m 47 and I work in the marine industry. I have two kids, a wife, and dogs. I’m inspired by boating and I just love working on boats.” He pointed over at the 47-foot sportfish: “I’ve been working on this boat a little over four years. It was actually an accident. It came about because the jig was available. It just kind of fell in my lap. It’s got to be some fate thing, that’s all I can say,” he concluded with a laugh. 

boatshop reports
My Way, a home built 46-foot sportfish based on a Buddy Davis design, is nearly complete after four years of work by owner Richard Hawse in Pasadena, MD. Photo by Rick Franke

“It’s going to be an offshore sportfishing boat. I’ve got two C-12 Caterpillars right here, 715-hp, 660-gallon capacity fuel tanks. The boat is 47-feet long, 15-feet wide, has 40-foot Rupp outriggers… so the whole boat will be new.” After four years under construction, he plans to have her ready to move out of the yard by the middle of next summer. “The interior will be complete by next summer and, hopefully, around December of next year it should be mobile, ready to run down the coast to North Carolina. It’s going to live there in the wintertime.” I asked Richard what he was going to name his creation. With a grin he replied, “My Way," what else?” 

boatshop reports
Home boat builder Richard Hawse displays the very basic plans he had to work from in building My Way in his backyard shop in Pasadena MD. Photo by Rick Franke

Drew Kauffman of Cypress Marine in Severna Park, MD, reports a busy winter and spring season that has not slowed down much yet. Drew also showed off a concept boat that he was developing. The outboard-powered catamaran vessel is based on the hulls from a Tornado sailing catamaran. The boat is light and fast and much more economical to operate than a similarly sized pontoon boat but offers nearly the same amount of space. Drew’s design features a center console and a rigid deck rather than the trampoline found on many catamarans. An adjustable rear deck can accommodate a tent for occasional overnighting. Drew says he has applied for numbers and as soon as they arrive he’ll do some sea trials with this prototype.

boatshop reports
Drew Kauffman explains the idea behind the concept boat that he built at Cypress Marine in Severna Park, MD, to demonstrate a more efficient way to design power cats. Photo by Rick Franke

In other news from Cypress Marine, Drew reports that builder Mike Lohr is well under way on the construction of a 23-foot Carolina style sportfishing boat. 

boatshop reports
A 23-foot center console under construction by builder Mike Lohr at Cypress Marine in Severna Park, MD. Photo by Rick Franke

Annapolis Gelcoat and Restoration sends us this brief but interesting report. “We are proud to be the first contractor in the Baltimore/Annapolis Region to feature AwlGrip’s newest development, their AwlCraft 3000. What a beautiful luster she delivers: Stark White with Arista Blue boot stripe. Thank you, Bert Jabin Yacht Yard, for the assistance in moving this 52-foot Tiara around the yard.” 

boatshop reports
A Tiara 52 emerging from the paint tent at Annapolis Gelcoat and Restoration in Annapolis, MD, with a fresh coat of AWLCRAFT 3000. Photo by Bill Griffin 

Rob Hardy from Composite Yacht in Trappe, MD, reports that they have had a very busy late winter and spring. “Of course we had this wacky spring that fooled everybody into thinking it was going to happen sooner than it did,” Rob laughed. “We are extremely busy; the pace still hasn’t let up. We have a lot of work going on including a Thompson catamaran in here for bow thrusters. We’ve been doing stuff like closing in transoms on Carolina Classics, removing stern drives and hanging outboards on them, stuff like that. We have several rehab projects going on. Then we have our regular build list.”

boatshop reports
Applying the top coat of AWLCRAFT to a CY34CC in the shop at Composite Yacht in Trappe, MD. Courtesy of CY

Rob continued, “Our build list includes a 34 triple outboard center console; that’s our offshore boat and it’s getting close. We have Markley 46 hulls that we’re cutting down to 42 feet and hanging outboards on them. We also have a 46 on the Markley hull to build out and a Markley 46 hull we’re going to make all the pieces for and sell as a kit. We do still do that. Then we have an all-new 39-footer designed by Lou Cordega. It’s an outboard-powered boat, sort of a picnic/light cruiser, but we’ll be able to outfit that hull any way we want it. It has a really good hull and we’ll be able to do center consoles or walk arounds on it. That’s upside down in the laminate shop getting finished. 

boatshop reports
The new CY50 mold is just about ready to use at Composite Yacht in Trappe, MD. Courtesy of CY

We also have a new 50-footer designed by Lou Cordega. It will have an engine box and the owner wants to be able to run the boat from the back control station, and to see forward from there, so she’s going to be very much a Chesapeake style boat with a single 1550 MTU. The owner wants her to be able to run 40 knots. “She’s got a fairly fast bottom on her,” he said with a smile. According to Rob, the future looks good. He has plenty of business in the pipeline and inquiries keep coming in.

Jake Glover at Ferry Point Marina in Trappe, MD, reports a busy spring, “…Just like everyone else. The only problem was it got a little bit wet there for a while, but it’s clearing up and we’re working through. In the shop right now we’ve got an old 1963 sailboat that’s going to get a full exterior restoration. It’s going to get our typical Interlux bottom with AwlCraft hull and topsides. Right now we are concentrating on seasonal work, bottom painting and commissioning, getting ready for summer,” he concluded. When asked if he thought the summer was going to be busy, Jake replied, “As of now, yes. We typically store between 100 and 150 boats here. We’ve only talked to one customer so far who is going to store his boat on land for the summer. Based on that I’m expecting a pretty steady season. Most of our do-it-your-selfers are already finished and back in the water. I’d say we have only six to eight boats left which are finishing up and, of course, they hoped to go in before the holiday.”

Back in December we reported on the awarding of a major construction contract to Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD, for a new class of small catamaran cruise boats. Chesapeake president Steve McGee brings us up to date. “On April 7 we launched hull number 145. That’s the first of the Project Blue boats for American Cruise Lines. That vessel is due to be delivered this summer and enters passenger service in August. She’s fully booked for the first month of cruising. In addition to 145, hull 147 is in two pieces. The bow module has been rolled out of the fabrication shed. Shortly before we deliver hull 145 we will join hull 147 and launch it. It should go into passenger service in the early part of the winter; should be sometime in November. The material for keels on Hulls 148 and 149 is flowing into the shipyard daily. So we are currently on track for this first four or five boats. It is projected that we will deliver all 12 vessels and others as scheduled.” 

boatshop reports
Hull number 145, American Eagle, the first of 12 being built in Salisbury, MD, at Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp for American Cruise Lines. Courtesy of CS

Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet in Edgewater, MD, checks in. “My crew and I spent late winter and early spring with a Luders 16. She is a hot-molded wood boat. We fiberglassed her hull and keel with West epoxy saturated fiberglass. After fairing the hull, she was painted with Epifanes mono-urethane black, three coats. The decks were refinished with Interlux, Seattle grey. Varnish on the cabin and coamings is Pettit Flagship.

boatshop reports
A Luders 16 after a complete refinishing at Mast and Mallet in Edgewater, MD. Courtesy of M&M

“We also completed a new bottom for a 1940s Chris-Craft 17-foot runabout. We put on three layers of four-millimeter Okoume ply with West epoxy. It was then fiberglassed with two layers of finish cloth. She received a new transom of one-half inch Sapele mahogany, book matched.”

The summer season ahead looks good. Enjoy the good boating weather and be careful and safe on the water. We’ll see you next month. 

By Capt. Rick Franke