THE CASE FOR A CUSTOM BUILT TRAWLER

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“Nothing happens unless first we dream.”  Carl Sandburg

 “A long time ago in a land far, far away…….” Most yachts were custom built one at a time.   A time before the “Death Star of mega-builders”.  Just my humble opinion.  This was the time I became a yacht designer in Seattle, WA and worked on vessels called, well we did not call them Trawlers then, 1963.  At that time, we had several names to describe this maritime vessel; a Character Boat, Commercial Yacht, and the one that really rankled me, a Fishing Boat Yacht.  At its core is the function of this type of boat, be it a seagoing vessel, devoid of useless design features that do not support her function and would generally have the look and feel of a commercial vessel, be it a tug, fishing vessel, or patrol vessel. Most of them had a real charm about their design.

Frank Lloyd Wright said it best…”Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”

And the choir said “Amen”.    Nothing should be there for only beauty’s sake.   Bringing the design down to its most basic of form requires that nothing should be there for beauty’s sake alone.  Some current production trawlers have design features that the designer must never have had the knowledge why that feature was there in the first place;  a lack of design integrity, in my opinion.

Again from Mr. Wright, “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change”.

 After45 years of developing custom and production boats, I truly still believe this quote.  To put it simply is to say you have a strong opinion and know why you have such an opinion.  It’s call back-bone and be damn with what people think of you and your opinion. Any – designer who does not subscribe to this is not a true artist, or for that matter, a real lover of “Trawlers”, at least for this group of readers.  Business and money over love of the type seems to dominate the industry and profession in this century.  OK, most of the designers out there love their work but there seems to be something missing in their depth of love for the type of vessel.  The people I worked with back in the 60’s are different than most designers of today.

“If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most.” –E. B. White

In this day of mega-marketing the industry as coalesced into several major trawler builders and I believe we have lost the charm and originality of yesteryear’s custom trawlers.  Not that these production boats do not have good traits but a custom boat usually is just dripping of that “special” something.   I am not being disparaging of these builders as there is a very good reason to have these “Wal-Marts” of boat building companies.  The people who purchase this type of boat are different than a client who builds a custom boat.  Neither is wrong nor better, just different.

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