FYI: November 2003 Page 2

FYI — November 2003
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Snack Barge, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With.., and more

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• News/FYI Index

A Word With... Lee S. Wilbur
This year Lee S. Wilbur celebrated the 30th anniversary of his custom boatbuilding business, Wilbur Yachts. Since 1973 the Southwest Harbor, Maine, builder has crafted more than 200 Downeast-style boats ranging from 28 to 61 feet, but the anniversary gala marked the passing of the Wilbur Yachts torch to his daughter Ingrid and son-in-law John Kachmar. PMY recently caught up with Lee to talk about his life in the boatyard.

Q: When did you first fall in love with boats?
A: I’ve always enjoyed being on the water. As a scrawny kid of five, it was difficult for my parents to keep me out of a boat or canoe. My first boatbuilding project was a Mini-Max hydroplane at age 13—I was hooked.

Q: Did any one boat have a major impact on your interest in becoming a builder?
A: Yes, two actually. Jericho, by Bunker and Ellis; and the old Egg Harbor 38s. I loved the sheerline of the Jericho, and the angles of the windows on those old Eggs were perfect.

Q: What do you like most about the business?
A: I enjoy creativity of all kinds, whether it be writing, design, painting, or laying out a boat. Solving the myriad problems of bringing a project to fruition is my idea of great fun.

Q: Speaking of writing, you contribute monthly columns to a local trade newspaper. How did that come about?
A: I began writing a column for Fishermen’s Voice simply because I love to write. Bill Crowe, the editor, has given me free rein to tackle any subject. It’s been a great learning experience.

Q: Where are you planning to go?
A: We’ll cruise around the coast of Maine and then head to Florida in the fall. Now that my daughter and son-in-law have taken over the business, we plan to do some serious cruising over the next few years. It’s something I’ve missed in 30 years of boatbuilding.

Q: What’s the most memorable cruise you’ve taken?
A: One of the neatest nights I’ve ever experienced was leaving Long Island around five in the afternoon, cruising down the Jersey coast under a full moon, and getting into Cape May in the early morning. We ran the boat from the flying bridge on one of our 34s and talked and catnapped up there the entire night.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to make a business out of building and designing boats?
A: Build to the highest standards you’re capable. The ocean is no place for shoddy workmanship.

Ladies, Let’s Go Online
Boatbuilders and dealers know it. PMY definitely knows it. And now the National Marine Manufacturers Association apparently knows it, too: Women love to boat, more than ever.

To keep pace with the times, the NMMA has added a large section to its Discover Boating Web site devoted exclusively to female boaters. “Women at the Helm” at offers a variety of articles, columns, and tips to keep women of all skill levels and nautical backgrounds up to date on the latest boating issues.

Regular columns include “Woman of the Month,” which highlights interesting and accomplished boaters, and “Ask the Boating Moms,” in which two nautical pros address readers’ questions covering all manners of boating issues. For the cruising gourmands, there’s even a “Recipe of the Month” feature, which helps men and women alike get the most out of their galleys. Best of all, all of the information on the site is free.

Got an interesting boating story for this column? Write to FYI, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: No phone calls please.

Previous page > Snack Barge, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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