Lines and Chines

Lines and Chines — Dave Martin
Lines and Chines
Dave Martin draws as many lessons away from the drafting table as he does on it.

By Tim Clark — February 2001

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At one point during a conversation touching on events in a career spanning nearly half a century, naval architect Dave Martin disappeared into the studio adjoining his comfortable home in the seaside community of Brigantine, New Jersey, to return with a scale model of a fast, efficient sportfisherman hull. An instant later he was sprawled next to the up-ended model on the carpeted floor of his living room, eagerly displaying the hull's innovations. Martin is over six feet tall with a robust build and a pair of outsized, weathered hands you'd think belonged to a blacksmith. As he ran them over the smoothly sculpted, precisely engineered miniature, he looked like an elder Gulliver who in hale maturity had learned to direct his colossal strength to graceful ends.

At age 70 Martin is among the most influential naval architects in the American pleasureboat industry, and there is a dignity in his bearing I imagine develops naturally 45 years into an accomplished career. But as he crouched intently on his knees over the model, I felt certain of one thing above all else: Dave Martin has never been confined to the limits of his drawing board.

Martin attributes his success to diverse technical knowledge combined with a hands-on philosophy. More than once he emphasized to me his concern that young people in his profession now leave college with a wealth of mathematical and scientific knowledge yet are wholly unprepared from a practical point of view. He worried that they don't receive enough of the fundamental, concrete training--in skills such as drafting and line drawing--that saw him through hard times early in his career and contributed to important breakthroughs later. But the more we talked, the more I began to believe that Martin's true fear is that the kind of education he received--an extraordinary combination of grass-roots boatyard experience, determined scholarship, and the direct influences of some of the most original designers on the East Coast--is impossible to come by today.

Next page > Dave Martin continued > Page 1, 2, 3

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

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