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Boatbuilding in Vietnam

Photography by Jim Raycroft

Long Ranger

Executive Editor Capt. Bill Pike travels to Vietnam to check in with prolific boatbuilder Dan Fritz and get the first look at his series of new Globetrotting trawlers.

hull under construction - Photography by Jim Raycroft

Was it Worth the trip? Oh Yeah!

Although Dan Fritz seems like a quiet, easygoing guy, he’s an adventurer at heart. Take a minute to Google Fritz’s biography. You’ll see he’s done a good bit of outside-the-box stuff over the years, everything from flying bush planes in the Pacific Northwest, to working on tugs, to introducing the fabled Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to North America, or more specifically, to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I first met Fritz when he was president of Queenship, a Vancouver-based custom yacht-building operation that was in the news at the time for delivering a megayacht from Vancouver to a Connecticut boat show via a route that traced, at least in part, the overland travels of Lewis and Clark. Then I met him again, a few years later, right after I’d sea trialed the Sea Spirit 60, a big, classically beautiful  Sparkman & Stephens-designed, double-ended fiberglass trawler he’d built in China. 

Two years ago, at a boat show in South Florida, I ran into Fritz yet again. He and noted naval architect Steve Seaton were sitting in director’s chairs in a booth with signs behind them that proclaimed: “Cape Scott—World’s Safest Yachts.” They appeared to be as happy as a couple of clams.

“What’s going on, guys?” I asked, once we’d dispensed with the requisite greetings and salutations.

Fritz promptly began explaining that, with the assistance of Jim Hawkins (a native New Zealander with a solid reputation for steel boatbuilding in the Pacific Northwest) and Jacques Lienart (a worldly Brit with far-eastern travels, Formula 1 race-car design and construction, military logistics, marine engineering, and years of shipyard quality-control experience on his résumé), he and Seaton were working up a series of truly exceptional Seaton-designed, expedition-type trawlers. Each would be a veritable welded-steel juggernaut. And the spot where they’d be built would be both forward leaning and exotic.

“Vietnam,” Fritz ultimately proclaimed with a far-off look. “That’s where we’re going to build ’em. We’ve found a fabulous spot in Da Nang. Incredible!”

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  • Builder: Cape Scott

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.