The quality of the work is paramount.
Perfection cannot often be achieved because as the Craftsman, I always think I can take it one step further.
Combining that with empathy for the customer I make sure that I can present a product beyond expectations and below budget.
These two things mean I can always ensure and warrant the quality of my work, that comes hand in hand with knowing each customer and their requirements on a personal level.
Boats are never quite perfect, I’m draughted in to repair new and old alike.
The old boats admittedly steal my heart but the new boats keep my attention because it provides an opportunity to learn how the industry is developing and what manufacturers are doing to improve their factory lines.
When I’m fully focused on a job I commit to making it the best it can ever be.
I always remember as a teenager having to undertake monotonous tasks for my father.
“Sand this, sweep that” but it taught me patience and practicality which is something that is required with every aspect of boating – from sailing to sanding.
When refitting a gaff cutter cockpit a few years ago I made a mitre jig for the cupboard fascias, the jig worked perfectly and three days later I found myself making a mitre jig for 3mm trim pieces in my pursuit of perfection.
I was convinced the chop saw blade must be wrong or the cast table it sat on was bent so I took it upon myself to create the ‘perfect mitre’, looking back I must have been crazy!
It’s at that sort of moment I wish the customer could have seen the amount of commitment to something that is so small and in the grand scheme of things, so unimportant.
I honestly believe that having that want inside me has helped honed my skill.
I’ve worked out how to mix passion, skill and speed.
It’s never been about how much I can earn from being a Shipwright, it’’s always been about the Craft.
I feel most satisfied when I can show the customer how things are meant to be.
The only challenge I ever really face is not criticizing myself so much it can damage the work.
Another task I dedicated my whole being to was when I once patched in some topsides on a small yacht.
The paint was a custom mix and every time I tried to patch it left a halo surrounding my newly painted area. I ended up pouring the paint into a clear mixing cup and literally watching it dry!
That’s what led me to realise that the pigments were too strong and too heavy for the polyurethane paint. As the polymers did their flattening, the pigments got pushed to the side leaving a halo. People thought I was crazy but it was just another piece of education for me. Another learning curve and another problem solved.
The craft of a Shipwright can be partially understood by anyone with a tiny degree of practiacality about them but fitting a shelf at home doesn’t teach you that having a spokeshave blade 0.5mm too deep when pulling in a toerail join can wreck the job. Once that blade has juddered you’ve either got to accept the pattern and live with it or plane it out and have a flat spot. This is where knowledge is combined with skill.