Making Waves

A behind-the-scenes peek at four East Bay boat builders and laborers


Summer and sailing go hand in hand, but for the people who build the sailboats, power boats, ketches, and yachts, boats are a year-round passion. Drawing from a rich history of boat building in the area, these makers and repairers are honoring that legacy while innovating as they go. The results are boats that are bigger, faster, and better performing than ever.

Putting the “Speed” in Speedboats
Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats is making some of the fastest boats on Earth. From their 100,000-square-foot shop in Bristol they have manufactured boats that have set world records for their class as recently as 2014, with speeds in excess of 180 mph. Made of carbon fiber or a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass, these boats live up to their nickname: “go-fast boats.” Bristol

Boating on a Budget
Father-and-son duo Steve and Dave Clark identified a need and set out to make the best low-cost, high performance hydrofoil-based craft they could, using an injection technique developed in Bristol that they refined for building the boats. Sailing is typically seen as an expensive endeavor and many recent graduates of sailing programs can’t afford to buy their own boats. With Fulcrum Speedworks, the Clarks say, they can get a fully kitted vessel at an affordable price. After opening in July of last year, they already have a four-month backlog of orders. Bristol

Their Biggest Boat Yet
Known for being a full-service boating center from construction to marina, New England Boatworks is currently building their biggest aluminum boat ever: a 94-foot beauty called Contraband. Their office is littered with design schematics and decorated with model hulls. It feels like a world all its own as workers buzz around the giant boat in progress, turning flat sheets of metal into an extraordinary vessel. Portsmouth

Keeping Vessels in Shipshape
Chicago native and founder of Bristol Marine Andy Tyska brought his boat repair business here because, he says, Bristol is the premier location in the US for the boat building industry. Tyska was a student of naval architecture and came to Rhode Island for the Herreshoff Marine Museum. For 20 years, Bristol Marine has made its name servicing a wide variety of boats. With more than 250 boats in storage at its Bristol location, the yard is alive with vessel maintenance and repair. Bristol