Something there is floating about in the boatbuilding world that has led two guys we watch here at Chine bLog to come out with well-thought articles about life as a boatbuilder. First came Nick Shade, of Guillemot Kayaks, offering a realistic take on the challenges inherent in running a shop, “So You Want to Build and Sell Boats.” While sobering, Nick offers some good wisdom:
Build boats because you love it, not to make money. If you are passionate enough maybe you will make money some day.
Today, then, John Harris, of Chesapeake Light Craft, added his thoughts in an article for Professional Boatbuilder Magazine: “All I Need to Know About Running a Boatshop I Learned in a Band.” Harris’s piece also touches on the challenges of the business, in particular the need for “chops” and attention to detail, but also serves up useful nuggets of wisdom to those who have made the leap. Harris ultimately gets to a similar place Shade does:
…those years of orchestras, church gigs, jazz quintets, wedding covers, and indie rock bands have left me with indelible lessons about making a living as a working artist. And all boatbuilders are artists, as far as I’m concerned.
There needs to be love and passion, the devotion of an artist, and things can work out. Hard to argue with that.