This Boat Builder Is Trying To Keep His Craft Afloat, One Masterpiece At A Time

By: 09.21.16

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Let’s be honest, perfection can be tiring. You have to be ready to work a 16-hour day, screw up, do it over, then screw up again. It’s exhausting.

But not to Ben Van Dam… or his father. Together, the hardworking, boat-building, father/son tandem create perfect “dream boats” that are worth the wait. These are not skiffs, mind you — but high-end, customized wood boats of just about every type, size, shape and speed. Everything from “powerboats and sailboats… to 55-foot sailboats to 100-mile-an-hour speedboats.”

To the novice, these innovative vessels look like Rolls Royces of the boating world; something James Bond would elude a criminal in. And that doesn’t come easy, especially because wood historically does not love water. So, doing this right is an obsession that fuels them, one the younger Van Dam inherited from his father and one which drives his pursuit everyday.

“Wood does have a romance to it,” says the younger Van Dam of his obsession, “It always looks warm, but it changes whichever way you look at it… It’s dynamic. It changes color. It changes sheen. It changes how the light reflects off of it. That’s something that took hundreds of years to be produced in nature and we can’t replicate it.”

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