We wanted a place where owners could do their own work if they wanted to, or if they needed help, they could ask us. We had wild visions of designing and building boats, but we didn’t really know if that would happen. We just wanted a low-key, friendly, old-fashioned boat yard where you could haul boats, repair them, and send them back in.
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BRAD ABBOTT: I was born and raised in Wisconsin, grew up dairy farming, and I started sailing on the Great Lakes. A couple of years ago, I put my boat shop and some other things on hold and took off sailing with my wife and our twins, who were six at the time, and sailed down through here on our way to the Caribbean for the winter. I met up with these guys and I guess the sense of family and warmth of the people we encountered struck me. We thought we might relocate to the East Coast to get closer to the ocean sailing and all that goes with it. And we found it on our first stop (laughs).
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NAT: We think of maintenance as a good thing. If you want to have a garden, you’ve got to take care of it. If you want to have a child, talk about maintenance. Even owning a house—it’s all maintenance. We don’t see maintenance as a downside. You make a commitment, and it requires a commitment. If you’re not willing to do that, then for god’s sake don’t have kids and don’t have a garden.
ROSS: And don’t own a boat!
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BRAD: You don’t set out on a big project thinking about all the difficult things that are going to happen. You just deal with them when they show up, and that’s part of the way you operate.
NAT: It’s like a sea voyage.
BRAD: Right. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you go to sea, but you know that you’re going to deal with it when it shows up.
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NAT: We only have one blinking traffic light on this island. Not that we don’t have traffic, but we just don’t have all that stuff that’s everywhere else in America. We don’t have the McDonald’s and the Wal-Marts and the BJ’s. That’s part of the reason why we came here, because we don’t have that. It definitely sets apart the island as a community. There is a lot of agriculture and a growing interest in farming, a lot of great craftsmen and artisans. You’ve got artists, musicians, writers—it’s a very integrated mix. You go to a party in the summer and the celebrities are mingling with the common tradesmen (laughs). And they get along just fine.