Sailboat Hot Rodder Opens New Space

Goetz Custom Boats welcomed 300 guests to the grand opening of its new facility in Bristol, Rhode Island. "Notes from the Helm" from our October 25, 2007, CW Reckonings

NHGoetz368

Know any expert boatbuilders looking for work? Geotz Custom Boats is hiring at its new facility in Bristol, Rhode Island.Mark Pillsbury

With fall poised to tumble upon Rhode Island, the employees at Goetz Custom Boats took a break from working on the new Puma Volvo 70 entry last month to watch as company founder Eric Goetz, along with family and friends, celebrated the opening of a new facility in Bristol. It was the latest chapter in an excellent tale about ambitious customers, their high-end boats, and jobs for people who like to build them.

Outside, grass was just taking hold on the newly landscaped lawn and the parking lots still look brand shiny black. You couldn't help but notice the help wanted sign pounded into the fledgling turf. Inside, the 43,000 square feet of workspace dwarfed the crowd of 300 or so who came for the festivities and snacks on a warm Friday afternoon.

The highlight of the new facility, aside from the sheer volume in which to undertake new projects, is a six-axis, state-of-the-art robot gantry tool that will allow for more accurate and fast cutting of molds and boat parts.

In addition to Eric and his sister, Venice Goetz, speakers included Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri, Puma Ocean Racing skipper Ken Read, and Paul Harden of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.

The governor, hailing the new building and increased employment opportunities it presents, said it's companies like Goetz Custom Boats-- renowned for producing racing boats of legend-- that put a tiny state like Rhode Island on the map.

As guests mingled afterward, Eric said the company is in the process of bringing on additional workers to handle projects now in the pipeline. In the past two years the company has nearly tripled its staff to just more than 60, and Goetz, in conjunction with the state, helps train employees for the industry.

The company's old facility, just down the road, is being revamped for repairs and service work, a growing part of the business that includes refit, machining, CNC work and a canvas shop.

So, cool new boats, jobs building them, and a successful business expanding, what's not to like about this story. For us up here in the Northeast, it beats the stuffing out of talking about The Old Farmer's Almanac's take on the winter.