The story behind the reader photo

Feb 9, 2014

A reader-submitted photo from earlier in the week pictured a boat sailing on the Wareham River in front of a snow-covered background.

Well, there’s a story there. Cape Cod Shipbuilding Company is a family business based out of 7 Narrows Road since 1919. And for the first time in 24 years, there’s a new member of the family, and it’s a boat: the Marlin Heritage.

“Heritage -- The name of the boat says it all. The fact that I’m a third generation here, and I work with my dad brings it all back full circle,” said Wendy Goodwin, president.  “The other guy in the boat is my brother, Dan. It’s about family. It’s about heritage.”

“Grandpa built a lot of these in the 1950s and 60s that have the same hull shape, but we’ve redesigned the deck and the rig for a more modern use,” Goodwin said. “When we were trying to decide on the name of the boat, Heritage just seemed to fit… When I see the boat, I see all the decisions that went into it, and not one person made those decisions alone. It was the group of us – together.”

“The older marlins, grandpa allowed for either a cruising version or a day sailing version. It either had a cockpit that was too small or too big. This one, the cockpit is just right,” Goodwin said. “We just changed the seating capacity and the space down below.”

The boat features seating for six and sleeping arrangements for two.

“This has been a five-year project for us,” Goodwin said.

“We build a smaller version of this boat, and it’s our bread and butter boat,” Goodwin said. “There was always this need for something bigger, though. The smaller version we make is just for day sailing… This boat screamed for this redesign.”

Goodwin said the goal with making the first boat is to later have a production run of the boat.

The boat costs $98,000, is 23 feet in length and features a hand-laid fiberglass hull.

When asked what Goodwin’s grandfather would think of the new boat, she felt he would have said: “good business decision.” Good business decisions are tough to come by with the current state of the economy, according to Goodwin.

“It’s a risk to introduce a new boat when the economy is still struggling, but in the down time is when we could make sure the boat is a good one,” Goodwin said. “We see other businesses doing the same thing: When things are slow, take time to reinvent.”

However, boat buyers are still tough to come by.

“Sometimes there’s no boats on order, and we have to fill the gaps with repairs and maintenance,” Goodwin said. “That’s why we’ve been around so long – because we’ve been able to shift gears.”

Shifting gears applies to more than just focusing between sales and repairs. The Marlin Heritage is a shift in design for the company.

The boat style “was successful in the 1950s and 60s, and then it sort of went out of vogue. Now, we’re bringing it back,” Goodwin said. “People are looking for classic shape, but with modern amenities.”

Seeking interest, the boat is now in Hyannis for the Boatbuilders Show. When the boat was photographed, it was actually on the water for the first time as part of its test sail.

“We would not have done this if the weather wasn’t perfect,” Goodwin said. “What is the saying? Don’t do this at home.”

Goodwin added that she was in touch with the harbormaster before they took the boat out.

“Due to the deaths that have already happened around Buzzards Bay, I want to say we did not take a risk with doing this. We had a work boat,” Goodwin said. “We want people to know that [water safety in winter] is serious, and not something we do lightly.”