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Special Projects

Boat projects bring challenges for Guildmaster

The general impression of people who purchased multimillion dollar yachts may be of Jets setters who drink champagne and eat caviar, but Guildmaster Peter Ross says therefore more practical and business minded than a superficial image of the rich and famous.

Boat owners may invest hundreds of hours in giving design direction and choosing materials, such as the types of wood, for their yacht. "But once they are completed, even these boats are for sale, at the right price," notes Ross, whose company supplies high-end wood items for these boats.

Typically, this level of boat appreciates, rather than depreciates. And there's money to be made if the buyers get in at the start of the new model of boat. "If boat number one goes into the water and performs the way it should and gets the speed and range it is supposed to get, when boat number two sells, the guy who bought boat number one could up half a million dollars". Ross adds, however, that buyers are taking a risk buying the first model and our banking on it performing. The flip side is that if the boat doesn't perform as it should, they could lose money.

Working in this industry can be rewording in that it is one of the few areas where high-end, world-class craftsmanship can still be practiced-a healthy project budgets and the demanding standards of upper-level boat buyers result in wood products that take your breath away.

"These are not mass production pieces. It is a situation where there is a price point and a budget, but it allows a high level of craftsmanship," explains Ross.

While the work can be lucrative, these yacht projects also bring challenges in their wake. Guildmaster is currently working on pieces for a 6 million dollar yacht with a fairly lengthy timeline.

"This is a two and a half-year project," he says." "It makes it a challenge to cost things a two years from now." He also notes it is extremely difficult to find the skilled people to do this type of work.

The low value of the Canadian dollar against the American dollar has helped the Canadian forest industry, but it has also been a big benefit for the yacht/boat building industry in British Columbia. A number of major yacht builders have set up in the Vancouver area and are making a success of it, with most of their sales going to the U.S.

 

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