A Philosophy of Boats

Boats are important to us. We love them as examples of technology and design, as works of art, as expressions of individuality, as vehicles, as tools, and as homes. From them we gain a focal point in our day-to-day lives. With them we achieve a way of life closely interwoven with nature. We gain a perspective apart from the overcrowded mainstream. We find an appreciation of people at their best, revealed with clarity as they shape their hopes, intentions, and skills around the elemental forces which support, propel, inspire, and sometimes attempt to destroy them.

We are a small group of men and women best described as marine trades people and professionals who are also yachtsmen. After many years of pursuing our trades individually, we have created the MacNaughton Group. We provide a variety of services and products for the serious cruising person, live aboards, and voyaging yachtsmen.  The ultimate product hopefully being increasing the happiness of their lives.

This catalog is our means of reaching a broader customer base, in the hope of selling yacht design work, teaching yacht design, providing publications, and and supplying hardware materials, and supplies.

Frankly, we sometimes get downhearted when we see and read about some trends in "The Boating Industry". Often, when we take boats apart for repair, what we find makes us very angry. More often than not, we see large sums of money spent for the purchase of a mundane and poorly executed boat with a hundred identical twins. At times the stalwart vessels and clear-eyed professionals we remember from times past seem very far away. The enduring and beautiful materials that once predominated are no longer as popular. The attitudes which led us to relate more to the merchant captains of old than the football coaches of today seem to have been largely lost. The craftsmen who would spit in your eye before they wasted an hour on shoddy work seems harder to find. The days when the tightness of your garboards and your jib halyard counted for more than the color coordination of your sailing clothes are now widely felt to be anachronistic, if they are perceived at all.

However there is a counter current. The mass of people who moved into boating in recent decades is gathering experience. With it they gain individual ideas of quality which are not well served by big companies run by masters of business administration rather than boat builders. These big companies need to sell dozens of identical boats to pay for their expensive factories and molds. They need to sell dozens more to pay for the advertising campaigns. These campaigns seem to reach the customers but do not hesitate to claim the highest attributes for shoddy, dangerous products. The hey day of such boat building concerns is past.

The days when large numbers of people new to boats entered the market yearly are over. By the time people are ready to buy a third boat or are the children of experienced yachting people. They are looking primarily for quality.

The continuing list of big-name bankruptcies is evidence of this. However, there will always be a place for high-quality, well-conceived custom and semi-custom boats. This is the niche we try to occupy with our design work.

Our choices of materials and standards of design, construction, and finish sometimes appear to be unusually conservative and exacting to the modern eye. They are in fact nothing more than our best effort towards a sound and logical extension of the best-proven approaches of the past. We feel we do well at combining these with the best of modern methods and developments. We urge the buyer to compare builders strength-for-strength, concept-for-concept, detail-for-detail, and not on price alone. Today it is all too easy to build a shiny and attractive boat with none of the strength and integrity necessary for her to live up to her implied abilities.