Filed under: Yachts & Sailing
The Arts and Crafts movement wasn't as much about arts and crafts as it was about fusing artistry with craftsmanship. Ruskin and his adherents found no reason why well-built objects of use couldn't also be objects of monumental beauty. You can't go sailing on the Kelmscott Chaucer, though, so for you seafaring lovers of beauty and dexterity there are Prema boats.
Each boat is fashioned from Western Red Cedar, book-matched ash, cypress, and sable by one man in one workshop in Florida. There are no visible fasteners, and the smallest Prema boat hides 2,500 of them. Hull integrity is sealed with a comprehensive layer of epoxy for air- and watertight seals, then boats are coated in ten layers of spar varnish for a sun-protected finish. The rub rails and keel are tipped in half-round bronze for impact resistance. The silicon bronze hardware above uses designs by 18th century America's-Cup-winning yacht designer Nathanael Herreshoff. The wood on the top side of the boat is book-matched, the same technique that Rolls-Royce and Bentley use for their dashboards.
The overwhelming craft and art, however, doesn't mean that sound principles behind crafting a boat have been ignored. The slender hollow in the bow helps the skiff part the water. But even at rest the boat is on plane, meaning you don't spend undue energy parting the waters ahead. The hull's generous flair helps keep water where it should be -- in the sea, not in your lap. Pair that with the full-keeled round bottom and low center of gravity, and you can lean the boat 60 degrees to either side without taking on water.
And for its last trick, Prema boats are convertibles: you can use the oarlocks, or attach a mast and sail amidships, or fit an outboard motor over the bronze wear plate in back. Prema boats come in three sizes: 12'1", 14'1", and 16'1", and the heaviest one only weighs 200 pounds, which makes them easy to pull ashore or haul aboard. They take a while to build -- quality always does -- but there's still time to pair it with next summer's lake house season and that Sycara IV you've had your eye on...