Richard Stanley’s dream: wooden hulls, ‘glass tops

BASS HARBOR, ME – Cold – oh, wasn’t it cold.  Whatever the thermometer said was one thing; the wind screeching out of the northwest added its own twist.  You almost had to lean into it to make headway from the car to the door of Richard Stanley’s boat shop on the nubble of Little Island Way.

But once you opened the door, there were great rewards.

Two big ol’ dogs – massive, shaggy, black and white Landseer Newfoundlands named Florence and Percy – blocked the door in the bestest, most friendliest of ways as only big ol’ dogs can.

And there was a woodstove not too many steps away once you stepped over and around the big Newfies, putting out fine and dandy heat.


Pictured left to right: crewmember Jonathan Minott, Richard, and his wife Lorraine.
(Brian Robbins photo)

And best of all there was wood – the smell of wood – in the air.  If you were to ask me to make a list of instant comforts, that smell would be one of them.

On the January day I visited Richard Stanley’s shop, the project at hand was the repair of a 33’ sailboat, built by Richard’s father Ralph Stanley in 1962 – the same year that Richard was born.

But if Richard Stanley’s dream becomes reality, there’ll be a lot more wood to smell in the future.

You see, Richard wants to build you a wooden lobster boat; specifically, he wants to build you a wooden hull – setting it up so that the finisher of your choice can put a custom fiberglass house and deck on it.

Peter Cass of John’s Bay Boat in South Bristol and Peter Buxton of Buxton Boats in Stonington have both made the concessions of applying fiberglass to their wooden masterpieces in an attempt to cut down on yearly maintenance for the owner. The mix might include windshield and cabin tops; deck and platform; maybe even the main bulkhead, depending on the owner’s preference.

What Richard Stanley is imagining, however, is a fiberglass house and deck built on one of his wooden hulls – what he feels is the perfect marriage of the comfort of wood under your boots with the longevity of cored fiberglass overhead.

Before we look ahead any further, however, let’s take a look back.

A life of boats

It would’ve been hard for Richard Stanley to avoid being around wood …


Read the rest of this story and much, much more in the February issue of Commercial Fisheries News.  Buy this issue or Subscribe.

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