My IT job called for a last minute visit to Hingham, MA. It is over an hour south to Hingham, but it is on the ocean so I did not mind. I quickly fired up Google and searched for boat builders in Hingham, MA. One of the first results that came up was Crawford Boat Building in Marshfield, MA. Another 20 minutes south from my destination. I guess I could stretch the lunch hour a bit.
Marshfield, MA is another one of those towns fostering the beautiful New England waterfront charm. The houses run the range from beautiful multi-million dollar homes on sprawling properties to small, seaside capes piled into a 1/4-acre with beat up “Seasonal Rental” signs out front. It is December now and the streets are quiet. Most of the small hotels are closed and the restaurants are boarded up for the coming winter, but as you drive down the narrow streets you can feel the energy of the New England Summer. You can hear the shout of rambunctious teenagers and the buzzing of an outboard engine out on the water. As I drove through town I made a note to myself that I must get back to Marshfield in the summer to see what it is like.
I pulled up outside of a small red building that sat on a pier over looking the water. The building was old and tired, but not run-down. It had been maintained well, but her many years sitting on the ocean had taken their toll. The trim boards on the roof had weather worn holes in them with a bright green moss growing out like a think frothy head on a beer. A string of Christmas lights hung loosely around a mostly glass garage door. The sign on the wall read “Crawford Boatbuilding. Builders of Melonseed Skiffs and Swampscott Dories.” I stepped out of my truck and could see two people inside dressed in white chemical suits and vapor masks scrambling around a freshly epoxied boat mold.
As I walked in, I introduced myself. One man stepped forward and shook my hand with a large smile. His hand was sweaty from being in a latex glove for the last hour. He immediately explained what he was working on and how his boats were built. I flung questions at him like a curious child and he answered in turn. Eventually, I had to remind us both to stop the chatter and to save all of this fantastic information for the podcast interview.
The man was Roger Crawford. The owner and founder of Crawford Boatbuilding. Roger started the business with nothing but a mold for a Swampscott Dory and has since built, sold, and repaired 100’s and 100’s of boats. His mainstay for the past decade or so has been the Melonseed Skiff. The love and passion that Roger feels for his trade and this boat is absolutely amazing. To purchase a boat from him is essentially like adopting one of his children. Roger is a man that realized what he wanted to do at a fairly young age and went after it with pure determination. The Melonseed design falling in his lap was his reward for those struggles. I have never sailed a Melonseed, but about 15 minutes into the interview, that was all I wanted to do. Truly a beautiful boat with stunning, graceful lines, built with amazing care and craftsmanship by one of New England’s greats.
Visit their site for more information on Melonseed Skiffs and Crawford Boatbuilding. http://www.melonseed.com
Listen to the interview here!