Arey’s Pond Boatyard (APBY) has always been that island on the horizon that I could never seem to get to. They are located a bit off the beaten path in Orleans, MA on Cape Cod. Years ago, my wife and the kids (2 at the time) made it out there for a very brief visit. I knew of the Arey’s Pond Catboat and its legacy of quality and customizable construction, but knew very little about them. After all, I was a Marshall catboat man and Marsaili (my Marshall 18) was my one and only love. Then every year at the Catboat Association show, I would see an Arey’s Pond cat there and it would always take my breath away. The woodwork, the lines, the attention to detail was all simply beautiful. This year at the show, I went over and introduced myself to the owner, Tony Davis, and told him that Heritage Boatworks would be in touch. Finally, I got to sit down with him this month.
About 3 years ago, my wife and I went looking APBY. Well, more accurately stated, I decided to go looking with my kids (2 and 4 at the time) growing impatient and my wife not far behind them. We spend our weekends on the Cape and back then with just 2 young children we’d always hop in the car and go get lost in various places on the Cape. We could always find a nice beach or an ice cream stand when the kids got restless and my wife and I would just enjoy the ride. On this day, I knew we were close to Orleans, so I decided to go find APBY. If you’ve never been to Cape Cod, there is a 2 lane road that goes most of the length of the Cape called route 28. Some days it is clear sailing, and other days it can be very slow going with all of the site seeing tourists locking brakes up at every gift shop. Today, was a slow one. I kept thinking that APBY was just around the corner, but the ride continued. By the time we got there, my kids were done with the car, and my wife was frustrated with my persistence. I hopped out of the car, did a lap around the very small waterfront property, took a glance at a couple of catboats in the yard, and dove back into the car to get our of there moments before my wife considered physically harming me.
Overall, I was mostly confused with the APBY shop. It had an absolutely stunning location being right on Arey’s Pond, but the shop consisted of basically 2 garage bays and a small office/store. Were these beautiful boats made one-by-one in this tiny space? How the hell did they do it? I didn’t have much time to ponder it as I had to focus on fighting off the aggression of my family, and I never got back to APBY….until now.
As I approached Arey’s Lane, I recognized it from my trip out there. I pulled down the dirt road bordered by water and parked the truck. It was exactly as I remembered it and I was no less confused. I was early, so I took some time to shoot some photos (below). I walked into the shop and could hear Tony on that phone in the back office. I looked around. The impression that I got was that APBY wasn’t just the producer of legendary catboats, they were also a sort of community boatyard with sailing lessons, catboat rentals, and a mooring field in the pond. It was sort of a best-of-both worlds scenario to me. What a fantastic concept.
Eventually, Tony was able to break free from the phone call and we sat down for our interview. After the interview, Tony took me for a tour and my confusion was put to rest. About 50 yards from the property on the water were two large buildings that were considered “the shop.” There, craftsmen (and the head craftswoman in charge) were busy plying their trade and creating those gorgeous boats I’d seen at the shows. It all made sense now seeing the shop space and the folks hard at work.
If you want more information on APBY, visit the website at http://areyspondboatyard.com/ or swing by and see the operation as Tony would be happy to show you around if he’s got the time. They offer classes for kids and afternoon hourly rentals. Another great boat builder and community boatyard on Cape Cod.
Thank you for reading!