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June 2013 MAINE COASTAL NEWS Page 5. BILL WRIGHT PURCHASES BRIDGES POINT 24 MOULDS


HALL QUARRY – There have been, and are still, a lot of great boats built on the coast of Maine. Most of the boats have been designed for commercial use, but in the last hundred years Maine has also become known for her yachts. Some have gained world-wide notoriety, while other well-deserving de- signs have remained undiscovered. One of these is the Bridges Point 24, which was designed by Joel White of Brooklin Boat Yard and built at Bridges Point Boat Yard in Brooklin. Wade Dow, owner of Bridges Point Boat Yard, recently announced that he had sold the moulds for the Bridges Point 24 to Bill Wright of Mount Desert Island. Bill has already started his marketing campaign and hopes to build his fi rst one as soon as possible. Wade Dow and Joel White conceived the idea for the Bridges Point 24 in 1983. Joel White, a naval architect with a degree from MIT and former owner of Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin, begin the design process shortly thereafter.


The length of the Bridges Point 24 is 24 feet overall, 18 feet 8 inches on the water line, 7 foot 6 inch beam, 3 foot 5 inch draft, displaces 3,944 pounds and has a sail area of 278 square feet. There are two types offered, an overnighter and a daysailor. The overnighter has two different cabin lengths, one shorter and more traditional looking and a longer and higher one for those who would like more room below. The day sailor has a much shorter cabin. Bill explained, “Wade Dow contacted Jock [Williams of John Williams, Boatbuilder, in Hall Quarry] about selling the moulds to him. We tossed it around here for awhile and Jock decided he did not want to do it. He wanted to focus only on the Stanleys. We let it go and then talking with my father, who owns a Bridges Point 24, he said, ‘you ought to buy them.’ So I just went from there. I talked with Wade, we got together and he was ready to go. “I want to get them back in production and get the brand back up and build them on a regular basis,” said Bill. “I have talked to Jock and he is willing to give it a go here. I am glad that Jock was okay with that oth- erwise it was a whole different deal. We are still going to need Wade’s help and he said he will assist on the fi rst boat or so.” Wade did a great job laying up the hulls


and fi nishing them off with his son Forrest and a couple of other workers. Wade has a great attention to detail. His woodwork is second to none and that is because he learned from one of the best, Arno Day. He laid his hulls up by hand, but Bill at some point hopes to change to using resin infusion to produce his hulls. His only concern is how much it will cost to convert the moulds to do this. Bill added, “I have the hulls in a stor-


age facility in West Tremont. I am putting together a website so people can fi nd me and


look at the boats. The website is “bridge- spointboatcompany.com” Then we will see about going to a boat show, but I am running on a shoe string.”


Bill has always been around boats hav- ing grown up in Wood’s Hole on Cape Cod. His father was a physical oceanographer studying currents at Wood’s Hole Ocean- ographic Institute and would leave there to take a position with NOAA. Bill said, “I never went out on ATLANTIS with him. We used to just jump off the bow of the boat in the summer and drive security crazy.” Bill attended Falmouth High School. His childhood was fi lled with sailing a 30-foot Tancook whaler called MOCK- INGBIRD, which they owned for 30 years. They sailed her around Cape Cod and the Islands, Buzzards Bay to Rhode Island and all the way down to Maine. He raced on other boats such as Herreshoff 12½s and Cape Cod knockabouts.


After high school Bill headed to the University of New Hampshire and grad- uated from there in 1984. A friend and he purchased an existing oyster company and began raising oysters in the Piscataqua Riv- er. Bill explained, “We had a good string of bad luck that fi rst year. We got nine inches of rain in the month of March so we had to pick up the oysters and move them. They were about a quarter of a million juveniles, about the size of a quarter. We moved them from Great Bay to York Harbor and when the salinity came back we moved them back. However, they never really grew like they were supposed to after that. We were in a hole. Than that same year a huge natural bed of oysters were found in Cundy’s Harbor about the size of a football fi eld and that hurt. That was a seasonal business and in the off-season we did construction. However, after about fi ve years of not make a penny with the oyster business and we ran out of money and my partner and I went our sep- arate ways. After that I just got into house building full-time.”


Bill had a little experience with building boats. He and his father had built a dory in their basement. He added, “I grew up with wooden boats and you can get bitten by the bug. So I decided to go to Maine Maritime Museum who had the Apprenticeshop pro- gram at that point. A guy named Phil Shelton was there and he taught me quite a bit. He grew up on Long Island and his grandfather was a boatbuilder there and that is where he learned it. He was very talented. Arno and I also work together there on one of Arno’s 22 foot power boats. I was there for about a year may be a little bit longer. I was living in Kittery at the time, so I was commuting back and forth, so when the program was over I went back to Kittery and hung my shingle out.”


Bill’s wife was working for a PR com-


pany in Portsmouth and they had a program where if you worked there fi ve years you could take a sabbatical. Bill was looking for another job so they took their 26 foot gaff rigged Crocker and headed Downeast for an eight week cruise. They made it down to the Jonesport area and fell in love with the Downeast coast. Bill added, “When we got back it was pretty clear my wife didn’t want to go back to work. So I started looking for jobs. We realized we didn’t need to stay in Kittery and could go anywhere. I applied at Hodgdon Yachts and The Hinckley Compa- ny. Hinckley called me fi rst and I took the job. It turned out to be a great experience. I built two Sou’west 42s and then I got in- volved in a custom project. I also worked on a Hinckley 70. Then I worked on a Talaria 42 powerboat. I was only there for two years but I built a lot of boats and I got a lot of


A deck view of a Bridges Point 24 being readied for the upcoming season. experience.”


When Hinckley went from family owned to venture capitalist owned Bill left and went to work with Hank Hinckley. “What I learned most about that was what I didn’t want to do,” said Bill. “I wanted to build boats, I didn’t want to service them.” After they went their separate ways, Bill went to work for John Williams, Boatbuilder. When he began he worked on building boats, but within a few years Jock restructured things and Bill headed into the management side of things.


Bill really enjoys working at John Wil- liams and his new adventure will help quell his desire for building boats. With some sound marketing decisions I believe the Bridges Point 24 will become what it should always have been, the best pocket cruising sailboat offered.


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