You may recognize Brian from a few of our how-to videos, from a boat show, or maybe he’s helped you on the phone. Brian is a true jack-of-all-trades around here at Sailrite® and he’s an avid DIYer and boater himself (who always has a countdown to when his boat can go in the water again!). Brian is also prominently featured on the cover of the 2016 Sailrite Marine Catalog. I recently asked him a few questions about his passion for boating and his role at Sailrite so you can get to know him a little better.
Q: How long have you been a boater?
A: Literally my entire life. Legend has it that the night I was born my mom had been pulling my dad, brothers and sisters skiing earlier that day. We have skied and boated my entire life. I started sailing when I was about 9 when we bought our first sailboat upon which I spent many summers cruising the great lakes, primarily the North Channel of Lake Huron.
Q: What kinds of boats do you have?
A: Currently I have a 1987 Seaward 22 Sailboat which has served as our weekend cottage at Lake James, Indiana for about five years now, a 1977 19’ Marquis runabout which has been in the family since new and has belonged to my wife and I for about 14 years, and a recently acquired 1982 24’ Regal cabin cruiser which is my winter restoration project, that will ultimately replace the Seaward. I hope to come back to sailing, but for now our boating lifestyle is more about destinations then journeys so my wife has won the power vs. sail debate in our family.
Q: How long have you been DIYing and sewing for you boat?
A: I have been repairing and maintaining boats as long as I have been using them. I remember helping Dad with the “work” end of boating as young as 6 or 7 years old. I have known how to sew nearly as long, but never really started sewing my own boating projects until I started at Sailrite.
Q: What is your DIY project you are most proud of?
A: Probably the one I am most proud of isn’t really a DIY project, but a Do-It-For-Someone-Else project. Last spring a friend who runs a great “floating food truck” as I would call it upgraded to a larger houseboat. I made rail covers and a front screen enclosure the latter being required to pass health department inspections. My payment for the project was a summer of free food including the best cheeseburgers around for the family.
Q: What is your role at Sailrite?
A: I oversee the customer service and shipping departments at Sailrite, and also help to answer any project or product questions customers may have. I also get to, and most enjoy working on, developing new projects and helping in the work process of filming said projects.
Q: You have an interesting story of how you came to work here, how did your Sailrite journey start?
A: I stopped in one day for a catalog while I was restoring the Seaward. When I inquired about the for-sale sign (our old facility in Miriam) and the implied growth it represented I was told whom to e-mail. A resume, few e-mails and an interview later here I am. My parents were customers of Sailrite since the 80’s, and I remember going to the facility downtown way back when.
Q: What is your favorite Sailrite product?
A: It has to of course be the Ultrafeed Sewing Machine. I have a great old metal Kenmore that has served me well, but without the Ultrafeed there is no way I could have sewn the things I have, and definitely not as easily. My Ultrafeed goes with me to the lake nearly every weekend, and is always on standby to fix a zipper, blown out seam or tears and holes for fellow lakers.
Q: What are some fun facts you’d like to share about yourself?
A: It’s no secret I live to be on the water. I try to be the first boat in the water and the last one out, and we seldom miss a single weekend at the lake. When I was growing up, we lived much of the same lifestyle with our sailboat acting as our weekend cottage on Lake Wawasee, Indiana. I remember my Mom and I waiting in the parking lot where my Dad worked every Friday night as leaving from there got us to the lake in time to get in an evening sail or a couple passes on the ski. I also have a rule that I don’t wear pants as long as the boats are in the water. Luckily Sailrite is an environment where shorts fit right in.
The 2016 Sailrite Marine Catalog (with Brian on the cover) will be available in early 2016.