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19 Jul 2023
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Now that was one big boat they launched out of Wanchese yesterday. The custom built catamaran is 110’ long, but only drafts 5’ of water, at least when it’s not carrying a full payload.

Interestingly, the watercraft was built by Brian Schmitt who lives in Florida. It’s sort of a one off project—although it did take five years from design to launch. There is still a little bit of work to do, but that’s finish work that will be done while it sits at dock in Wanchese.

It’s interesting how and why Wanchese ended up taking on the whole project from start to finish. 

According to at least one published story on the project, Schmitt was thinking that he would build certain parts in certain areas because of the expertise that existed there. But when he started looking at the Outer Banks and the shipbuilding traditions of the area, he figured it could all be done right here.

To anyone who knows the history of shipbuilding in this area—traditions that continue until today—it seems logical that an investor would recognize that all the skills needed to take on a project of this size are right here.

Here’s something that may be a bit surprising. Yes, 110’ is big…very big, but it is not the first ship of that size to be built on the Outer Banks.

Back in WWII, the US Navy, recognizing that there was remarkable shipbuilding skills in Manteo, took a chance on a fledgling Manteo Boatbuilding Company and ordered 20 14’ dinghies for the Naval Academy. That was the first of a number of wartime orders the eventually include 13 105’ patrol and rescue ships.

The building boom didn’t last beyond the end of WWII, but the skills the workers learned have been passed down through generations.

The Outer Banks is filled with fascinating stories and history. From Corolla to Hatteras, there is are fascinating stories waiting to be discovered. Stay a while in a Brindley Beach Vacations home and make your own history.