Tim has spent his entire life on and around boats and the sea. He forged this relationship as a child aboard his parents’ commercial lobster boat in Boston, Massachusetts where he became obsessed with the sea and the fascinating lore of sailors and great ships of a bygone era. Steeped in maritime history, Boston Harbor was an easy place for a kid to feel connected to the past. In fact, the very wharf where the lobster boat tied up was the former site of Donald MacKay’s shipyard, where some of the world’s fastest and most famous clipper ships were built in the 19th century.
In his early twenties Tim made the decision to move back to New England and pursue a career in traditional wooden boat building. He attended the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design in Arundel, Maine, graduating in 2002, and immediately started soaking up knowledge that only years of experience in some of the world’s finest boat shops, shipyards, and maritime museums could provide. Working alongside older generations of Maine boat builders and with academics in the field of historic preservation has allowed Tim to hone time-honored skills and techniques that are all but forgotten in this age. From small dories, skiffs, and row boats to large schooners, Colonial Era vessels, and breathtaking classic yachts, he has participated in the building and restoration of most sizes and types of traditional American watercraft.
Periodically throughout his boat building career, Tim has also spent time at sea sailing on just as diverse an array of vessels as he has built. In addition to recreational excursions on his own boats that he restored and built, he has served as crew on yacht deliveries, passenger vessels, and educational tall ships in the North Atlantic, logging thousands of sea miles and three transatlantic passages. Most notable among his seagoing experiences is a six-month voyage from Canada to Europe, Africa, and the West Indies as the ship’s carpenter aboard a sail-training square-rigger.
As a builder he has benefited greatly from these endeavors, gaining valuable perspective on how vessels behave at sea and what is proven effective for performance, strength, and longevity in construction and rigging.
Tim’s passion for boats and an acute sense of aesthetics and tradition coupled with countless hours in yards and at sea have endowed him with the ability to take on any challenge, and he welcomes every opportunity to do so.
Garett was raised in Southeast Michigan not far from Lake Huron. Declining to become a third generatio brick mason, he took an interest in wooden boats of his own accord at a young age. The first boat that he worked on professionally was the 153’ pilot schooner, Highlander Sea, ex Pilot, at age 16. Impressed as he was at the mere existence of these vessels, it came as a revelation to learn that there were those that still knew how to build and repair them.
With that in mind, he took to working full time on sail training vessels on both coasts and the Great Lakes, eventually landing in coastal Maine, where he began establishing himself in the boatbuilding community there. Rather than attending a technical school, he learned his pacing and techniques on the job from some of the most experienced and effective shipwrights in the country. This approach to learning the trade affords him efficiency and literacy with large timber traditional boatbuilding that can only be gained by working with those who have already mastered it. He also became specialized in large vessel caulking at this time, and there are few others with such regular practice in that trade.
In addition to his career in boatbuilding, Garett has a significant background as a mariner. Working as as crew on over ten traditionally rigged sailing vessels, he eventually obtained a 100 ton masters license and served as captain and mate on multiple schooners and on excursion vessels in Alaska. His favorite job as a mariner took him to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean five times as a marine technician on the National Science Foundation's ice-capable research vessels.
Garett believes in the self-evident superiority of hand-made work and in the value of tradition in design. His goal as a boat builder is not to become a curator that produces latter-day intimations of a nostalgic past, but to be a contemporary actor in a still-living trade. His favorite aspect of our work is finding a way to do it as efficiently as possible while maintaining the quality of work that the project demands. He is constantly challenged and interested in this work, and feels very lucky to be able to carry on the tradition of this fascinating craft.