USWatercraft welcomed more than 200 guests to the Open House held at its Rhode Island factory in early March. Visitors included owners of boats built by USWatercraft, as well as new customers, journalists, industry friends, and local residents curious about the bustling 100,000-sq.ft-factory in their town. USWatercraft builds four boating brands: Alerion Yachts, True North Yachts, North Rip Boats and C&C Yachts.
Tours of the production floor were the highlight of the day. Members of the USWatercraft engineering and production teams guided visitors through the factory, explaining the high-tech process used to manufacture both sailing yachts and powerboats. The tour began with a look at the raw materials (such as fiberglass cloth and core materials) and the myriad of molds used to create the hulls and decks. Next was an explanation of the resin-infusion process and a look at a True North 38 hull in the process of being infused.
Every hull produced by USWatercraft is built using resin-infusion, the gold standard for producing strong, lightweight, and consistent fiberglass hulls. The process begins with materials laid up in a precision mold, followed by vacuum-bagging. The vacuum pulls and distributes a precise amount of liquid resin into the lay-up of fiberglass and core materials. The vacuum pressure also compresses the materials, removing any trapped air. The result is an efficient, repeatable process that results in very high quality parts.
The tour also included a walk down the production line, where three Alerion 28s, an Alerion 41, and two new Alerion Sport 30s were seen in various stages of finish. The final stop was the extensive carpentry shop, where everything from interior woodwork and furniture to teak decks are produced both by hand and with the assistance of CNC machining.
“People ask great questions, and they’re very interested in what we do here,” says TJ Perrotti, Senior Naval Architect and Chief Design Engineer for USWatercraft, who led many of the day’s tours. “It gives our owners tremendous confidence to meet the people behind the construction of their boat, and to see that everything is built right here in Rhode Island to the highest standards.”
Visitors were also treated to a look at nine finished yachts, representing each of the company’s brands. This included the two newest launches – the Alerion Sport 30 sailing yacht and the North Rip 30 center console fishing boat. Also on view were the Alerion 41, Alerion 28, and Alerion 20 sailboats, the C&C 30 One Design racing sailboat, the True North 34 Outboard Express and True North 38 powerboats, and the North Rip 21 center console.
“Everyone at USWatercraft is incredibly proud of the boats we build,” says Randy Borges, President and founder of USWatercraft. “It’s exciting to give our customers a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes on here, and to introduce them to all of our brands. Some people know us for our sailboats, and others for powerboats; the Open House is a chance for us to show off our skill in building and servicing both.”
USWatercraft began as the service company Waterline Systems in 1988. The USWatercraft name was added in 2000 when the company began building boats, first as a licensed builder of J/Boats. USWatercraft purchased and began building the Alerion and True North brands in 2012, C&C Yachts in 2014 and North Rip in 2015. (Waterline Systems remains as the service arm of the company) USWatercraft employs 75 of the most highly skilled and experienced boatbuilding staff in New England.