Joe Kitchell has been in the marine industry for 30 years. His building experiences started at a young age, and once the water was chosen as a career, building boats was a natural evolution for him. After building his own boat, he discovered a path that to him was more desirable than being a captain. Though he has held  a USCG 100 ton captain’s license for over 20 years and had many opportunities and experiences, his deeper interest has been in understanding design and construction, while developing methods to simplify and reduce the labor involved with boat building. He believes his knowledge and experiences on the water make him a better builder, as he has personally seen some of the extreme conditions that are faced on the ocean.

As most of the site is about construction here are a few notes on the operation of boats. Joe sailed his first boat, a 41' gaff rig pilot cutter, from California to Florida at the age of 25. He built his second boat, a 28’ pilot schooner with only a small outboard, and sailed it from the Florida Keys to Central America and back. He has  driven 100' schooners, sportfishers, and both sail and power cats. Joe has sailed both coasts, spent a few years in the Caribbean and taken boats as far as Trinidad and Venezuela. He is familiar with most ports in Central America and has transited the Panama Canal six times. He has run passenger vessels in many locations, including ferries in Panama, beach loading cats in Maui, and schooners in the Keys. 

History in Traditional Boats

Many of the early years in the boating industry were spent on traditionally rigged boats. Vessels such as Ocean Navigator magazine's "Ocean Star" 

and the 1905 schooner "Invader"                 Scan 101840066

were his schooling grounds in seamanship. He refitted and sailed his first boat, "Latitude Adjustment", from San Francisco to Key West. She was a gaff rigged cutter designed after a turn of the century North Seas pilot boat.

Scan 093590002

In 1998 he built "Glance". She was designed by Reuel Parker after the late 1800's Swansea pilot schooners. She was Miss July in the WoodenBoat calendar in 2007.glancereach

Through the years, he has sometimes returned to traditional boats for deliveries, spar building, repairs, and systems work, as the ties remain strong. Examples include assisting in several roles on the delivery of "America” from Key West to San Diego

                                          to and stepping in as engineer on the "Providence",                                   insuring her safe voyage to Nova Scotia for Tall Ships '07. Joe enjoys incorporating modern materials and construction methods into traditional designs, allowing the traditional look and feel, while maintaining modern levels of performance. 

…and here is the 78’ Caribbean Spirt, a not so traditional boat he was the owner’s rep for during the build as well as the captain when it entered charter service.