Bryan Gittins knows a thing or two about boats. They’ve taken him from his childhood home in Argentina to points all across the globe. His journey has swept him to London, Canada, Chile, South Africa, and eventually back to Canada, where he now owns the exclusive rights to manufacture the Falmouth Cutter 34. Gittins has extensive knowledge of woodworking, and has graduated from working for a Peruvian furniture maker to owning his own boatyard: Channel Cutter Yachts in Ladysmith, British Columbia.
The Falmouth Cutter 34 is the final design of Lyle Hess, a native Idahoan who made his home in southern California. Hess called the 34 “The best boat I’ve ever designed,” a lofty statement from an architect with a devoted following and numerous designs under his belt. His customers and friends knew Hess as a man with an incredible eye for, and attention to, the detail work of designing and building sailboats. It’s fitting, then, that Gittins be the one tasked with building his final design.
Gittins first began working on boats at the lowest rung of a Canadian boatyard building another Lyle Hess design, the Bristol Channel Cutter (BCC) 28. From this he graduated to owning a small boatyard with his friend Al Brunt. After several years of superior craftsmanship at the expense of a steady income, the venture dissolved. He spent seven lean years building a 28 named Danzarin, and sailed to South Africa in search of more BCC-building boatyards. He looked up Ed McNeil, who had purchased the exclusive rights to build the Falmouth Cutter 34 but needed help with the kind of fine woodworking – rudders, hatches, tillers, etc. – at which Gittins excels. From this partnership, Gittins eventually realized his dream.
He returned to the States, sold his beloved Danzarin (“dancer” in Spanish), and bought five acres in the shoreline city of Nanaimo, in British Columbia. After finishing a beautiful BCC 34 for McNeil while in Houston, he saw the possibility of making a living from this craft. Gittins purchased the exclusive rights to build the 34 from McNeil and set up Channel Cutter Yachts, where he’s been working ever since.
Gittins puts immense care and craftsmanship into each boat he builds, so it should come as no surprise that he outfits his boats with Elco Electric Propulsion (EP) motors. With thousands of hours at sea and multiple major ocean passages, Gittins is a world-class sailor building top-notch vessels.
“ The Elco Motors have only one moving part, so they are virtually maintenance free. I have owners who will be on extended cruises. The AC-powered Elco runs much cooler than a DC motor. That makes a difference when you get down south.”
Check him out at http://www.channelcutteryachts.com/
Here at Elco, we have the privilege of serving some of the most interesting boaters in the industry. Along with boatbuilder Bryan Gittins, Seattle’s John Jorgensen is also a world-renowned mariner, with more than a half-century of experience on the water.
Jorgensen was born into a fishing family in his native Norway. Both his father and grandfather were commercial fishermen, and John started working on his father’s coastal dragger when he was only eight years old. After moving to the United States, Jorgensen stayed true to his fishing roots and worked some of the most dangerous fishing grounds in the world: the Bering Sea in Alaska. “I spent a good part of my life chasing crab around,” says the 70-year-old Jorgensen. “I have many memories of being at sea. Many friends and relatives lost their lives in my career.” Like any lifetime mariner, Jorgensen knows that while the sea may in turn provide and punish, it must always be respected.
With his vast experience, Jorgensen has gained the respect of the crab fishing community in Alaska. However, his influence stretches all the way into mainstream American popular culture. In 1978, Jorgensen bought a 156-foot oil barge from the US Navy. He outfitted it to be a crab fishing boat, renamed it Wizard, and spent the next 25 years fishing off the coast of Alaska. In 2005, Jorgensen sold the Wizard to Keith Colburn, who can still be seen captaining the vessel today on the hit Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch.
Even as a retiree, Jorgensen lives his life on the water. His boat, pictured above, is a beautiful 27-foot Norwegian double-ender. It was built in 1977 from Norwegian white pine, and is one of the last wooden boats to have been built in Norway. The boat’s name, Kronkenen, means “hiding place” in Jorgenesen’s native tongue. “We use the boat in Puget Sound, Lake Union, and Lake Washington,” says Jorgensen, “sometimes for fishing and sometimes just cruising. I’ve had enough of storms and 80-foot seas. I like calm water and sunshine now.”
Krokenen is outfitted with an Elco EP-2000 Motor, which Jorgensen has augmented with a 3.8 kW generator as backup. “I used the backup generator once,” he says, “on the way to the Port Townsend boat show, about 40 miles away.” Having seen marine technologies come and go during his lifetime on the water, Jorgensen believes the Elco EP Motor is here to stay:
“Every boater is aware of the need for keeping our waters pristine for us and future generations. The Elco Motor is very clean and silent, and I think it’s the future of boating.”
The name of the boat is KROKENEN which means hiding place in Norwegian, it built in Norway in 1977. Norwegian white pine, and was one of the last wooden boats built in Norway. The wife and I really like the ELCO electric motor. We go around Puget Sound fishing and just cruising, and went to Port Townsend wooden show and everybody loved the boat and could not believe it was electric. I added a 3.8 kw gen set as backup and used it once on way to Port Townsend about 40 miles from Seattle. Run at 40 amps 4.8 knots about 15 kn. headwind. The Elco Electric motor is a Great product.
The motor offered easy and straight forward installation. We now have a clean engine room and bilge. There are no combustibles so it’s a very safe boat to operate. We have found that the motor allows us to jump on the boat and go! Guest aboard our boat have remarked that it’s so quiet, is it really on? On board gauges keep you informed of your running time, volts consumed and how many more hours you have available on the batteries.
I could not be happier with the motor. My experience with Elco has exceeded my expectations. The customer service has been flawless – even when dealing with a 16 hour time difference. Enquires were all answered promptly and transactions were simple. I was updated continuously during the delivery process.
The Elco motor was as easy to install as promised. The process was far simpler than any engine I have dealt with in the past. The advantage of an Elco Motor are numerous, including the silent and no vibration operation, zero emissions, ease of operation and immediate responsiveness are to name just a few.
The Elco Motor changed my sailing experience and has made it a more relaxed and enjoyable pursuit. Any yacht I own in the future will be equipped with an Elco Motor.
AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. The Elco EP-4000 has more power than the 50 hp diesel the Elco replaced.