As a child, Jim Logan ’78 was surrounded by water and boats. As an adult, he’s traveled the world as a luxury boatbuilder.
Over his career, Jim has been part of building sailboats from 21 feet to 100 feet and powerboats from 17 feet to 70 feet, and refits (renovations) on several vessels, including a 155-foot sailboat.
Jim was also part of the team that built Comanche—a 100-foot carbon fiber Super-Maxi race boat that broke the monohull sailing record for the fastest time crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
“Like most forms of manufacturing, the process to build a beautiful boat often requires some hard work and isn’t always pretty or fun, but there is nothing compared to the pleasure of being a part of creating a beautiful ‘floating dream’ for the eventual owner,” Jim said. “I feel that there is a real advantage in deciding what you really enjoy doing, and turning that passion into your career field.”
Jim’s passion for vessels began when he was a child growing up in a historic fishing village on the southern coast of Massachusetts, Westport Point. When his family later moved to Long Island, he spent countless hours on the water, and at age 16 bought a 24-foot, inboard-powered cruiser.
After earning his degree in technology education from SUNY Oswego, he began his career at Miller Brewing Co. in Fulton, N.Y., as well as his own custom cabinetry firm. Later, he expanded to include his love of boats as he landed boat manufacturing roles that have taken him around the eastern seaboard of the U.S.—and as far as Australia.
“In those years following college, my wife, Pat, and I had owned three different sailboats and sailed on the lakes in Central New York and on Lake Ontario,” Jim said. “I had gained some skills in working on fiberglass boats.” He also earned a U.S. Coast Guard 50 Ton Masters License.
The skills he honed helped him secure a position with Beneteau, a sailboat manufacturer in South Carolina. Over the next 20-plus years, he gained more knowledge and experience in the field, taking on roles of increased responsibility, and eventually managed departments, divisions and entire plants.
“While building sailboats in South Carolina, I learned that most of the employees had never been out on the water in one of the boats,” Jim said. “We set up a program to offer employee outings on the company raceboat. Taking team members out for a sail allowed them to see the importance of their contribution to the finished vessel.”
Jim next turned his navigational compass to Australia, where he took a job with a large powerboat builder.
“Sailing on the coastal waters there was fantastic,” he said. He took a six-month leave from one position while there, and he and his wife moved aboard a 46-foot boat he’d built at Beneteau. “We sailed about 1,500 miles of the waters inside the Great Barrier Reef, and consider this one of our best life experiences.”
Returning to America, Jim managed a factory building classic mahogany runabouts at Hacker Boat Co. in Ticonderoga, N.Y., and then took a position leading the boat-building team at Hodgdon Yachts, a custom yacht builder in Maine.
The major project at Hodgdon was the record-breaking Comanche, which also has won the Sydney to Hobart, Fastnet and Transpac races.
“For me the greatest pride has come through successfully leading a team to build what the company or customer needs,” Jim said. “Building custom yachts for discriminating owners is the ultimate in boat building craftsmanship.”
Jim retired in 2016. These days, Jim and his wife are living on solid ground, splitting their time between their home near Charleston, S.C., and traveling the country in a motorhome visiting national parks. The couple visited 25 states in 2018.
So what’s next for them?
“We don’t currently have a boat,” Jim said. “Getting back out on the water and cruising is in our future plans.”