(This story comes from an assignment I shot for the owner of “Big Dog” who wants a coffee-table book to remember this once in a lifetime undertaking).
boat construction
Three years is a long time to be tied to one project, no matter how much labor of love is involved. But three years is what it took to hand build the “Big Dog”, a 75′ sports fisherman motor yacht with a tall ‘tuna’ tower attached to the outer hull that is used by big game fishermen through out the world. The Mark Willis designed and built boat is a classic through and through. In fact I believe it’s a museum piece worthy of a glass enclosed stage and not the tough and rough ocean environment.

men working on boat
man sanding boat
electrician working on boat


Fortunately this boat has not been retired to the Hall of Fame and those who witness its uncanny handling ability marvel at how it plows through seas other boats would throttle back on. It’s not so much the power, speed and handling of this boat that sets it apart, however, rather its the workmanship and hardcore hand labor!

Very little of this boat is production manufactured and what is was further refined and customized to fit within what amounts is a sculptured yacht both inside and out. The individuals involved in this project were highly skilled and proud and it was a education to witness their ingenuity, attention to detail and their drive to perfection.

boat engine
boat engine
sports fishing boat


Watching a masterpiece unfold throughout the course of three years was also awe-inspiring. I was privy to something that was unique and this pushed me to keep photographing even though the project became long and drawn out. It’s funny when I started documenting this piece I was still shooting film. By the time the boat was completed I was shooting digital and had gone through four incarnations of digital cameras!

etched glass
fishing rods


However my commitment compares nothing to that of Mark, Enrique, the gracious owner, and the many highly skilled workers from the small town of Stuart, Florida. Lots of great stories and jokes were told, after all, three years is a long time to out do the last one!

sports fishing boat