To those standing in the cavernous garage of C and C Fiberglass Components on Ballou Boulevard last Friday morning, the smell of fiberglass was the smell of success. Among the boating enthusiasts and dignitaries who gathered inside the boat building company was Governor Lincoln Chafee, who admired the company’s products, including the J 100, which, he said “I’m a proud owner of.”
“If you look at a map of our state, it’s not hard to understand why the marine trades have always been one of Rhode Island’s premier economic assets. They are among our state’s oldest and proudest industries, and this legacy continues to the present day with outstanding companies such as J/Boats, C&C Fiberglass Components, and Bluenose Yacht Sales. I offer my congratulations and my thanks for helping to maintain Rhode Island’s reputation for excellence in the marine industries,” said Governor Chafee.
The morning’s guest of honor was the company’s J 70, named Boat of the Year by Sailing World magazine.
The J/70 from J/Boats and builder C&C Fiberglass Components captured overall honors; the Sparkman & Stephens 30 from Bluenose Yacht Sales of Newport and C&C Fiberglass Components won the best daysailer category.
The award, said George Brengle, director of marketing for Sailing World, is “considered to be the most respected contest in the sailing world.”
“Yes, winning the boat of the year is a very big deal,” he said.
To be selected, boats go through a rigorous combination of dockside inspections and sea trials.
The judges “sail them, and try to break them,” said Dave Reed, editor of Sailing World.
Town officials, including town administrator Tony Teixeira and town council chairwoman Mary Parella were proud to see the Bristol company recognized as tops among its boating peers. With 400 miles of coastline and its compact size, Rhode Island is a magnet for marine businesses. Traditional and modern boat builders, sailmakers, hardware and component manufacturers, riggers, marinas and other services together form a manufacturing continuum that has created a significant center of expertise.
“The marine trade is so critical,” Ms. Parella said.
She credited Representative Ken Marshall (Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) for the work he did as Bristol town council chairman to establish an enterprise zone for manufacturing.
“We need to make sure the marine trades remain in Bristol,” she said.
Before giving out the awards, Mr. Reed lauded the Ocean State.
“Rhode Island is as legendary as we make it out to be. It’s the first place to sail, the first place to race. It’s happening here in Bristol. Trust me,” he said, “the world knows it as well.”
It was the ninth time that C and C Fiberglass Components and J/Boats have won the Boat of the Year Award.
“C and C Fiberglass Components is a fantastic example of a local small business achieving greatness and building truly outstanding products,” said Representative Ken Marshall. “In a time when many are struggling, C and C has grown from 22 employees a few years ago to more than 50 today. They’ve proven that through careful, thoughtful design and partnership, manufacturing can excel in Rhode Island. I wish them continued success.”