March / April 2021

First Light’s Lapstrake Series

Classically inspired semi-custom powerboats
First Light Boatworks

First Light Boatworks of Chatham, Massachusetts, has developed a line of semi-custom wooden powerboats. These include, from left, the pocket-cruiser FINALE, a Pocasset model, and FAST EDDY and HENRY J, built to the Monomoy design. The photo is taken from a Tashmoo model called CIVILITY (see page 75). All of the boats are powered by outboard motors concealed in wells.

Jim Donovan was living on the island of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, in 2015 when his friend and colleague Woody Metzger called him with this unusual business proposal: “Do you want to move back to the Cape, freeze your ass off, and probably go broke?”

The duo had first worked together in Orleans, Massachusetts, at Arey’s Pond Boat Yard during the mid-1990s—Metzger in the finish and rigging departments, as well as heading up the sailing school, and Donovan as a carpenter. A talented and precocious craftsman, Donovan had begun building a 30' Lyle Hess cutter at age 17. After five years of construction, he launched the boat, CARINA, from the Arey’s Pond waterfront and went to sea. He sailed to Ireland, Panama, French Polynesia, and elsewhere before selling the boat in Hawaii, moving to the U.S. Virgin Islands, and going back into custom carpentry.

Metzger had also done some wandering around the globe before settling for a time in the mountains of Vermont and then moving back to Cape Cod. On the Cape, he opened two successful small businesses—one for residential painting and the other for custom home construction—before a stint as director of client services for a local ecological design firm.

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