In the late 1970s, Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin had an idea to start a “funky friendly” boatyard like the ones they had visited in Spain and Martinique. In 1980, that idea became the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven harbor on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Here, owners can work on their own boats alongside the dock or hauled out on the railway. They may enlist skilled boatyard personnel to complete repairs or assist in any necessary maintenance. New design and construction is also a major part of our business.
At Gannon & Benjamin, there is a passion for sailing not always found at other boatyards. “People tell us, ‘It’s great to come to a yard where the people who work there are all sailors,'” says Ross. “Everybody here either owns a boat or sails a lot. It’s our hobby as well as our job.”
“Getting all the details right, not cutting corners, and using the best materials are what build longevity into a boat,” says Ross. But Nat and Ross want it clearly understood that they do not consider their business an “artistic endeavor,” if this means turning out little gems of boats that no one can afford. If every wooden boat has to be an expensive boat, there wouldn’t be many of them around. We take pride in getting all of our work done in a reasonable period of time and at a good price.”