The debut model of Vancouver, British Columbia-based North Pacific Yachts, the 43′ Pilothouse, represents both a tremendous value proposition with its price far below comparable competitive boats, and a model of practicality, as a design that began with a family project to “fix” what was wrong with then-available boats. The company is run, practically single-handedly by Trevor Brice, a pilot, boater and entrepreneur, who together with his family, set out to design a pilothouse cruiser that would really work for them. What they ended up with is a boat that sets a new standard for return on investment. Here’s how it got that way.
THE COMPANY. Trevor Brice is the 27-year-old son of John Brice, China trade expert and entrepreneur from Vancouver, British Columbia. After finishing his commercial pilot training, Trevor decided that, as much as he loved flying, it wasn’t the right career choice. Coincidentally, he and his father had been doodling a design for a new cruising boat for their family. One of the Brices’ pet peeves was how so many of the available boats seemed to be designed by people who didn’t have to use them or maintain them. A specific bee in the Brice bonnet came from the fact that many of the typical boat’s systems were simply inaccessible and hard to work on. They knew they wanted a pilothouse design for the extra visibility, and a full-beam salon and covered aft deck so the inside spaces would be as comfortable and inviting as the exterior when the weather turned sour.
While imagining their “ideal” boat, the Brices planned-in complete access to all systems, including wiring and plumbing. At some point, the family “fun project” turned more serious and they began looking for a builder. Trevor was looking for a new career path at the time and he discussed building not only the family’s new boat but starting a company to do so, and to continue selling a new line of cruisers designed around that theory of practicality. John Brice eventually agreed to put up the seed money for the company and to use his experience in Asia to find the right builder. His only conditions to Trevor: “Don’t lose too much money and don’t sell the demo boat!” The first turned out to be easy to do; the second he failed.