Skiff Republic talks with Harry Speer about his shift from fast-fishing saltwater competitor to small boat craftsman. Speer makes skiffs and larger outboard boats in his shop in Panacea, Florida, where he works with his teenage sons and their friend to produce high-performance fishing craft.
“Guiding gave me an identity. You can’t reproduce what it has given to me. Like I said, it’s humbling and feel honored by it. But about the boat aspect of it: I’ve always been able to, like a sculpture, who get asked the question, ‘How do you know what to carve away when you’re trying to make this elephant out of stone?’ The sculptor says, ‘Why it’s easy. You just carve away everything that isn’t elephant.’
I know that is kind of humorous. But it’s the same concept in boat building. You see in your own mind’s eye a skiff, I don’t care, or any kind of boat–how it runs or behaves in the water, what it does, or what it doesn’t do. You look at that boat and you can surmise why.”