THE SAILING LIFE
EDITORíS NOTE: MadMariner.com recently featured this outstanding profile on sailing legend Tom Schock. Due to the scope of coverage and interest, Sail America News requested and received permission from Mad Mariner to reproduce this article for our members. Enjoy the read!
Tom Schock: The Second-Generation Boat Designer Has Put His Stamp on 70 Models
By Zuzana Prochazka
Updated November 23, 2009
Tom Schock stands atop the mold of the new Harbor 30 in his 30,000 square foot boat building facility in Corona, Calif. "We'll be ready to introduce this design next spring when I think the market will be willing to look at new boats again," he says. And Schock's opinion on such things is worth hearing.
It hasn't been easy, but W.D. Schock Corporation has managed to stay afloat through tough economic times, primarily because they take their business personally, believe in a business model that has no debt, and stays small and nimble enough to shift gears quickly. That model has also lead the company to produce thousands of boats, including some of the most celebrated sailboat designs of all time.
Self-described as a series boatbuilder, rather than a production builder, Schock, 65, has produced more than 13,000 boats in 70 different models from 8 to 55 feet over the past 50 years, much of it thanks to President, CEO, shop foreman, and head salesman, Tom Schock, the second generation of boat building Schocks.
"Tom Schock has a real passion for sailing and boatbuilding," says Dave Geoffroy, executive director of the Southern California Marine Association, a Harbor 20 owner and a 30-year Schock colleague. "He walks like he talks and his ability to identify trends and to run lean in down times has made him a survivor. This industry would be better off if we had more guys like him."
Started by Tom's father, W.D. "Bill" Schock, the business had its beginnings in Newport Beach, Calif., where the elder Schock started repairing rental boats for a local amusement park. He was building himself a wooden International 14 from a kit when a friend offered to buy it. Soon three more orders came in and a boatbuilding business was born. Even during the lean winter months, Bill continued to repair woodie station wagons and make wooden toilet seats. Click to read full article.