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‘Exactly what the guy wanted’

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Several weeks ago, I was standing in C&C Marine’s plant in Bristol, R.I., with Charles Tasso, looking at a new but uncompleted NorthCoast 21 Express that was supposed to make it to the Providence (R.I.) Boat Show.

The director of marketing and sales for NorthCoast Boats, Tasso was a little concerned. Time was running short, and the boat wasn’t finished. And Tasso wanted to have this particular boat in Providence. It was the the builder’s first open express model, and the industry veteran knows the importance of new product in stimulating sales, especially in this market.

“It’s good to have new product. It shows you’re in good shape,” Tasso says. “It shows activity. And it also keeps the crew excited.”

I attended the opening of the show last Thursday evening, and there was Charles Tasso — and there was the NorthCoast 21, hot off the assembly floor, so to speak. Tasso had some good news. And he was smiling. The outboard boat sold in the first hour of the show for about $44,000.

“It was exactly what the guy wanted,” he says.

The buyer had looked at a NorthCoast center console last fall, but his wife was leaning toward a cuddy model. The would-be owner also considered a 21 hardtop but really wanted the sun on his face. “Do I have a boat for you,” Tasso told him.

A bit of good news in the middle of what has so far been a mild winter.

In addition to NorthCoast and Albin, C&C Marine builds J/Boat sailboats and the hulls, decks and fiberglass components for Hunt Yachts and Oldport Marine launches. The family business is owned and operated by Jose “Joe” DaPonte, a respected Rhode Island composite boatbuilder and tooling maker with more than 30 years in the business.

When I met DaPonte at the plant, he was where he often can be found: driving a fork truck on the factory floor. He stopped, and we talked about boats for a while, but he had work to get back to. DaPonte is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of guy.

“He’s as hands-on as can be,” Tasso says.

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