From the time Howard Boston opened a sail loft in 1937 in Clemons, Michigan, sailmaking, and sailing has been a family pursuit. In 1968, son Spike Boston moved to bustling Sarnia, Ontario and the Michigan family became a US/Canada sailmaking brand. The family had originally specialised in small one-design and ice boat sails that served Great Lakes sailors, but Spike Boston and his sons Brad and Tac have built the reputation as a family of sailors and sailmakers well beyond the Great Lakes. A proud member of the Doyle Sails group since 1987, third generation sailors and sailmakers Brad and Tac Boston are at the helm today and remain committed to maintaining a legacy for excellence.
Tac Boston said “We are a small loft, but we are always pushing into newer fleets. Brad is known as one of the top Viper sailors and sailmakers and is also an integral part of the J-70 Hooligan Racing team and the La Tormenta Etchells team. I have been competing with the J/70 Airplane team and doing well. Working closely with Jud Smith and the Doyle One Design team, the Doyle Boston Ontario team has both national and global one-design customers.”
Tac also noted how the Doyle Boston Ontario team really straddles the Canadian and US market, particularly in one design sailing – “Brad and I have grown up in this region and sailing on Lake Huron so we have, of course, done a ton of Mackinaw races from a young age”. One of the boats that the Boston family and many lake sailors grew up sailing is the S2 7.9, which is a 25-foot racer/cruiser with a removable centreboard “that you can take camping, basically,” said Boston.
The Boston’s have consistently supplied sails for these family-orientated boats as well last having success with the Ultimate 20, while developing their skills and reputation as in demand one design sailmakers and competitors.
With the expansion of the VX One class globally and Doyle Sails CEO Mike Sanderson, taking a keen interest in the class, the Boston Ontario team have recently started to work more closely with the VX One class – “We are excited to be starting to work with the VX One and have recently built sails for a great customer of ours who is now a VX One sailor – we are seeing a lot more interest in that class which is exciting. A lot of our customers from the S2 7.9 to the Viper comes from an international base and we have a great customer base in Nashville and Kentucky for the S2 7.9 – recently Nashville hosted a large regatta for the S2 7.9, with our biggest fleet in Holland, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky” says Tac.
Doyle Boston Ontario has a full sales, service and production loft in Sarnia, Ontario and specializes in racing and cruising sails. With over 7600 square feet, the state-of-the-art production facility accommodates sails for most boats and is a full-service loft. Tac added, “We really do operate as a family business and we know each other’s strengths and that works for us.”
Doyle Boston Ontario Sails is proud of their sail making heritage and is a third-generation sailmaker with Spike’s children Tac, Brad and Lynz all working at the loft.
By Laurie Fullerton