Krisha Plauche, owner of Onboard Interiors, is an award-winning marine fabricator who has been in business for 20 years. This past week, she announced the acquisition of Hood Marine Canvas and will now create a one-stop shop for Marblehead boaters and sailors.
“For over 40 years, we developed techniques for quality canvas work on boats,” Hood Marine Canvas’ founder Mark Hood noted. “In this industry, there are also very few people who do the work on sailboats, and even fewer know how to make a dodger correctly.”
Plauche is the most qualified person to carry on the family name, Hood said.
“We love that she will take the Hood legacy back to Little Harbor where it began for my uncle Ted Hood, my father and grandfather,” he said. “Further, Krisha will be doing all the canvas work for C.W. Hood Yachts, owned by my brother, Chris Hood.”
The Marblehead Current caught up with Plauche this week as she began as the new owner of Hood Marine Canvas.
Marblehead Current: As someone who has worked on boat interiors for most of your career, what do you find exciting about getting more involved in exterior “canvas” work?
KP: I like building things and designing spaces, so this gives another opportunity to create new spaces. For the last 20 years, everyone has asked me about canvas work, and I found Hood Canvas early on to be the only company who aligned with the same quality and professionalism that Onboard had. I would pass along their telephone number and say, “Make sure you call them soon; they book up!” When I found out the Hoods were retiring, my first reaction was, “Oh my gosh, what will we do without them?” And then a few days later a client/customer came into my office and said that same thing! I’m happy we have found a way to combine interior and exterior projects and become a single resource for boaters.
MC: Bringing a Hood product (Mark and Deb Hood, in this case) felt very nostalgic for Mark Hood, and I wonder what this feels like for you. Are you excited to bring more manufacturing to Marblehead?
KP: Yes, I love the idea of adding Hood back into Little Harbor. If I had my way, I’d like to add a few Little Harbor yachts, too! I have a real soft spot for nostalgia, and this really hits a nerve for me. I wish to honor the Hood family legacy of yacht design innovation. And we are so lucky to have C.W. Hood in town as well! Chris is keeping his family’s vision alive for sure — just look at the new 57 and the new electric boats. I think adding the fabrication process will be a great opportunity for people to see and appreciate the process and the tools involved. It’s not a “wham, bam” process. It really takes time. When the customer is educated and involved in the process they can see and “feel” the value.
MC: I think people understand how the interior of a boat makes living on board and spending time on the water far more enjoyable. Now that you are going to be a “one–stop shop” for boaters who want both interior and exterior work done, how would you explain the importance of a sail cover, dodger or sun cover, or how would you explain it a bit differently than you do interior work?
KP: The interior work is about making you comfortable in the boat. The exterior spaces are, in general, more function-based but help you create comfortable spaces away from sun and weather. When there’s a way, I like combining form and function. I always tell my customers if I can build you a better “mousetrap,” I will. The same applied to Mark when he saw problems in design and solved them, and now we get to combine both methods.
MC: For those who grew up in Marblehead in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, we remember there were sailmaking jobs and other ways to learn the skills a marine fabricator might need. How would you describe the work involved, and do you picture the Little Harbor shop to be a full-on manufacturing storefront?
KP: Yes, we will be combining our showroom and manufacturing. Years ago, I visited a shop in Fort Lauderdale, and I had wanted to recreate a shop like that. This is a good step combining offerings for the local boater. Maybe in the future we can add other marine services.
MC: Can you briefly describe how you got your start as a marine fabricator? Is it a competitive industry, or are there a few people like you that really know the business better than most?
KP: Having grown up in Marblehead, I would have been labeled a “water baby.” My father’s avid love of all things water related was the driving force, and I just trailed behind him. Every few years, we would buy a “rescue” boat, and my father, a trained engineer, was handy enough to refit, repower, rewire, sail it and then sell it. Projects varied from little townies to offshore race boats, even some offshore sport fishing. So, I got my start in marine fabrication when I was working on our backyard project boat when I was a kid. I went on to get my first captain’s license the day I turned 18 and worked at local yacht clubs. I raced in college on the sailing team, worked in the sailing publishing world, and then in 2000 my family bought Yacht Interiors of Essex, which was based out of Connecticut. They needed me to help with North Shore based customers. I apprenticed with them for a few years and got certified from The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology. I would say my knowledge is a cumulative love of boats and studying the trade.
MC: Given that you are based on the water now, what are some of your favorite things about being in Marblehead?
KP: Is that a trick question? How can I not say the harbor! Being on or near the harbor gives me an opportunity to “people/boat watch,” and I love seeing the collection we have here. I swear I could find some reason I wouldn’t want to own almost every single boat.
Personally, I recently rescued a 1976 sailboat out of the corner of a boatyard that hasn’t seen the water in 13 years. I’m back at it, scraping, cleaning and restoring, just like when I was a kid in my backyard with my dad! Now, if I can just find the time to get her ready for the season while I’m working with Onboard & Hood Canvas! In fact, Little Harbor offices are currently under construction and expected to be complete by summer.