You’re about to spend a lot of money on a boat. Here are 10 things you might want to consider before you buy:
1. Selling the most boats isn’t Pocock’s M.O. Building the best boats is.
Sure, we could crank boats out of an assembly line like widgets. But that’s not what we’re about. We’re fanatical about quality, craftsmanship, and making sure that when we build your boat, it’s absolutely perfect. Our guys in the shop take their work personally, and the result is unrelenting quality that we guarantee will stand up to or surpass any other shell in the world. (And that includes those yellow boats.)
2. Providing superficial customer service doesn’t add any value for your program. Being there when it counts does.
Just because a boat builder is at every regatta doesn’t mean they are providing good service. It just means they’re spending a lot of money traveling (instead of on R&D), and a lot of time on the road (instead of in the shop). Our service is personal. When you call, a person answers the phone. If there’s a problem, we drop everything and fix it. If you need a boat or a part or a repair, we bend over backwards to get it to you by race day. That’s what customer service means at Pocock. Don’t take our word for it – go ask one of our customers.
3. NO boat builder is using special hull materials or “skins”. We’re all using the same things, but that doesn’t mean all boats are created equal.
There’s no shortage of marketing going around in the rowing world. (And strange exotic animals that have nothing to do with rowing.) But here’s a fact: we all use the same materials. There’s no such thing as some special skin on one boat compared to another. What is different is how those materials are put together, and how much of those materials are used.
Carbon is strongest when the fibers are in one long continuous piece. The way Pococks are painted, our construction method, our carbon riggers, seats, and footboards – all these things are done to keep weight low so we can put more material where the hull needs it the most for long life and stiffness. Every boat builder builds boats to meet the FISA minimum weight standards. But how different boat builders tackle that challenge is vastly different. We believe Pocock’s construction produces the stiffest and most durable boats in the world.
4. Warranties are great, but how about a boat and parts that don’t break in the first place.
A warranty can help you sleep at night, but isn’t the best warranty one that you never need to use? Pocock boats just don’t break. And with minimal attention and maintenance, the parts don’t either. Take our foot stretchers for instance – not a single Pocock carbon footboard has ever broken. Ever.
But for the cynics out there – every Pocock shell comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY. If something goes wrong with your boat and it’s our fault, we’ll fix it.
5. Go pickup a 1-gallon can of paint and see how heavy it is. That’s dead-weight you won’t find on a Pocock.
Customers always ask why we only paint our boats white. The truth is, we don’t paint them in the traditional sense at all. The white coloring on your boat is part of the hull, and it’s a material that Pocock engineers invented. It’s applied directly to the mold and then the boat is built on top of it. So when the boat comes out of the mold, it’s already shiny white. This makes it extremely durable, and we don’t need to effectively paint the boat twice by using primer. But it also means that we can’t use a fancy-paint job to cover up shoddy work, and we have to take exceptional care of our molds. And we’re okay with that. (There’s only one other boat builder in the world that does it this way, and you can only get their boats in one color, too – yellow.)
When you buy a custom-painted boat, you may get your school colors, but you’re also getting upwards of 10 extra pounds of paint that is doing nothing to make the boat faster, stronger, or stiffer. We’d rather spend that weight on the good stuff. Plus the post-paint method is the same way cars are painted, and it’s pretty unhealthy for the guys doing the work. We refuse to subject any of our employees to that. (And by the way, it’s a fact that white boats have a higher resale value that any other color.)
6. Do you want to buy a fast sail boat or a fast racing shell? Pocock engineers know racing shells.
There’s an incomparable difference between a racing yacht and a racing shell. You wouldn’t want a road bike designer building your car, would you? Why would you want an America’s Cup architect building your racing shell? Our designers know about racing shells, the hydrodynamics of a rowing hull, and the difference between wind-generated boat speed and human-generated boat speed. It’s a different beast. Pocock’s not going to start building yachts anytime soon; we’ll stick to what we know – racing shells.
7. Pre-Preg Carbon is a shortcut. That’s why you won’t find it in any Pocock boat.
Carbon fibers alone aren’t stiff – they’re woven into sheets that come on rolls just like fabric. To become the hard, stiff material that makes up a boat, resin is applied to the carbon fiber in a very specific proportion. This application process happens in one of three ways:
- Pre-Preg: carbon comes with the resin already on it (or “pre-impregnated”).
- Wet-Layup: the resin is hand-applied to the carbon once it’s draped in the mold.
- Infusion-Layup: next-generation, greener technology that uses vacuum sealing to draw the resin into the carbon fabric.
Pre-preg is a one-size-fits-all method that’s the equivalent of “just add water”. It’s good for fast production with little skill required, but the results are far less precise than with the other methods.
Our boat builders are precision craftsmen, and they take the time and have the skills required to employ the significantly more sophisticated wet-layup method. This means that we get the most strength and stiffness possible out of the carbon we use. For you, this means that your shell will be more durable and last longer. Pococks (along with two European brands) are the only boats made this way. And it’s worth noting that we’re already using infusion layup manufacturing for some parts where it yields better results.
8. “Made in China” carries a stigma for a reason. That’s why everything in a Pocock is “Made in America.”
Cheap Chinese products are everywhere these days. We’d just prefer to keep them out of the boathouse. Our boats are made from start to finish in our Everett, Washington shop. We make all our own machined metal parts, all the carbon fiber parts, our boat trailers, and the boats themselves. And we deal with American companies to source the parts that we don’t make. These aren’t coincidences – we prioritize keeping good paying jobs in the USA and taking good care of the family at the Pocock shop.
9. More choices doesn’t equal better choices. Just because a company builds a dozen models, doesn’t mean they have the right boat for you.
It can be completely overwhelming shopping for a new boat. There’s a lot of jargon that gets thrown around to impress you. We don’t know why other boat builders do what they do, but Pocock only focuses on doing things that are going to make a boat better. We don’t cut corners so we can offer budget boats. But we do offer boats at a few price points, and if it’s still a stretch for your program, we offer in-house financing with the flexibility to accommodate practically any budget.
10. We’re not your Father’s (or Grandfather’s) Pocock anymore. But we learned an awful lot from them.
In an industry where all the other boat builders have trended towards building more boats, faster and cheaper, we’re bucking the trend. Pocock has been around for 100 years, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. Did you know Pocock built the first true monocoque composite boat? We also introduced adjustable height oarlock spacers. And we were the first to use wing riggers. (And were first to make wing riggers out of carbon.)
While there are plenty of 30+ year old Pococks still serving their rowers well and getting pulled off the racks every day for practice, the boats we’re building today couldn’t be more different. The technology and craftsmanship in our shop is so sophisticated that when global-leader Boeing needed a partner who knew how to work with aerospace-caliber composites, they called Pocock to help them develop the prototypes for their new airplane wing-tips. Next time you fly on a Boeing 737, take a peek out at the tip of the wing. Every 737 winglet came from molds built by Pocock Racing Shells.
Pocock has led the industry in innovation, and we have no plans to let up any time soon.
Contact Representative or call us at 1-888-POCOCK1