Hidden in the back of an industrial park in Wareham, Mass is a famous little boat shop cranking out little wooden boats with big attitude and an even bigger following. The Beetle Cat has been around since 1921 when John Beetle designed a small 12′ gaff rigged sailing dinghy for his children. The Beetle family had been busy building whaleboats for the large whaling ships and their production line build method became famous for it’s ingenious time and money saving methodology which was the basis for many other production line products.
With over 4000 boats out there, many of which race under the competitive one-design class rule, there is plenty of maintenance and upkeep to go along with these little wooden boats, so along with building new boats, Beetle Inc is also busy maintaining and upgrading existing cats.
Bill Womack, a civil engineer who was accustomed to building bridges and engineering little feats like the “Big Dig” in Boston, owned a Beetle Cat and always had interest in buying the company should it ever become available. In 2003 Womack leapt at the chance to do just that – pledging to carry on with wooden Beetle Cat boat building and to aggressively copyright the name and design which made it so famous.
Beetle Inc is a destination if you love wooden boats of any type (They build and restore many others) and if you are a Beetle Cat fanatic, then it is a MUST see. The shop, Bill Womack and Michelle and the storage racks full of Beetles are not to be missed. Every corner of the shop is full of great boat building gems and fun memorabilia from over the years.
This Beetle Cat jig is from 1946. Still front and center and a part of every Beetle being built, just as it was back then. From 1921 – 1945 they were built right side up in a similar manner to the way the whaleboats were built.
1946 (from 1921 – 1945 they were built right side up in a similar manner to the way the whaleboats were built).
And to further the AWESOMENESS of the Beetle Inc – you can VOTE FOR BEETLE INC in the Classic Boat Magazine poll to determine the BEST TRADITIONAL BUILD UNDER 40′ – of course VOTE BEETLE!!!! Let’s help them win!
And check back for the Spring 2016 JD Catalog where we will feature Beetle Inc. as one of our Customer Profiles.
Thanks to Bill and Michelle for the tour! Now go vote! Good luck Beetle, Inc!