apt. Paul Mann couldn’t take my call — because he was unloading a delivery truck. That and prioritizing a customer’s build schedule are uncommon tasks for the head of a custom yacht-building company, and they offer tremendous insight into the kind of boatbuilding shop Mann runs. He is just as involved in every hull that leaves his shop today as he was some 30 years ago when, at age 25, he built his first boat. “All I wanted to do back then was run fishing charters,” Mann says, “so I built a boat. But then someone else wanted one. And then someone else again. For 16 years, I ran charters, often working seven days a week, while during the offseason I would build boats … but at some point, the boatbuilding time started spilling into the fishing time. Something had to give.” As much as he loved fishing, he grew to love the building and design process, of taking a stack of wood and turning it into a custom-crafted keepsake. He moved on from single-screw charter boats to sport-fishing yachts, with a fleet today that ranges from 52 to 81 feet length overall from his shop in Manns Harbor, North Carolina, between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.