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The Martiniboat Story

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Old 08-09-2005, 08:00 PM
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Default The Martiniboat Story

The Martiniboat Story (sorry, painfully long)


Well, this is most definitely a much overdue thread and I feel that I owe everyone an explanation and some insight into the workings of Martiniboat/ Brian Kamrath. (some of you will have no idea what I’m talking about but I’m used to that, LOL) I acknowledge the fact that I have caused quite a lot of worry to my family, friends and the boating community. This thread will illustrate some of my own limitations as a fellow human being and will probably be one of the most difficult things I have ever had to write. I promise to keep this as brief as possible. My name is Brian Kamrath and I am a 36 year old workaholic. I have been self-employed for 15 years and the last 3 of those years have represented some of the happiest AND most stressful moments in my life. This is the story of one man and his dream…

I was bitten by the boating ‘bug’ early in life (as most of you have) and always dreamed of making the transition into the marine world as a designer/manufacturer of fine custom marine products. I launched Martiniboat Marine Design Inc. with a trim tab design that I had been sitting on for several years…’Victory’ trim tabs. Why Victory? Good question. This particular product represents not only my complete emergence into the boating/manufacturing world but also my lifelong dream, thus a personal ‘victory’.

Current positions held @ MMDI:

Designer/Metal artist
Builder/production
Prototype tester
Sales/marketing
Photographer/writer
Shipping/receiving
Purchasing
Customer service
Accounting
Bill collector (I loathe that job!)

Yes, I do most everything. (I now realize it’s simply impossible) I occupy an 8000 sq. ft. shop that houses all possessions + the infamous ‘trim tab lab’. The big plan was to hire a workforce and never look back…it didn’t happen like that. When the countless hours of research and development/ testing started outweighing the cash flow I gave up my studio apartment for (meager) accommodations at the plant. No problem, I was still doing the thing that I love…

The first Victory trim tab design covered the Bennett lineup with a simple bolt-on upgrade, then came the Lenco replacements followed by the Victory InstaTrim version. During this phase of development I had been asked several times for a ‘complete’ trim tab system but was hesitant. I didn’t think the world needed another trim tab system…boy, was I wrong! Up until that point the workload was fairly comfortable around here. I mean, there were some late nights but NOTHING like the months that followed.

The Victory ‘complete’ electromechanical trim tab systems were somewhat unknown for their first few months of existence. Through advertising on Offshore Only, my own website and word-of-mouth, the kits grew very rapidly in popularity. The usual 12 hour days grew to 18+. Sometimes I would work through the night. (I know some of you were more than a little surprised when you called expecting to leave a message and actually got me while working late!) It eventually seemed as though I was never fulfilling the requirements of any one position. I was also feeling a little trapped and isolated from my friends and family. Things started getting a little ‘sketchy’. Then came yet another long ‘working’ weekend that I had come to accept as the norm…but this one was just a ‘little’ different, allow me to set the stage…

It started as any long weekend does, that is to say, sunny, ending with rain showers, lol. I had virtually completed an engine project Thursday night and had waited till the next day to fire it up. (it was actually 12:30am so technically it was the next day) My computer system had been experiencing what I can only refer to as a slow, painful death…(for ME, that is) over the past few weeks and had completely locked up the previous day which forced me to deliver it to a computer ‘expert’ for repair. I had been experiencing consistently longer lead times with my ‘then’ current laser cutter that had eclipsed six weeks. Furthermore, attempts to wrestle my CAD drawings from these people (that I pay for of course) were unsuccessful until legal action was mentioned. (that is a story in itself) Orders were piling up higher than Cheech n’Chong while all of my friends had taken off for the cottage. Hmmn, just another weekend at the shop, or was it?

Friday morning engine fire-up ended abruptly with a scattered connecting rod. No problem, things happen. I decide to blow off some steam with a short tour in my new-to-me convertible. This always works for me. Everything was fine, I had taken a few orders en route and had conversed with a few boating buddies before receiving a call from the computer shop: “I hope you had a backup ‘cause everything you had was lost, I can’t recover anything”. I was definitely distraught but I did have a backup, however, that system (at the time) was also 100 miles away making shipping that day quite difficult indeed.

I start making my way back to the plant via the Bluewater highway enjoying the cool Lake Huron breeze and copious amounts of sun. Ten minutes hadn’t passed when the car slowly coasts to a halt. “Now what?” Improptu engine tests reveal a no spark condition and a distinct loss of my ‘happy thoughts’. “Great”. I let the car (myself included) cool off hoping for some kind of an electrical resurrection. No go. I abandon the mechanical moron not allowing ‘it’ the pleasure of defeating mankind. (Note to the womenfolk- it’s a guy thing)

After walking several miles, and for the first time ever, I decide to hitchhike. (you must remember, it’s hotter than Jessica Simpson in a dental floss bikini) With shirt off, protecting my coconut from the sun, I receive my first ride. This is great, but unfortunately short lived. Hitting the gravel this time and after a few more miles I hear a vehicle ‘rattling’ towards me and before I can turn to offer my humble thumb, take a Slurpee cup full of…(I can’t believe I’m fessing this up)…URINE, squarely in the back. As the three perpetrators roared past in uncontrollable laughter I look to the sky hoping God would offer up my most coveted childhood dream…to become the Six Million Dollar Man. Had that wish been granted I’m sure I would be typing this message from the comfort of my very own jail cell. “Hell hath no fury as a man drenched in pi**”.

So…I dry myself off as much as possible and questioning the appeal of my ‘new found cologne’, ditch the shirt. (sorry MTO, I really don’t like to litter, but…) By this time I’m ready to move mountains and I’m sure that after my next ride stopped, he likely questioned his decision to do so.

Note to self: “calm down B, calm down” (that moment is still so fresh)

Anyhow, at that moment I had resigned myself to the fact that I just had to get away, I NEEDED A BREAK. I had worked myself into the ground over the past several months and came dangerously close to the edge. I headed to a friend’s cottage (after a shower of course) to reconnect with close friends and contemplate my crazy lifestyle thusly developing an immediate plan of action. Well, there was no business talk allowed and I commend my friends for bringing me back down to earth.

After a very enjoyable and much needed break I come back with a new outlook and a simple plan to spread the workload amongst some helpers. (ok, that’s not 100% accurate as I did bring the new Victory ‘Rage’ prototype to fruition during this whole episode. I will start a new thread on those beauties)

That’s my story in a nutshell. So you see, I’m just another fanatical boating enthusiast, (perhaps a little eccentric however and most definitely a dreamer) someone who talks, thinks and dreams boats. I will never find a more enjoyable pastime.

I apologize wholeheartedly to everyone who was worried regarding my whereabouts, (I just can’t believe how many people I’ve touched during this gig, I really had no idea. My inbox had 176 concerned emails, that’s unreal!) I know I didn’t handle my stress in a responsible adult-like fashion. A special thanks goes out to the OPP and the RCMP. I will never forget your efforts and warm reception upon my return. Believe me when I say, these people are simply the finest, most caring people I have ever met. Kudos to you and law enforcement everywhere! I have a new-found respect for what you do.

In closing I must make one thing very clear as some of you were wondering if Martiniboat Marine Design Inc./ Victory Trim Tabs still existed. IT DOES! I will NEVER go away! I feel as though this is my mission in life. There was only a small ‘lull’ in production, which is to say, I didn’t take any more custom orders and only sold/shipped what was in stock. This allowed me to restructure here at MMDI, bringing in some much needed help, and (finally) build one of the many projects I carry in my head. You guys haven’t seen anything yet! I have so many more projects/ideas that absolutely must be brought to the table, some of which the marine industry has never seen.

Much love and respect from Martini, aka Brian Kamrath…

…a little shaken, not stirred.
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Last edited by martiniboat; 08-09-2005 at 09:56 PM. Reason: 'putting the name to a face'
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Damn. Thats a helluva day for sure.
I was worried about you as well as the thousands of other OSO members!
I want to thank you for all the advise that you gave me a few months back and let you know that we will definitely be doing business in the future! Rock on. Jim

Last edited by JnT; 08-10-2005 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Great story. At least you didn't go postal!

Keep up the fight and enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Brian, glad you recovered and are here to tell this story. We all have bad times, and you did what was needed to stay sain. Hang in there buddy, Keith.
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Cheers! All the best Brian... You just cant make that sh!t up! You were in our thoughts..and glad to hear from you!!!
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Cheers Brian Thanks for the update. We were all worried for a brother that weekend ... crazy life sometimes, but glad to hear of your new perspective and really can't wait to see the new projects/ideas that are coming "some of which the marine industry has never seen"

Loved that ... a little shakin not stirred to wrap it up too
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:09 PM
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Brian,
One heck of a story, not many people would have been that honest ......So glad to hear your back. This winters plans includes a Bennett upgrade tab.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Brian, great to hear from you. Keep up the good work!

BTW - those tabs I bought from you are still doing great! One of the best refits I did on my boat.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:13 PM
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Brian.....

Yes you scared us all.... I think you may need a spanking ...... Glad to have you back, and remember... we (ALL of OSO) are here for you anytime you need to vent or rant.... God Bless

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Old 08-09-2005, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: The Martiniboat Story

Brian, glad you are back. The hardest part of shop work is going from 1 to having employees. The next hardest step is going from 3-4 employees to more. Pm me anytime to discuss, if you wish, to someone who has traveled down the path you have chosen. Joe Murray
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