Bill Fastiggi's passion for the open water goes back as far as he can remember.
He's sailed all over the world but the owner of Vermont Sailing Partners calls the Green Mountains home.
"If someone buys a brand new boat, sometimes it comes with sails, sometimes it doesn't, but more often as people have older boats that sail tend to wear out we'll build replacement sails for those boats," he said.
They also do custom sail repairs, covers for boats and as we found out much more. On this day he was making a main sail for a 36-foot boat. In between those duties, he stopped to make a cable for a Subaru rally car with a machine no one else in the area has.
It's not just his tools that make him unique, he's the biggest sail maker in the Green Mountains. Most are made in places like China or Sri Lanka, but Fastiggi says the quality is better here. "There are a couple thousand boats here on the lake so there's a lot of people that do a lot of sailing and we're busy year round," Fastiggi said.
This year is different though, with many marinas on Lake Champlain closed, the season is off to a slow start. Thankfully all of his business isn't just here.
"We shipped a sail to South America yesterday and a cover to someone in Missouri," he said.
So how is a sail made? "Putting it all together is pretty complex," Fastiggi said. It's first designed on a computer, then the puzzle-like pieces are laid out, double checked for measurements and then the seams are taped together.
Arguably the biggest table in all of Vermont -- 60 by 32 feet -- this is where it all happens, from sewing and cutting, to the final quality check before it hits the water.
It's not your average sewing machine either. "These are a little different than your grandmothers machine," he said.
Fastiggi's sails have won several races here on Lake Champlain and beyond. "They think it's really unique seeing someone from Vermont and wondering how they know how to sail, but after we beat them they don't ask that question anymore," Fastiggi said.
Sails made in Vermont that are turning heads around the world.
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