My background & journey to North Sound Rigging...
One of my favorite cruising boats, my Soubise 46 with rotating mast, she could do 20 knots while cruising!
A day in the office
Greetings, I'm Kent Morrow the owner and HRIC (Head Rigger in Charge), as well as principle floor sweeper at North Sound Rigging.
My journey into the marine trades started back in 1981 when I was 14 years old and performed my first re-rig on my own 16' catamaran. Luckily for me, my life was filled with many great mentors who guided and encouraged me to be patient, methodical and organized as well as took the time to share their knowledge with me. By my late teens I was making extra money doing side jobs in fiberglass repair and engine maintenance, as well as rigging. I also worked part-time at a grocery store and somehow kept my grades up enough to eventually get into college. I had earned enough money in high school to buy my
first keelboat, a Coronado 32. I lived aboard her in Santa Barbara harbor, while attending the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). On the weekends, we sailed to the nearby Channel Islands. I was also on the UCSB sailing team. My senior year, we beat out Stanford, Long Beach, and San Diego schools to win a berth at College Sailing Nationals, but there lost to the Naval Academy. Nevertheless, it was a fun ride and I learned a ton about competitive sailing. During summers I worked in boat yards and a local marine chandlery and eventually graduated from UCSB with a degree in Geography with emphasis in remote sensing (satellite technology).
I got an offer to come work for West Marine as an assistant manager in what I thought would be a temporary job until I figured out what I really wanted to do when I grew up. Meanwhile, I kept sailing and delivering boats up and down the coast, taking every opportunity to sail. I eventually worked my way into a regional tech advisor position at West Marine as they were rolling out their new Tech 10 training program. I got to be the first person outside of corporate headquarters to do the testing and became the first Tech 10, and then Tech 20, in the company. I couldn't believe that I was getting paid to pursue my passion and feed my curiosity about all things boating related. I traveled around the region giving seminars at boat shows and stores to customers and instruction to employees on various sailing and marine items.
Enjoying the South Pacific aboard "Andiamo" in Kaneohe Bay before the long journey back to the Pacific Northwest.
I also moved into a bigger boat, a traditional full keel cutter called an Explorer 45' which I spent 6 months in a boat yard completely rebuilding (including ripping out the interior to replace fuel and water tanks) before sailing her to Hawaii and back (and this was all before I was 30, oh to be young and full of energy and optimism!). I eventually relocated with West Marine to Anacortes as an assistant manager after sailing in the 92' Pac-Cup. I also got involved with racing one design again as I had in college, but this time via a small sportboat called the Ultimate 20. I became a regional dealer for Ultimate sailboats and raced them nationwide, ranking in the top three for four years at Nationals before finally winning a National title in 1999 and again in 2000. I was also, at one point, the class president and class measurer. I wrote a set up and tuning guide for the Ultimate 20 which is still in use over 20 years later:
I left my job at West Marine to focus more on sailing and dealership. I expanded my line of boats to include custom power boats built in
Maine on lobster yacht hulls called the "Downeast" line and also I found a high performance cruising catamaran built in France called "Soubise" which I became the US rep for and bought a demo boat. I spent the better part of a year in France helping set the boat up for the US market before sailing her across the pond from France to the Eastern US coast in time to do the major boat shows like Annapolis and Strictly Sail Miami.
The yacht market seemed to be taking a dip when I got a call from an old friend Andy Schwenk, who I had met a few years earlier doing a return delivery back from Hawaii with. He asked me to come work with him at a rigging shop he had just purchased from Anacortes local sailing character and Swiftsure Race winner Girts Rekevics. Nearly 14 years went by honing my rigging skills there before various personal life changes lured me into taking a brief break from the marine industries. A number of loyal customers and other marine professionals with whom I had built up strong relationship over the years encouraged me get back out on the docks and start my own rigging business, and thus North Sound Rigging was born.
Local high school sailors in Flying Junior dinghys, first designed in the 1950s. It's what I sailed in college and remains popular for high school and college sailing.
In the midst of my 14 years as a rigger I also volunteered as a local high school sailing coach to pass along my sailing knowledge as others had done for me. It was really fulfilling to see kids unplugging from their devices and getting on the water to learn self-worth, seamanship, and racing rules. My oldest daughter has now taken over that role and is a US Sailing Level 3 certified instructor. She has surpassed where I left off to help train and teach both young and not so young folks the art and passion of sailing.
From a business standpoint, my approach to rigging is to balance my own depth of experience with what is best for each client, taking into account their boat, their goals and their budget. I like to keep things simple, reliable and safe, but also make sailing and sail handling easier. I like to stay in constant communication and update my
customer on a project as well as have good follow through and keep a realistic view of timelines and costs before we even start a project so that there are no surprises at the end. One satisfied customer telling friends about us is worth hundreds of dollars of formal advertising. Most of my customers find me via word-of-mouth, and that is ideal for me and my business plan.
I would happy to discuss all the various rigging-related options that can help make your boat and your sailing a more enjoyable, reliable and safe experience.
Kent Morrow, North Sound Rigging
My other favorite cruising boat, my traditional Explorer 45' "Andiamo" beautiful and built like a tank.
The Ultimate 20, which gave me my first Nationals title win...what a kick in the pants to sail.
My first real cruising boat, or at least she was already a Hawaii vetran when I bought her. Sailing here with cousins out to Santa Cruz Island.
“Kent Morrow is a talented, capable rigger who is a pleasure to work with. Kent is a clear, patient, kind and responsible communicator. He understands the necessity of a sound standing rig as well as the efficient running rigging that makes sail handling safer, easier and more fun. Kent’s personal integrity makes him a credit to his craft and the Pacific NW marine trades.”
Port Townsend Sails
“I have known Kent since 2004, sailed with him offshore as well as benefited from his professional expertise. Whether he is working or sailing, Kent is always positive and looking for solutions. Diligent, very knowledgeable and never shying from what needs to be done, Kent is a wonderful person to work with.
Through the years I sailed with Kent and enjoyed his responsible, safety minded approach to managing a boat (not to mention his good humor). I also found that when working on the technical side of boats Kent is just as careful, methodical and efficient.
Kent is a great listener who provides a sound platform to make informed decisions. He understands how to balance the budget with the practical and desirable and is reliable through and through.”
Owner, Sail the Blue charters
“I was referred to Kent by a close sailing friend. Kent helped my wife and I get our custom 42 ketch dialed in and we have been so happy with his dedication and careful attention to detail. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a professional and knowledgeable rigger and sailor. ”