James E. Thomas
   Marine Surveyor
Marine Surveyors San Diego                                                            (920) 493-5575                  
A passion for boating began at an early age and has endured over a forty year period in the marine industry. Since 1976 nearly all my time and working interest has been involved in boats and being on the water. My first major delivery was crewing 2000 miles from the Great Lakes to Florida on a boat renamed "Tenacious" and just purchased by Mr. Ted Turner,  refitting at the Rybovich / Spencer Boatyard in West Palm Beach. In 1978 I began a professional career in boatbuilding at Palmer/ Johnson Inc. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, renowned for building some of the highest quality boats in the world. There I completed an apprenticeship as a shipwright in the contruction and repair of yachts in wood, aluminum and fiberglass,  learning how to build and assemble of all the components of a finely fitted yacht to world class standards such as Lloyds and ABS. I worked in the service department specializing in wood boat reconstuction and the rigging department, stepping masts. Seasonal sailing, occasionally racing and delivering sailboats on the Lake Michigan.  In 1981 I began a career as a yachting professional  full time crew member on large auxilary sailing yachts, making deliveries out of the Great Lakes to southern waters via the Erie barge canal or St. Lawerence Seaway.  I became the first mate and skipper on a Maxi named "Ondine IV" Owned by Mr. Sumner (Huey) Long, transiting the St. Lawerence Seaway twice, competing in the 1982 SORC, Newport to Bermuda race, Antigua race week, and in total sailing over 14,000 miles on that boat.  Significant time was spent in boatyards like Derector / Gunnell in New York and Florida, Newport Offshore in Rhode Island, and Miami Shipyard outfitting and refitting. Later that year I crewed  on a boat named "Boomerang" owned by Mr. George Comentarous racing on Long Island Sound. Returning to Florida, I became captain of a 62' Alden named "Independent" for Mr John G. O'Hara, sailing in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.  In 1984 I relocated to San Diego and resumed a career as a boatbuilder, and began my own company, James Thomas Yacht Services, performing repairs, restorations and modifications and managing boats locally. Weekends were spent racing up and down the southern California coast and Mexico on all types of boats from one designs to old Americas Cup 12 meter yachts like "Stars and Stripes 86" and "Heart of America". In 1986-1988 I was hired to work in the aerospace industry for Composite Optics in San Diego, where I was subcontracted to build advanced composite structures to orbit Earth and Mars, most noteably I was the lead technician to build the carbon fiber structure which housed the Mars Observer Telescope, and successfully mapped the planet. I returned to boatbuiling and in 1993  I was hired to outfit and skipper a Tayana 55' on the east coast for wordwide cruising, beginning in the Bahammas and Florida. Two seasons were spent in the Carribean and as far south as Venezuela, visiting many ports and over 30 islands, at which point I had accumulated a total of approximatly 45,000 miles at sea. The following 20 years I continued my business in the marine service industry refitting and maintaining yachts in San Diego, utilizing extensive experience in wood and advanced composite construction. Other former journeyman skill levels include; precision machinist and toolmaker, and advanced composite and aerospace assembly technician. As a current member of the National Association Marine Surveyors (NAMS) and former member of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and National Fire Protection Agentcy (NFPA), I support and adhere to the standards and recommendations they have established.
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James E. Thomas Marine Surveyor