Video: Local sailboat builder close to finishing 20-year project

About twenty years ago, Northfielder Rob Martin (Rob Martin Insurancy Agency) hoped to build a 43-foot steel sailboat from scratch in three to five years in a lumber yard in Dundas, even though he had no prior boat-building experience. The process wound up taking a bit longer than that. Today, the vessel is about two years away from completion. Martin agreed to a video interview next to some of his boats while giving a small tour.

Rob Martin’s sailboat in Dundas, Minn. from Bonnie Obremski on Vimeo.


  1. kiffi summa said:

    I was absolutely speechless … yes, I was … when I watched this little video.
    When Victor and I first moved to Northfield, 1994-5, this was being built under a structure in the property across from Code’s lumberyard, by the abandoned school building.
    The abandoned school and the boat, which as I recall was just a hull at that time, all looked like a forgotten dream.
    I always wondered about the boat, and whose project it was, and now seeing the beautifully crafted interior, I am reminded of a poem… I don’t remember the words exactly, or who wrote it, but it’s something like this: Life is but a dream; don’t let dreams die… or life’s but a broken-winged bird that cannot fly .

    My excuses to the poet I couldn’t quite accurately quote; My congratulations to Rob Martin on building his dream.

    March 21, 2009
  2. Rob Martin said:

    Kiffi, thank you for the poem and your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

    March 23, 2009
  3. Beth Stempinski said:


    You are a man of many talents. I didn’t know you were building this boat, but have enjoyed our political discussions. When you finish it, can Jerry and I get a ride on Lake Superior? I would love it. Say hi to wife.


    March 25, 2009

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