BEAUFORT, N.C. – A NASCAR driver is taking a break from racing around the track to work on getting some speed on the water.
Jeff Burton is building a custom speedboat with Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a Beaufort company.
"When you build a custom boat, it's a tremendous amount of work because every single part on it you have a say. So there's a lot of choices to make," Burton said.
Burton is looking for a family friendly boat with lots of room – and architect Gary Davis is working to make that happen. He says the boat has some unique features, like a pod driving system.
"The engine basically goes under the cockpit, so it opens up space that would normally be engine room," Davis said. "That becomes living quarters so it really expands what you can do."
Jarrett Bay is also allowing everyone to keep track of the build. Every day, a time lapse camera takes a photo to document the progress.
"I just think it's fascinating watching something being built, people doing it by their hand. I mean this boat is hand-built," Burton said. "Every piece on it is touched by people."
That craftsmanship is why Burton says he wanted his boat made in North Carolina.
"Any time you're talking about a custom fishing boat, Carolina comes to mind. And there's where you want to do it is North Carolina," Burton said. "I knew the best craftsmen were here."
The Beaufort company's president says a high-profile customer like Burton does a lot for the boat-building industry, which has struggled in the recession.
"I think it's big not only for our company but for our industry," Jarrett Bay President Randy Ramsey said. "It's drawing more attention to the craftsmanship that's available right at our back door."