THOMASTON – Cabot Lyman’s wispy white hair creeps out from under a faded red baseball cap. He wears sunglasses, a navy-blue sweat shirt, khaki shorts and sandals. His face is tanned, if not slightly weathered.

Lyman is standing in the sun outside the headquarters of his company, Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, recalling the three years he sailed through the Mediterranean Sea with his wife, Heidi.

The couple, in their 20s at the time, didn’t have much money, but lived well thanks to the overseas strength of the U.S. dollar.

They traveled from port to port, observers to Europe’s counterculture movement.

“To be young American kids in the late 1960s in Europe was awesome,” said Lyman, 67, who lives in Cushing.

Raised in Dover, Mass., Lyman has sailed since he was a kid and ran charter boats as a young man.

After college, he took to the sea, navigating with a sextant across oceans and throughout the Caribbean. He’s also circumnavigated the globe and visited remote South Pacific ports, like Pago Pago in American Samoa.

Lyman and his wife eventually settled in Vermont, but later moved to Maine to be closer to the ocean.

In 1978 he purchased Morse Boatbuilding Co., which was about to close its doors. He renamed the company Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding and began converting lobster boat hulls into high-end yachts.

Today, the company earns nearly $20 million in annual revenue and employs 90 staffers, including Lyman’s 33-year-old son, Drew, and 37-year-old son, Zach. A third son, Alex, also 37, works as a graphic designer in San Francisco.

In the last 30 years, Lyman-Morse has launched around 100 boats, including sailboats meant to cross oceans and motor yachts up to 94 feet long.

Lyman said all that work is a natural offshoot of his life’s passion.

“The basis of all of this,” he said, referring to his 10-acre operation in Thomaston, “is our sailing experience.”

Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:

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