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History of Caldwell Marine Designs

Jim Caldwell, the mastermind behind Caldwell Marine Designs, pioneered the creation of the first offshore tunnel boat that could reach speeds of 112 mph. Remarkably, this 33-foot vessel was driven by a singular 600 HP engine.

Establishing CMD (Caldwell Marine Designs) in 1985, his 3-year-old son, Pete, became a familiar presence at the firm. By 1989, Jim's talents were further recognized when he became a member of the Industrial Design Society.

A unique opportunity emerged for Jim when a Saudi Prince sought a 100-foot boat design with the capability of achieving 100 knots. However, the turbulent times of the Gulf War coupled with trade constraints meant this ambitious project never saw the light of day.

1991 marked another significant milestone. Richard Branson, the mogul behind Virgin Mobile, approached Jim to construct the 70 Magnum for him. The following year, 1992, proved even more eventful. Jim's innovative vision led him to design the first stepped hull boats for Reggie Fountain. This groundbreaking concept propelled Fountain Powerboats to the forefront, establishing them as the premier name in racing, as well as race-inspired fishing and pleasure vessels.


In 1996, buoyed by his groundbreaking designs, Jim became a member of the Society of Naval Architects. That same year, a young Pete Caldwell, only 14 at the time, began his foray into the world of marine design by joining the Tooling department of Fountain Powerboats. By 1999, Pete's expertise led him to Contender in Homestead, FL, where he took on boat rigging responsibilities. In a swift move, by 2000, Caldwell Design & Fabrication commenced manufacturing niche parts for renowned names such as Sea Ray, World Cat, Grady White, and Donzi Marine.

Donzi's ZR & ZRC hull models and prototypes, pioneered back then, remain influential in the industry. By 2006, Pete returned to Fountain, stepping up as a Supervisor overseeing key areas such as Lamination, Grinding, Mating, and Detailing.

The momentum continued. In 2011, Pete assumed the role of Lamination Supervisor at Hatteras Yachts in New Bern, NC. Demonstrating his exceptional skills, he was elevated to the position of Production Manager within a year. By 2013, Pete resumed operations at Caldwell Marine Fabrication, situated near Grady White. However, his expertise was quickly noticed, leading to his recruitment as the Composites Manager at Ski Nautique. In 2017, the Iconic Marine Group, which acquired brands like Fountain, Donzi, and Baja, invited Pete to manage their composites.

Subsequently, Pete found himself returning to the foundational premises of his father, Jim. As demand surged, the space soon proved inadequate. Recognizing the need for expansion, Pete relocated to a more expansive facility in Washington, NC. Here, under his astute leadership, vessels like Sea Cat and select models from Iconic Marine took shape.

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