Kootenay Mountain Boats

Kootenay Mountain Boats

Where: Nelson, BC

Year Established: 2022

Website: mountainboats.ca

Owner: Jean-Francois Hardy

I build small, eco-friendly SCAMP sailboats ideally suited to overnight lake or coastal exploration. These nimble yet rugged boats are propelled by sail, oar, or electric drive, depending on wind and weather conditions.

Give us a brief description of your manufacturing processes and philosophy.

Every Kootenay Mountain Boat is hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind, built with input from its future captain. I use only responsibly-sourced, marine-grade plywood paired with locally-milled Douglas fir for spars, masts, and other components. My goal with every build is to create a sailboat that is as pleasing to the eye as it is functional, and with as light a carbon footprint in its manufacturing process as in its intended use.

How many employees and/or contractors do you work with?

I typically work with two types of contractors: CNC shops and fine woodworkers.

What brought you to the Kootenays and how long have you been here?

I was drawn to the Kootenays for probably the same reasons as so many others: pace of life, quality of outdoor recreation, and quality of people living here. My wife and I have been living in Nelson since 2017. Prior to that, we lived in Boulder, Colorado, but my family is originally from Quebec.

Tell us about the history and relative work experience of your founder(s).

I come at this from a completely non-linear path. Following an adventurous childhood living throughout Africa, I graduated from university with a B.Sc. in Biology but quickly switched to a career in photojournalism. I then moved to computer sciences, and spent the better part of the last two decades as a software architect. While I’ve designed and built things for most of my life as a hobby, this is the first commercial foray as a manufacturer of anything physical.

Describe the mission, vision, goals, and aspirations of your company.

After several years of sailing Kootenay Lake and the British Columbia coastline, I began yearning for a different kind of vessel—one that would allow me to explore the nooks and crannies that traditional sailboats can’t reach. I wanted something beachable and light, like a kayak, but with the range offered by sail and electric propulsion. I couldn’t find anything that met my requirements, and thus Kootenay Mountain Boats was born. I aspire to meld classic boat-building design with the latest technology to create a completely new class of exploration vessels.