Story and Photos by Tim Seibert
George Luzier, now in his 90s, is one of the most famous boat builders in
the state, if not in the country. He currently still has a shop in
Sarasota, but is basically retired. Some of the boats he built are
still roaming the Pass today. This is one man’s recollection of Luzier.
My father, a naval officer and amateur boat designer, taught me to sail aboard a Herreshoff S Class
sloop when I was about 6. I have owned several boats of my father’s design, a small catboat of
my boyhood and a 20-foot daysailer. He wrote a book, “How to Design Small Sailboats,” which
is still being read today. When I was 30 I started an architectural office in Sarasota, Florida, where my family
had settled after the navy. My new practice required endless hard work, but I was free to take time off to
sail when I wanted to, since I was my own boss.
Because of my flexible work schedule I was able to crew on offshore races. I learned a lot from a number
of deep water sailors who were very good at making boats sail fast. One cold winter night on watch,
going to weather in the Gulfstream and feeling a bit queasy, I realized that the part of these offshore races
that I really enjoyed most was sailing the boat to the races or back home. It was that night I decided to
build a shoal draft boat for exploring the peaceful bayous, coves and barrier islands along the Southwest
There had never been a question about who would build my dreamboat. George Luzier and I had been
friends since high school days. We both kept our boats in Hudson Bayou and sailed in Sarasota Bay. George
was building boats even back then and except for some years sailing as a mate on tankers, he has been
building boats ever since. He had already built two boats for me, my daysailer, the Lotus and a dinghy.
July/August 2018 GASPARILLA ISLAND 53