The Breadth and Depth
Tiffany Yachts of the Northern Neck is most well-known for building their custom namesake-- the ‘Tiffany Yacht.’ Most people assume that this is all that they do or the only kind of boat that they work on, but that is far from the truth. The family-owned business is a full-service marine yard, servicing power and sail vessels of all makes and models.
One of their most recent projects was providing scheduled maintenance to The Godspeed of the historic Jamestown Settlement. The work included painting all of the exterior surfaces, varnishing the bowsprit and three masts, along with any other repairs needed at the time.
Their in-depth knowledge of how a boat is put together makes projects like these easy to accommodate, while their experience and resources allow them to tackle non-boat related jobs as well. For example, the landmark corkscrews outside of The Dog & Oyster Vineyard are their workmanship. They have also been of service to the Tiki Bar & Grill at Windmill Point and the Tech Mobile for the Northumberland Library.
People are also surprised to learn that they have a fully stocked ship store. If for some reason, something isn’t available at the time of your visit, most items can be received the next day.
Randy Cockrell and Becky Jones are the children of the late Tiffany Cockrell. He formed this business with his father Odis C.W. Cockrell when they began building Chesapeake deadrise workboats in 1934. The boat models and styles evolved but yachts have been the primary focus since the seventies.
They attribute their success to their family pride. Everyone is close and so it makes working together that much easier and productive. Combine that with their experience and history; there is a lot to be proud of, as Laura Shackleford, Becky’s daughter, and Taylor Cockrell, Randy’s son, continue this legacy into the fourth generation.
The pride doesn’t stop there, though. Randy beams when he talks about building boats. That’s the part of his job that he loves the most. The construction of each boat is unique but it also takes years to build just one of them. A relationship is also built with their customers throughout this time. Many of them become friends and even repeat customers. –Several have come back for their third custom boat.
Randy is proud that all of the work is done by hand; nothing is contracted out or sent away. So it’s not uncommon to see customers from Maryland, DC, or even farther away. Laura beams when she thinks about this region and being able to show it off. “Being out on the water is a great experience. In our area, some of the most beautiful aspects of it are only seen by boat” says Laura. She would love to see the community support boating more by bridging people into this industry through things like the ‘Go Boating’ initiative. “Our goal is to help boaters enjoy their time on the water” adds Becky Jones.
One of the challenges of being in this industry is that when the economy takes a downturn, boats are one of the first things that people stop spending money on. Because of their tenure in this profession, they have learned, for the most part, how to make it work.
During the last recession, Randy credits Chesapeake Bank with helping them get through that period. “It means a lot that they have stuck with us in hard times. We’ve been with them for over forty years and hope to be with them another forty-something more.”