The Sailmaker Bill Fastiggi creates custom sails on lake champlain. Photographed by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.
Bill Fastiggi, a renowned racer who grew up sailing on Malletts Bay, is the only custom sailmaker working on Lake Champlain.
As a craftsman, Fastiggi’s knowledge of his product flows from a lifetime of involvement in sailing and seafaring.
His company, Vermont Sailing Partners (Fastiggi and a crew of two, sometimes three), makes sails for all kinds of sailboats, from well-appointed, 50-foot cruising boats to sleek race boats stripped of all comforts for the sake of speed. Fastiggi’s sails are not made to compete with the cheapest products on the market. Buying sails online at a discount means there may be no guarantee about the type of fabric used, and if the sail doesn’t fit, or doesn't hold up, buyers can be stuck.
To be sure, Fastiggi could have worked places with more traffic and bigger yachts, but like many who put down roots in Vermont, the decision to be here wasn't based purely on economics. He was drawn by the combination of family ties and the relatively unsung 125-mile-long Lake Champlain that offers world-class boating and can kick up conditions worthy of a permanent U.S. Coast Guard presence.
“Lake Champlain is a phenomenal place to sail. Certainly sailing conditions-wise, it’s better than Long Island Sound [and] Chesapeake Bay, which are well-thought-of sailing areas. ... In general, this is one of the best places to sail.”
— Bill Fastiggi