Let’s try it and see what happens.
Lives in: Key largo, Florida
Sketch: Trane’s great-grandfather founded the company that might have made your air conditioner. Reuben also won an award for creating Manhattan Melody, a comedy about a bicycle thief.
You’ve heard the expression “thinking outside of the box.” Well, Trane is the kind of guy who doesn’t even acknowledge there is a box. He looks at boats and boating with an eye unhindered by what should be.
“I think of the kind of boats I’d like,” he once told me, “and build them for everyone else.” Not everyone thinks like Trane.
He came out of Columbia University with a Master of Fine arts, got into filmmaking and then made a quick and unlikely transition into boatbuilding. His first foray was an odd collection of slab-sided sailboats. He then turned to power. Wanting a floating home for himself, he came up with the Florida Bay Coasters, a range of steel “personal freighters” that had the comfort of a condo with the salty looks of a tramp steamer. The Coasters even came with their own jeeps that could be hoisted on board with a crane.
There’s also been a series of trawler types, culminating in his recent Island Pilot series. But now he’s taken on the biggest leap yet — into the future, with the DSe Hybrid. When fuel prices went through the roof in 2006, he wanted the most fuel-efficient boat possible and thought others would too. His radical solution uses solar panels with a diesel/electric system on catamaran hulls more suited to sailboats for the lowest possible drag at 10 mph. As with all of Trane’s boats, its looks are...well, let’s say it’s an acquired taste. But it has an undeniable character, like Trane himself.
For more innovations check out the Game Changers photo gallery.