I grew up in Texas around the water and around boats since I could walk. Then my father went middle aged crazy in the 60’s and bought a Snark, and then a Skylark, an Alpha and a Sound Interclub sailboat (along with a Jensen Healey roadster, but that’s another story). And then he bought one of the first trailerable Catalina 22’s. I didn’t realize then that sailing would become a big part of my life.
I really got into sailing spirit after college by joining a Catalina 27 as crew and ended up racing every other weekend for three years. This experience was an eye-opening revelation about the challenge and joy of sailing. We did pretty well and enjoyed going around the buoys, but late at night on the lake during some of the races, we would dream about really sailing in the ocean some day.
While visiting the Dallas boat show in 1985, with my wife, the Catalina 27 owner and my best friend, we came across a brand new Morgan 43 going into charter in St. Thomas. The four of us looked at each other and, remembering these dreams, said “Let’s go for it”. That first charter really changed my life. My wife and I chartered for the next 15 years in the BVI’s, the Grenadines, Greece, and Tahiti. We sailed different boats with family and friends as we built up our confidence and improved our skills.
My life changed in the late 90’s as the electronics assembly industry and hence my career of 30 years was basically shipped to China. I got frustrated looking for something to do so I went to the local Dallas sailboat dealer and hung around until he gave me a job cleaning boats. It was hard work but it was also the start of a new vocation. I soon switched to selling, going to dealer meetings and working the boat shows. The dealer sold boats from Prams to the largest Hunters, from Prindles to Corsairs. We had a sailboat to fit anybody that walked in the door. My wife and I also purchased our own Catalina 27 which filled a need but also rekindled our itch to have a bigger boat and go sailing on the ocean.
Then four things happened. 1) I crewed a delivery from St. Augustine to Mystic on the Hunter HC50! 2) I got my ASA instructor certification and began teaching on my Catalina. 3) We found the boat of our dreams. And 4) we decided that, to go sailing the ocean, we should be close to the ocean. We chose Miami, and brought our boat south 1200 miles. I got my Captain’s license and began at Florida Yacht Charters & Sales in Miami. Now I get to do everything I like as a yacht broker, charter/delivery captain, instructor and owner. We have sailed Biscayne Bay, the Keys, the Bahamas, the Intercoastal and the west coast of Florida and are living our “Wildest Dream”, the name of our Caliber 47 LRC.
I have been able to help a lot of people achieve their own dreams, and in doing that have developed an understanding of what people want and what is important in a boat; what features are necessary and what are nice but optional. From an 8 foot sailing dinghy to a 34,000 pound ocean cruiser and all boats in between, it has been a great learning experience with many more to come.