Capt. Steve Creel's blog
I had been cooped up in an office for five years. So when I switched jobs and they asked me to take a brand new Grand Banks to South Seas Plantation for a rendezvous, I was pretty excited. The Grand Banks had no electronics—paper charts and visuals were a must. And I was eager but nervous; it had been a long time since I’d been out on coastal waters. I solicited the help of my good friend Debbie; she was pretty good handling lines and I’d soon have her reading charts like a pro!
In the early 2000s I found myself delivering quite a few boats along the Northern Gulf Coast; Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida to and from South Florida.
Bimini was a 1952 Harkers Island 43, repowered with a single 3208 CAT, natural of course. She would do about 12 knots at full throttle, a typical Gulf Coast charter boat in 1978, open deckhouse (no a/c), head, and a couple bunks forward, four mounted fishing chairs in the cockpit, and a flybridge. Engine access was center of the deckhouse, with bench seating port and starboard. Bimini and I would become intimate, even unknowingly going through a name change.
My client and eventual friend Jim purchased a new Grand Banks 36 from me in the late ’90s. He’d planned his entry into the boating lifestyle for years. He’d joined boating clubs and organizations. He’d read all the coastal boating publications. He’d gone to boat shows. He’d lived his entire life in a landlocked state so he felt it was in his best interest to be loaded with as much coastal cruising knowledge as he could take onboard.
So you want to be a yacht broker? Here’s a little taste from the captain’s archives.
It was a quiet day in 1986 at Hansen Marine in Sarasota, Florida. A baby-poop-brown Dodge Dart pulled into the parking lot. The driver, a 20-year-old kid, gets out dressed in a tank top, cut offs, white socks, and dirty sneakers. A fortyish-looking guy in black slacks, black silk shirt, black Gucci-like loafers, slick black hair, gold watch, gold neck chain, and black sunglasses exits the passenger side.
“What can we do for you today” I ask.
—Just Another Delivery For Our Intrepid Captain.
It was 2007, and I had recently returned home from a nine-month stint running a relief kitchen in Waveland, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina. I was asked by a fellow captain to deliver a Hinckley 36 from the Tampa area to Stuart, Florida. I eagerly took the delivery and asked my beautiful, dear friend Liz to join me.
My friends refer to me as a hurricane magnet. Consider, for example, the years 2004 and 2005. I was living and working in southwest Florida in 2004 when Charley, Frances, and Jean came to visit. Then I moved to south Alabama to work with another yacht company in the fall of 2004, only to have Ivan partially destroy the marina we were moving into, so plans for the move were postponed. Shortly after opening a temporary office in Orange Beach, Alabama in 2005, Arlene came to town.
Yeah, we’ve all complained about those pesky combo washer/dryers that started showing up in all type of vessels in the mid 1980s. These machines are supposed to do everything except fluff and fold. But the truth is you leave Pine Island, cruise to Key West, spend a couple of days then head to Ft. Lauderdale, cross over to West End, spend three days and return to Stuart, Florida and those damn Levis and that long sleeve cotton “T” you picked up at Ragged Ass Saloon are still damp!
A tool not often written about but that has multiple uses is the heat gun. A word of warning though: If you struggle with a screwdriver, pliers, duct tape, and spray lubricant, stop reading. The heat gun is a great tool, but can totally ruin your day if not handled with care. Should you choose to add it to your boat toolbox, take the time to learn how to use it.