FYI: April 2004 Page 2

FYI — April 2004
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Cuban Cruisin’, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With... Buddy Purcell, and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A Word With... Buddy Purcell
A lifelong boater and boatbuilder, Buddy Purcell has run Huckins Yachts for the last 34 years with his wife Cindy, who is the granddaughter of the company’s founder. As the Jacksonville, Florida, builder celebrated its 75th, anniversary last year, the family’s fourth generation joined the ranks: Field Purcell, 25, is now learning the trade from her parents. PMY recently spoke with Buddy about the family business.

Q: When did you first start tinkering with boats?
A: It all began with my father. He brought me up in the right way, because he loved to boat, but he loved working on boats even more. I remember our first 22-foot Chris-Craft; he had me working on it every summer. It was hard, but I learned a lot and loved every moment of it. The thrill of it stayed with me. Now I’m a full-fledged adult, and I still work on boats all day.

Q: What’s your most memorable project?
A: One of the nicest boats I ever worked on was a pre-war Trumpy Mathis called Flying Lady. She was well-maintained for her age, but she had been redecorated so much by all the different owners over the years, she lost her original charm. The new owner wanted a full restoration. It was amazing: We started scraping off paint in the saloon and found the original walnut underneath. We also uncovered these beautiful, ornate reflectors around the lights. We brought her back to her former glory. It’s those little details that stay in your mind.

Q: What’s it like running a company side-by-side with your wife?
A: Well, the best part is whenever I get in trouble, I just say, “She owns it.” Seriously, it’s a rewarding partnership. I don’t think it’s for everybody. In fact, even though we’ve been married 30 years, we usually tell people it’s more like 60, because of the amount of time we spend together.

The key is a balance of personalities. Cindy is very direct and focused; I am very laid-back. I think you need both to run a business. Above all else, you have to keep your sense of humor.

Q: When your work is done, where do you personally like to cruise?
A: We’re lucky to live in Jacksonville, where we have the St. Johns River and the Barrier Islands nearby. We have a 40-foot Huckins Ortega, built in 1950. We usually take her up one of the creeks, drop anchor, and enjoy just being out on the water.

Anchored to the Past
Did King Herod lose an anchor in the Dead Sea more than 2,000 years ago? That’s what one scientist hopes.

In January Israeli archeologist Gideon Hadas announced his discovery of a Roman-era wooden anchor in the Dead Sea, according to the Associated Press. The six-foot-tall anchor has been preserved over the millennia by the water’s high salt and mineral content.

Though he has no proof of the anchor’s original owner, Hadas would like to believe it was from a royal yacht of King Herod, the biblical leader who ruled Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth. The age of the discovery roughly aligns with the period, and only a few people were powerful enough to command such a ship.

“It is unlikely the ailing king traveled all the way around through the harsh desert by donkey,” Hadas was quoted as saying. “He would probably have gone by boat.”

A team of archeologists hauled the anchor out of the Dead Sea on a special sled and transferred it to nearby Kibbutz Ein Gedi, where they will attempt to pinpoint its age and possible origins.

Got an interesting boating story for this column? Write to FYI, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: No phone calls, please.

Next page > Cuban Cruisin’, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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