Congratulations to our neighbors to the north, Dave and Don Young, brothers who were looking to tag team on a boat test. They are the PMY "I Want to Test a Boat" winners. Allegedly, they're both experienced boaters: Dave has skippered charter vessels, and Don is a lifelong dock rat, doing everything from pumping gas and working on motors to selling bait and boats. Dave wrote the letter and volunteered his wordsmith skills as long as Don did the boat driving, because, as Dave says, "[I] should only perform dockings of larger vessels in the presence of a fiberglasser." They almost didn't make the cut after Dave revealed he wrote Don's 12th-grade essay on Ernest Hemingway—you can't cheat when it comes to Papa! But after their mother called and said they were grounded for two weeks and promised they'd never cheat again, we decided to give them a second chance. Kidding aside, the brothers just edged out contestant Patricia Tikkala, whose poetic plea nearly brought tears to our eyes. (It also could've been the dust from the electricians working over the desks in our new office.)
Now stay tuned, as the brothers Young will soon perform their PMY duty under the tutelage of a bona-fide PMY boat-testing guru.
While the Young brothers beat out 64 other participants, 15 of whom were licensed captains, many entry letters like Tikkala's were intriguing, intelligent, or just plain fun to read, and it made the judging difficult. A number of late entries might have turned the tide had their authors (or maybe the U.S. Postal Service) been more prompt. But don't be dismayed if you didn't win this time. We have decided to make this an annual contest, so start working on your entry for next year. (Hint: If you can make us laugh or don't take yourself too seriously, you'll have an edge.)
Here are some honorable mentions from the 2007 PMY "I Want to Test a Boat" contest.
Let's hear it for Webster, New York's own Bruno Sniders, who informed us he's happily "not wanted, nor needed in any of the 50 states," a quality we look for in all of our boat testers. His 15 years of boating on Lake Ontario is impressive, but we're curious to know exactly how he "learned to respect the depthfinder." Methinks there's a story he ain't tellin'. Perhaps it's how he wound up moving from a 20-footer to his current 31-footer? In spite of the fact that Sniders didn't win, his entry captured the spirit of everything a boat tester should be: fun, adventurous, experienced, and almost as photogenic as we are...almost.
Mary Ann and Gary Yocum
You gotta love a couple who names their Sea Ray 410 Sundancer Whatever She Wants and their Zodiac tender What He Got. The Florida-based Yocums were tough competitors, with 25 years of experience and a sense of humor about boating and life in general. As they wrote, "Despite the fact that [we] both grew up in Kentucky, [we] do own and usually wear shoes." We'll keep that in mind for next year.
Capt. Mark Tripi
"You get paid to test boats?" opened Capt. Tripi's letter. He then added that if we loved boats as much as he does, we should pay for the privilege like he would. While we admired Tripi's enthusiasm (and cash offer)—as a fellow Long Islander, I was really pulling for him—we just couldn't let a bribe affect the judging process. (Hint: Try offering bills with nonsequential serial numbers.)
Leigh and Nanci Breeze
We really had high hopes for this duo; they even had the perfect last name. But then Leigh disclosed the fact they managed to put a 42 Grand Banks aground near Beef Island, Tortola. Leigh claims he was mixing drinks below decks, "while my chartering buddy was at the wheel." Man, if I had a dime...He says that's the only little blemish on an otherwise untarnished 40-year boating career. That may be, but sorry to say, Leigh, our legal department got a hold of your letter before we did. No ICW for you two.
See below and on the following pages to read more finalists' letters.
This article originally appeared in the July 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.