Boats Are Like Golf Clubs

Spectator — May 2001

Spectator — May 2001

By Tom Fexas

Boats Are Like Golf Clubs

A Boat For Every Purpose.
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Larry Dunn, president of Royal Denship USA, is a wise man (sometimes he’s a wise guy, but that’s another story). Dunn has been around boats and boaters long enough to have a collection of great sea stories and is prone to glibly uttering boating truths without even knowing he has said something profound. During a conversation about different boats that we would like to own, he once said, “Boats are like golf clubs—different boats are needed for different purposes.” His point was that just as you would not attempt a long drive with a putter, you also would not try to cross the ocean in an express cruiser or tie up to some waterfront watering hole with a trawler.

Soon after Dunn said this, I scribbled down a note for my “Spectator” file. He was absolutely right! The way I see it, I would like to have-no, I need-no fewer than 11 boats, and yet here I am with only two (not including my dinghy). It is much the same story for me with cars, but cars are easier and cheaper to own and maintain than boats. Cars really do not demand much maintenance when lightly used, and safely tucked inside a garage they hardly deteriorate at all. I presently own seven cars, each acquired for a different reason and purpose. The same principle can be applied to houses and even wives (unless you are lucky enough to have a multitalented, all-purpose wife like I do). But I digress. As I said, I need 11 boats for 11 different reasons.

Truth be known, a deckboat is the ideal pleasurecraft for people who live on the water in Florida. I would say that 98 percent of all Florida cruising is day cruising. People with cruisers or blowboats or motoryachts docked behind their houses almost never use them. I need a deckboat because I need a boat that is instantly ready to use, a boat I can jump aboard, launch with the press of a button, start the engine, and be off.

A deckboat is fast and roomy and can go virtually anywhere in protected waters. As I have written before, the most-used area of any vessel is the flying bridge, and that’s why a deckboat makes so much sense. It is essentially a floating flying bridge. No need for galleys, sleeping cabins, saloons, or any of that nonsense (although a head is a necessity). I would have a deckboat behind my house today if manufacturers would make one my way. I want a 20-foot deckboat with twin waterjets, which, compared to outdrives, have virtually only two moving parts: the shaft and impeller. Just for the hell of it, since this kind of boat is already a “flat top,“ I’d add an angled, overhanging runway on one side (just like the Nimitz) so I could launch and land radio-controlled model airplanes.

Everyone needs at least one express cruiser. “Express cruiser” does not connote a particular type or style of boat. Rather, it is simply a fast cruiser, one that can run from harbor to harbor at a speed of at least 20 knots and provide all amenities needed for living aboard upon arrival. My Mikelson 43 is an ideal express cruiser. She is fast, roomy, and extremely comfortable to live aboard for extended periods of time.


Well, you probably think I need a sportfisherman for obvious reasons. But you’re wrong. I don't fish much, and in fact I think fishing is a rather boring pastime. No, I need a sportfisherman to cruise up and down the waterways and show off all my sportfishing stuff.

I need a boat so fearsome-looking I wouldn't even have to angle for fish-they’d simply die of fear when they see me. I need a 60-footer with 80-foot outriggers and a superstructure that looks like the combat information center of a destroyer, brisling with antennas. I need four $15,000 gold-plated fishing chairs in the cockpit and a pair of 1,800-hp engines for a top speed of 55 knots. Then I need a tuna tower on top of the flying bridge and two more tuna towers atop that.

Next page > Spectator continued > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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