FYI: April 2005 Page 2

FYI — April 2005
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: John Q. Boater, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With... Al Genduso, and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A Word With... Al Genduso
A master woodworker for more than 35 years, Al Genduso has applied his talents to a variety of boats at the refit and restoration yard of Rybovich Spencer located in West Palm Beach, Florida, since 1991. With stints at Broward Marine and Burger Boat Company also under his belt, he’s worked on everything from 80-year-old Trumpys to the latest custom-built battlewagons. PMY recently talked to Genduso about his life as a marine woodworker.

Q: How did you land in this business?
A: I got a degree in music education in 1972 and realized it wasn’t going to get me a job. One day I was driving to an interview when I saw a “Help Wanted” sign at Broward Marine. Woodworking had always been a hobby, so I stopped by. They made me an apprentice carpenter. That’s how it all started, and I’ve never looked back.

Q: What do you like most about your work?
A: I get tremendous satisfaction from a job completed. I mean, when it’s the middle of summer and it’s 140 degrees working down in the trenches, that’s not a lot of fun. But to see the owners happy with our work, to be able to say, “I helped make that happen,” that’s the real pay in this job.

Q: How is working with boats different from other jobs you’ve had?
A: Well, the boating industry is the last place in the world where we can work our trade and really let it shine. I worked for a few years on wood architecture in houses, but I couldn’t stand it. Everything was about cutting corners and doing it cheap. Boaters aren’t like that. They appreciate the beauty of an ornate spiral staircase or perfectly crafted cabinetry. I have to work with boats. Once you’re in this trade and it’s in your blood, you can’t ever leave it.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Actually, I’m learning how to build and repair violins. I’m also taking lessons to learn how to play. I really enjoy it. About six years ago I was sitting in church, amazed, listening to the chamber music. I de­cided I wanted to learn the violin—you’re never too old to take on a new hobby. It’s a slow process, but I love it.
I guess you could say that I finally got around to using that music degree.

School of Hard Rocks
A 50-foot wave has given new meaning to the term student enrollment.

In January a Semester at Sea research boat was about 650 miles south of Adak, Alaska, only a few days out of port, when the 591-footer encountered gale-force winds and very high seas. Then, in the early morning of January 26, a giant wave smashed into Explorer and shattered her bridge windows, damaged her controls, and disabled three of her four engines. The ship—with 990 passengers aboard, two-thirds of whom were students—was left reeling in the darkness.

The crew quickly alerted the Coast Guard, reporting that miraculously only two people has sustained minor injuries. “The North Pacific Ocean is nasty this time of year,” explains a Coast Guard spokesman. “[Explorer] was hit by a unique wave caused by the weather system.”

Fortunately, the Explorer’s crew was able to repair one engine and regain control of the ship before the Coast Guard arrived. Students were able to call their worried families on satellite phones.

The ship was on the first leg of her around-the-world tour and was en route from Vancouver, Canada, to South Korea. The damage necessitated a change in itinerary, however, and the boat headed for Honolulu for repairs.

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 > John Q. Boater, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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