Spectator — March 2001
By Tom Fexas
Strangers on the Docks
|Close encouters of the productive kind.|
"Where do clients come from?" is a question commonly asked by aspiring/perspiring yacht designers. While I would like to say that clients are drawn to us by our outstanding promotional programs, I am forced to admit that fate more often than not brings an architect and client together. Chance encounters on the docks have led to great things for me in the past. Here are a few standouts.
So I was hanging around a boat at the Miami boat show one day when I was approached by a good-looking, square-headed surfer dude. He said his name was Dick Peterson and he was the guy selling the Fexas 42 on the West Coast. I tried hard to dislike the guy. I really did. However, his golly-gee-whiz attitude and sincerity overwhelmed me, just as it has hundreds of clients to whom he has since sold boats. How could I sue this nice guy who was so enthusiastic about one of our designs?
We walked and talked. Soon afterwards Mikelson Yachts was born, and the Fexas 42 became the Mikelson 42. End of problem. Beginning of a long relationship. That encounter on the docks has resulted in 12 new designs and a bunch of good West Coast friends. Today Mikelson is a major player on the West Coast and fast making inroads on the East Coast.
HONG KONG CONNECTION
From that chance encounter has grown a long and close relationship between Cheoy Lee and our office. The 48-foot Cheoy Lee Sportfish (our first design for the builder) was introduced in 1980. Since then we have done 31 designs for Cheoy Lee and are presently working on new ones.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.