A Word With...
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
your most memorable project?
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.
it like running a company side-by-side with your wife?
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?
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
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:
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