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FYI: December 2004 Page 2

FYI — December 2004
By Brad Dunn
   
 
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Extra! Extra!, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With... Capt. John Pettengill, and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A Word With… Capt. John Pettengill
This year marks Capt. John Pettengill’s 40th anniversary as a helmsman on New Hampshire’s largest body of water, Lake Winnipesaukee. After piloting some of the lake’s smaller tour boats, the veteran engineer, navigator, and all-around mariner took the helm of the 230-foot M/S Mount Washington, a popular dinner boat, in 1988. PMY recently caught up with the captain to discuss his love of running the Mount.

Q: You’ve been senior captain on this boat for 16 years, but I understand your history with her goes much further back than that.
A: I first set foot on the Mount when I was nine years old. One of the crew was kind enough to show me the engine room and wheelhouse. It made quite an impression. I knew then that I’d be working on boats the rest of my life.

Q: Is the Mount the same now as she was back then?
A: At heart, she’s always been the same. But we’ve gone through a lot of refitting. In the early ’80’s, we cut her in half and added a 24-foot section. I oversaw that process. But when you know a ship as well as I know the Mount, you tend to see her as the same old boat, despite the up­dates.

Q: Have you had many notable guests over the years?
A: We had the elder George Bush aboard when he was vice president. Secret Service was out here for a week before that, checking every inch of the boat. When he came aboard I showed him up to the wheelhouse. He was an extremely gracious guest. Bob Dole came aboard once, too. Both of them were very down-to-earth. Their “pleases” and “thank yous” went a long way. We also had that kid [Doug McKeon] from On Golden Pond aboard one time. I was thrilled be­cause I love that movie, and the real Golden Pond isn’t far from here.

Q: How do you keep your job fresh?
A: I don’t have to. I’ve never been bored in 40 years. At various times I’m a carpenter, welder, plumber, and electrician. The maintenance never ends. And during summer and fall, I love being at the helm.

Q: What do you enjoy the most?
A: When I see some kid outside at the rail, and go up and say, “Would you like to see the wheelhouse?” Their eyes get as big as saucers. That’s what someone did for me once, and there’s nothing like giving it back.

Boater Seeks Boater
“You love moonlight cruises, classic teak and holly, and the sound of 700-hp Cats in your engine room. I have a queen berth, Ultraleather, and I’ll take you to 35 knots without even trying. Call me.”

If you’re single, enjoy the water, and are looking for that special boater, there’s a place on the Internet where you’re practically guaranteed to meet someone who shares your passion. It’s called www.boatdating.com.

“It was very easy to screen people,” says Maryann, a New York City boat-lover who prefers not to give her last name. “I met a really great guy who took me out on his boat, and we had a blast.”

Launched in August by Ricky Beaman and Imma Giocoli, Boatdating.com lets you set up a profile that lists your background, interests, and the kind of relationship you’re looking for, be it a long-term romance or a one-time fishing buddy. The site currently offers a free 30-day membership; after that it’s $14.95 per month.

“We wanted to give boaters an easier way to connect than by hanging around the docks,” Beaman says.

Though the site initially targeted boaters near Long Island Sound, it has expanded across the country and now claims an average of about 1,000 unique visitors a day.

For her part, Maryann fore­sees more encounters with her first Boatdating.com date. “I’ll definitely be seeing him again,” she says. “He is going to teach me how to fish!”

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: eileen.mansfield@primedia.com. No phone calls, please.

Next page > Extra! Extra!, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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