FYI: February 2004 Page 2

FYI — February 2004
By Brad Dunn
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: What a Re-Reef, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With.., and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A Word With... Capt. Gloria Borrego
Growing up in California, Capt. Gloria Borrego knew early on that boating was the lifestyle for her. After studying mechanical and electrical engineering, she became a marine electronics guru sought after by top builders of both power- and sailboats. Among her accomplishments, she recently oversaw the construction of the first luxury boat ever built in Vietnam. PMY talked to Borrego about the challenges of working in a communist country.

Q: First, why did you decide to become an engineering and electronics expert?
A: I fell in love with engines early. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an auto mechanic. Boating became more important to me, and after studying as much as I could, I got a break and was offered a job as engineer on a 110-footer in Fort Lauderdale. The captain was this great old guy who had actually served as the chief engineer on the Queen Mary. I learned a lot in school, but he taught me the real stuff.

Q: Why were you chosen to oversee the construction of an 80-foot, steel-hulled cruiser in Vietnam?
A: Well, I gained a reputation for being able to design all sorts of onboard systems under all sorts of conditions. I’m kind of known as a little MacGyver. One day I was approached about a project in Ho Chi Minh City. I couldn’t turn it down; it was just too interesting.

Q: What were your impressions of the country?
A: Well, for one thing, I’m short and everyone was my height. I loved that. The workers were extremely nice. No one in Vietnam had ever done this before. They were very excited.

Q: Did everything go according to schedule?
A: Not even close. First of all, there’s no satellite communications there. It was very difficult to communicate with the owners, the naval architect, and the suppliers. And then you’re not allowed to import foreign electronics, which was a nightmare. They open all packages at the post office to make sure the items are legal. We were constantly paying extra fees to get things through customs.

Q: Sounds like a lot of hurdles.
A: Oh yeah. Another big hassle was trying to buy tools and spare parts. To get a simple transistor, I had to search the bazaars just to find some guy in the back of a tent who had the right part. It was quite an experience, though, and in the end the boat came together just fine.

Q: What are you up to now?
A: I’m living in Key West and just started my own business called GloTechnologies. My service involves technical documentation of all systems on a boat. I specialize in tracing it all out. Then I create manuals with digital imaging and put it on a CD-ROM. It eases the learning curve when new crew and owners take over a boat. Basically, I’m doing what I love to do.

Total Recall
These days recalls are not only for aspirin, SUVs, and California governors. Unfortunately, sometimes they’re also for boats.

Before you buy your dream cruiser on eBay, check out a new Web site funded by the feds to help warn boaters. The site is, and the information is as good as gold. You can click on “Recall Database” and get a complete list of recreational boats that have been deemed unfit for use over the years for a variety of reasons.

You can also read about boating safety concerns related to hundreds of marine products as reported by the Coast Guard, or access the Manufacturers Identification Code (MIC) Database if you would like to find information on any piece of equipment sold in the United States or Canada.

Of course, if, like voters in the Golden State, you don’t like what’s out there, you can help ensure that it gets removed. The site lets you report any defect you’ve discovered with any boat or nautical gear and register it with the Coast Guard.

Previous page > What a Re-Reef, and more > Page 1, 2

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

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