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FYI: January 2004 Page 2

FYI — January 2004
By Brad Dunn
   
 
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Sonar Side Effect, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With.., and more

 Related Resources
• News/FYI Index

A Word With... Ken Conforti
A Long Island, New York native and self-described nomad, Ken Conforti has traveled the globe working in a wide range of outdoor jobs, from snowboard instructor in Germany to kayak guide in Alaska. In 2000, he got a job as a deck hand aboard a small cruise ship in the Sea of Cortez and loved it so much he decided to make boating his full-time profession. PMY recently talked to Conforti about the lure of life on the water.

Q: When did you first realize you really enjoyed boating?
A: When I was pretty young. I always loved the ocean and every kind of water sport. In high school I bought a 1965 Chris-Craft, a 20-footer. I used it for everything—clamming off Long Island, water skiing, transportation to go surfing, you name it. I’ve just always been attracted to water.

Q: But you never pursued a career on it until three years ago. What changed?
A: I was teaching snowboarding in Germany and wondering what to do next, when I saw a job opening for a deck hand at Lindblad Expeditions in Seattle. The company runs eco-adventure trips in Alaska and Mexico. It’s not a party cruise at all—it’s all about the wildlife, coastal ecology, and marine environment. It just sounded great to me.

Q: Was the job what you hoped it would be?
A: Absolutely. I loved it. It’s hard work, but you get to travel to some amazing places. I knew it was something I’d like to do all the time. I decided to stay with Lindblad, get my 360 days on the water, and then go for my 100-ton captain’s license. I’d like to run the same ships that I’ve been working on as a deck hand.

Q: Have you worked on any other boats since then?
A: I worked for a while on a yacht owned by Caesars Tahoe (the casino). It’s a 56-foot Hatteras. We’d usually cruise across the lake to the California side and tour Emerald Bay. But I prefer to be out at sea on ocean-going vessels.

Q: You’re taking the captain’s exam next month in Oregon. Are you nervous?
A: A little. Right now I’m really focused on the “Rules of the Road” part. The navigation section might be tough, too.

Q: Why go to Oregon? Don’t they offer the exam somewhere closer to you?
A: They do, but I can’t wait that long. The classes in Oregon are offered year `round. I just want to get going as soon as possible. The sooner I get that license, the sooner I can get back out to sea—this time as an officer.

Promotion Commotion
When Cruisers Yachts announced last October that it would sell its new 31-footer for less than $90,000 and no cash down, it was banking on an old marketing tactic: low price, easy financing.

But when the company said it would also offer buyers a 30-day, money-back refund if they were not happy with the boat, it was borrowing a play directly from the telemarketers’ handbook. And so far the gambit seems to be working.

“We’ve had a terrific response from first-time buyers across the board,” says Paul Stenton, Cruisers regional sales manager. “The program helps new boaters not only purchase a fully loaded cruiser, but it also gets them out the water as soon as possible.”

The promotion, reportedly a first in the marine industry, continues through June.

Captains Log On
Inmarsat is giving away a Fleet F33 terminal to one lucky reader. The F33 is a powerful communications solution for small to medium vessels and is worth up to $10,000. Log on to www.inmarsat.com/yacht and fill out a short entry form for your chance to win.

Next page > Sonar Side Effect, and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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