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Ties that Bind

Arnie Hammerman and Dan Harding

An impromptu cruise through Sydney Harbor on a Maritmo M50 proves that boating is the best way to build fast friendships.

Sun shimmered off Sydney Harbor as the city skyline and the Sydney Opera House began to rise on the horizon. Conversation flowed easily inside the whisper-quiet enclosed bridge of the Maritimo M50. If not for the whitecaps blowing off a short chop you’d never know it was blowing 25 knots on the nose. Taking in the near 360-degree views from the helm, you could tell me there’s a better way to explore Sydney’s storied waters, but I’d call you a liar to your face.

Publisher Arnie Hammerman and myself were given this royal tour by SBM Sydney, one of the largest Maritimo dealers in Australia. Along for the trip was Capt. Jon Dodds and PR specialist Helena Heidenreich, who epitomize Australian hospitality.

Our time aboard was everything you would hope for in a boat ride. Dodds and Heidenreich offered interesting history lessons and trivia of the area, while Hammerman and myself struggled to explain American politics. Breaking from conversation to snap photos, Dodds opened the sunroof at the push of a button and suggested I try standing on the helm seat to get some shots from above the roof.

Not a bad idea, I thought. I hoped up, pointed my lens forward and began to focus on the Sydney skyline. That’s when the aforementioned 25-knot wind grabbed ahold of my trusty PMY hat and launched it like a Mark McGuire home run into the choppy water far astern. “Yup, I deserve that,” I said aloud as I sunk into the helm seat in defeat. You see, I have an uncanny ability to lose hats. “There goes another one.”

Let it never be said Aussies back away from a challenge. Dodds pivoted the boat’s Volvo Pod drives and chased down the semi-submerged spec on the harbor. A testament to Dodds’ boat handling and the nimbleness of the boat’s propulsion system, he ended up backing the 53-footer right onto the hat. I would scoop it up with a boat hook and we’d all enjoy the unnecessarily excessive celebration.

Dan Harding

Having worked up an appetite from our at-sea rescue, we pulled up to the Sydney Fish Market in order to secure a few orders of fish and chips. Jumping from the immaculate yacht to the dock attracted a lot of attention; we all felt like celebrities. Or maybe they were just wondering why I was wearing a soaking wet wet, ahh, I digress.

We’d conclude our harbor tour with those warm baskets of fish and chips and a frosty cold Australian beer. By the end of the afternoon we’d been laughing and swapping stories like old friends, thus proving that a love of boats and being on the water is something that—regardless on what continent you call home—can bring anyone together.

Dan Harding and his hat