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Chip Behr Interview

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For Chip Behr [shown holding his first mate, grandson Owen], who keeps his Chris-Craft Launch 25 in Avalon, New Jersey, boating boils down to two main things: Family and fun. Here’s his take on finding the perfect boat, making memories, and a lifetime of boating in south Jersey.

Chip Behr holding his first mate, grandson Owen

Power & Motoryacht: When did you start boating?

Behr: When I was a kid we spent our summers in Avalon and my father had boats. We did tons of waterskiing in [Great Egg Harbor] and went for tons of rides in the ocean.

When I was about 19 we lost the home down here for financial reasons so I took almost a 20-year hiatus from The Shore. Then when I was 38 we started coming back down here. I bought my first boat, a little center-console Mako, maybe 17 feet long, and it was a perfect little boat to get to know the waters and the back bays. And then we started taking the kids ski-bobbing and things, and it became obvious that we needed a bigger boat. So we got a 20-foot Grady White. That was a great boat, I loved it. The only problem with the Grady was that it was a fishing boat so it had a little bit of a rough ride and my wife had a tough time enjoying it. So my third boat was a Monterey, which was a little bit more of a girlie boat, and my wife loved it.

All four of my boats, by the way, have been named after my wife Julie; they’re all called Jules.

Power & Motoryacht: What attracted you to Chris-Craft?
Behr: Growing up with a Chris-Craft I always knew it had a very special look. But I hadn’t seen any on the water for many years, and then two summers ago in Avalon I saw the exact boat that I ended up getting. I was in my Monterey, and I pulled up and asked the guy about it, and we exchanged info and one thing lead to another and now I have my own Chris-Craft. It has a great engine in it, and it handles very well. Plus there’s so much teak, it’s just beautiful. We take ten or 11 people out, that’s not unusual. We take them out for cocktail cruises a lot but—full disclosure—I don’t drink when I drive.

Power & Motoryacht: Jersey has a relatively short season, when do you put your boat in?
Behr: I put it in in mid-April and we take it out mid-October. Any time people are down they call me up and say, “Take me for a boat ride!” Everybody loves a boat ride, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t.

This time last year I got the Chris-Craft and in the first season we had 110 hours on it. We use it less for water skiing because the kids are a little older, and they have kids now, so we go out for putt-putts, checking out the houses, going out to lunch.

Power & Motoryacht: What’s your favorite boating memory?
Behr: Well, one of them, believe it or not, would be the launch of my very first little boat. It was freezing cold, the beginning of March, high winds, and we were so excited we couldn’t see straight. It was myself, my daughter Elisabeth, and my son Colin. We all had parkas on! And it was so exciting we went out anyway! That was a great memory. But I’ve had many, many, many day trips where I’ve gone out around the bay and come back and said, “That’s the greatest day of my life!”

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.