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Jim Krapf Interview

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Jim Krapf, 64, is a construction development consultant and a part-time delivery captain. In the latter capacity, he is an old salt’s old salt. A lifetime spent boating has yielded a base of knowledge about running and maintaining boats regardless of circumstance, a feel for the mercurial art of dealing with owners, and more than a few good stories.

Jim Krapf

Power & Motoryacht: You’re a seasoned delivery captain, of all the deliveries you’ve done has there ever been one that stands out to you like ‘Oh man, we shouldn’t have done that?’
Jim Krapf: Oh yeah. One time during a delivery we came off the top of a wave and hit the trough and the engines shut off completely. We were knocked to the floor. That was out in the Atlantic off Oregon Inlet [North Carolina]. Thankfully they restarted right back up again. We were headed from Lauderdale to the Chesapeake. The weather wasn’t good but the owner’s kid was going in for a medical procedure. I told him to fly but he wanted to accompany me on the trip, so he pushed for going outside [in the open ocean], since it was faster than taking the canal like I wanted, and man it got nasty.

Power & Motoryacht: Do you find owners make requests often like that? Ones that make things more difficult or unsafe?
Jim Krapf: Sometimes. But you gotta make judgment calls in life. If a trip’s going to cause personal harm I just won’t do it. And other times I say, “We can do this but it won’t do the boat any good.” Most all the time they relent and leave it up to me. That’s why you hire a captain in the first place. I’ll wait it out as opposed to getting into trouble and needing somebody to go out there and come get my ass.

Power & Motoryacht: What’s the most memorable delivery you’ve ever made?
Jim Krapf: One time I was doing a delivery and we caught a big hunk of rope in the props. We were four miles offshore of Maine and couldn’t proceed. The water was crystal clear and colder than daylights. I had to go over and cut it up. Man that was something. I was in the water chopping rope off the prop and letting it go and you could see it sink 100 feet down into the abyss. Eerie, y’know? When I got out I was so cold I had to go sit in the engine room for an hour!

Tangier Island

Tangier Island Photo via Flickr by VSPYCC

Power & Motoryacht: That oughta do the trick. And your own boat is a Regal 44, how do you use it?
Jim Krapf: Yeah I delivered a Regal 44 once and I was so impressed I went out and bought one for myself. It’s got IPS on it. My 11-year-old granddaughter can dock it. It’s incredibly maneuverable.

My wife and I grew up on the Chesapeake. We’re all the way up on the freshwater section, and there’s lots of great rivers and marinas. It’s a neat place to go and see. Depending on what shore you’re on things can change dramatically. When you get down to Tangier and Smith Islands there’s places where the inhabitants fought for the crown during the revolution and the people there still speak old English. They’re phenomenal boat handlers, those people.

Power & Motoryacht:Wait, they speak old English? Like “ye” and “hark” and all that?
Jim Krapf: Even more so than that. It’s hard to understand, believe me. It’s crazy how different it is. But we appreciate those differences. It’s pretty cool, a very interesting place. Plus its really salty down there, the water, so it’s great for oysters and fishing. Crabs, man you sit on the dock with some good friends eating crabs? What more could you want? Honestly the Chesapeake region is great, the food, the boating, the people, everything. I love it.

This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.