p>Raised in San Diego, Richard grew up on boats—admittedly, mostly sailboats. He actually didn't purchase his first powerboat, a 19-foot SeaCraft center console, until after he moved to Jupiter, Florida, in 1980. From the moment he launched
, he was hooked on powerboats, so much so that he decided to parlay his love of them and his experience as a diesel mechanic into a career as a freelance boating writer.
In 1981, he was hired by Boating magazine as its engines columnist and boat tester, and in 1984, he left to work at Yachting. A year later he was hired as executive editor of Power & Motoryacht, a position that necessitated a move to Connecticut, where the magazine was then headquartered. Thiel assumed the editorship of PMY's small-boat magazine, Motorboat, in late 1985 and then became editor-in-chief of PMY in 1987. He says that even 20 years later, it's still a dream job and that "most days" he looks forward to going to work—especially when "work" is running a boat.
Along the way, Thiel has owned a number of powerboats, culminating with his purchase of Ava T., a 32-foot Jarvis Newman lobster boat, three years ago. In 2006, Thiel realized a longtime dream by earning his U.S. Coast Guard OUPV captain's license in 2006.
This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.