After a four year hitch with the Marines, I got the sailing bug in the mid 1980s aboard a Catalina 22 while attending the University of Central Florida. After graduating with a double major in finance and marketing, I moved to Chicago where I enjoyed years racing the various distance races (7 Chicago-Macs), port-to-ports, beer can and buoy races on Lake Michigan.
Another move and a couple years living in the Seattle area with some racing out of Shilshole Bay Marina, and I decided that a future in the maritime industry was the way to go. I moved back to Florida in 1999, got certified and worked as a marine generator and engine technician and had my first USCG skipper’s license issued in 2002.
Also in 2000, I met and fell in love with a French woman, Florence, and in 2002 was offered a job with her company working with a small contemporary circus. I soon discovered that the the sailing world and the circus world overlapped considerably. The teamwork and skill set required to install a big top and meet the technical needs of a small traveling circus are very similar to running a large sailboat. After three years based in Lower Normandy as head roadie, it was time to get back into the boat business.
As luck would have it, a high quality blue water sailboat builder I’d previously done new engine warrantee start ups for was looking for a project manager in Fort Lauderdale. It was a dream job acting as an intermediary between the factory and clients building their dream boats. Unfortunately, the economy took a turn for the worse and the builder ceased operations.
After this turn of events (and the circus needing Flo’s expertise back in France), in order to stay in the local yachting network, I started work as a yacht broker and freelance delivery skipper in Fort Lauderdale. With the flexibility as a yacht broker, I was able to do many deliveries (US east coast, east Caribbean and South America) on a wide variety of boats and intermittently spend time with family in France.
I am currently on the third issue of my USCG 100 ton license, and am located permanently in Caen, France, which is a 90-minute drive from the Grand Large yard in Cherbourg.