Saturday, September 11, 2010

So you really think you own a fishing boat?

"Houses are but badly built boats so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them.... The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final anchorage."

Arthur Ransome
Racundra's First Cruise, 1923

This is a little photo essay about the vessel "Melia", and I have had an unrequited love affair with this vessel for a long time. I have not been on board, or met the owner, but I will lurk around until the opportunity presents itself. You can see her in the picture below, at the end of the dock in Sarasota's downtown marina. That is a 100'+ Westport yacht in front of her, and the Melia towers over it. When I used the words "fishing boat" in the title, I was being specious, Melia is truly a ship.

The steel hulled vessel has a foc'sle on steroids, and looks like it could take almost any seas I could imagine.

The aft deck has a substantial hydraulic davit system,

and there is no shortage of electronics on the mast including dual open array radars, satellite TV, Sat phone, and multiple communication antennas.  

An over sized RIB sits above the aft cabin, and behind the wheel house.

It almost looks like a fancy work boat, and it is, in a recreational sort of way.

But now you find out what the over sized davit is for. The vessel carries a 33' Intrepid center console fishing boat on its back deck. I suspect this vessel carries its owner to places the rest of us could never get to, and launches the Intrepid to fish in waters that would be virginal from a fishing viewpoint. How do I love this boat, let me count the ways. 

Playing the game, if I had some ham, I could have a ham sandwich, if I had some bread, below is the vessel Kate and I would own, if we had the bucks. Anyone can have a white plastic boat that looks like a hotel on the inside, I find this vessel infinitely more appealing. Eight kts is fine with me. 

To learn more about these Jay Benford designed boats, visit Florida Bay Coasters

A day in the life, the installer goes to Garmin school.

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the car in seconds flat.

"A day in the life" Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Cub Band, circa a long time ago, and slightly stepped on

This is how my day started on Tuesday. Up at 3:00 am, out the door at 4:00 am, drive from Sarasota to Dania Florida (Ft. Lauderdale), grinding through the Miami rush hour traffic in a driving rain storm clutching a map, and arriving at the International Game Fishing Association museum at about 8:30 am. I want to dispel that ugly myth right now, that your installer's days are spent drinking Pina Coladas, and going for boat rides, while charging fees that would make a brain surgeon envious.

So my school day starts at 9:00 am at the International Game Fishing Association's museum, where Garmin has arranged the meeting rooms for the day. I suspect the location selection was not an accident, and it sure beat the meeting rooms at the local airport hotel. The IGFA facility is a stunning modern building, and as you can imagine is filled with world record fishing memorabilia. Garmin representatives check you in, and point you to a buffet filled with bagels, rolls, fruit, and lots of hot coffee.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many installers were there to take the class, and the large number of Garmin staff that were available during the presentations, most of whom were technical staff, although a couple of senior sales staff were present to keep an eye on the technical staff, or was the technical staff there to keep an eye on the sales guys?

Oy vey! do you see the size of the book, and I have to learn all this today? Actually the book is worth its weight in gold. It contains almost every installation manual for Garmin marine products, and a wealth of other technical, and product information. The contents are also on a CD inside the book.

So off we go at 9:oo am, and John Murch does most of the primary technical presentations.
It was a fast paced presentation, with the presumption that everyone in the room had a Garmin installation background baseline. The thing I liked best about John's presentation, was the interactive aspect. If you stuck your hand up, and ask for clarification, or a question, things stopped, and you got an answer. If John didn't know the answer, and it wasn't often, the other Garmin personnel either knew, or were on the the phone, and or computer, and you had the answer ASAP. This format kept the presentation lively, and interesting.

The day relentlessly goes on, there were breaks to refill your coffee, and lunch was provided (the lasagna was bland, and I wished there was some Tabasco to be found). From Chartplotters, to sonar, to radar, a terrific autopilot presentation from Robert Archer, one of the original TR-1 personnel, and software. No Garmin technical subject was left out. There was also virtually every marine product Garmin sells on display to play with.

All of a sudden it is almost 5:00 and it is test time. Seventy five questions later, (I missed three, semantics are everything), you are given the grand prize. The Garmin technical, and good house keeping seal of approval.

I leave at about 6:00, arrive home at 10:00, let the greyhounds girls out, had a bourbon, and passed out.

The following morning, I bestowed some of my new intellectual largess on a client, who had been having some particularly vexing issues. Using one of the hidden diagnostic screens I had learned about, I found a vital clue about what was happening, and shortly the problem was corrected. You can teach an old dog new tricks. 

With thanks to Joe Cornwall for the use of the IGFA mueseum photo, Joe is the webmaster of the Fly Fish Ohio website.