I started working on small tourist boats from 1975 to 1985 as an engineer. We used to take 300 people from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, up to Jalapes Beach, where they would swim and barbecue, and then bring them back at the end of the day. I got a call to go up to Seattle to repair an engine on Itasca, did some cruising there and down to Oregon, and then got asked to stay on board.
You’ve been on the same yacht for 35 years now — what has kept you so long?
Itasca eventually came down to Puerto Vallarta and I worked as the chief engineer for many years there. The boat stayed around the area, so it made it easy for me to see family and be near home.
How many new owners have you worked for, and does it make a big difference?
With this new owner, it is five owners. I was the chief engineer for five years, and then a new owner had his own chief engineer, so I sailed for many years as the 2nd engineer. But the job generally stays the same for the engineering department.
What’s the best thing about staying with one yacht for so long?
Best thing is I can focus on one boat and know all the machinery very well and all the little idiosyncrasies.
What’s your favorite destination so far?
Is there somewhere you would like to go that you haven’t been to yet?
I have been to so many places on Itasca, I don’t know where else I could go.
What’s the worst problem you have had to deal with in your many years of yachting?
Having different captains on board with different ideas on how to run things. Also, having to change a piston and liner while at anchor off Palma.
What are your plans for life after yachting?
I have a house with fruit trees. I have four sons and one daughter and six grandkids, so I will keep busy. I used to have a mechanic’s garage, but because I went away for so long it was hard to look after and find the right people to operate it, so now I rent it out as a gym.
How did your family handle you being away at sea for 35 years?
Of course, I spend a lot of time away from my wife. A previous owner of Itasca would fly my wife to some of the locations the boat was at. We would spend some time on board and then fly home together for holidays.