THE UNSINKABLE LEGEND
B O S T O N
W H A L E R
B O A T S
volume 9 issue 2
M A G A Z I N E
Mia, nice meeting you last night. About our date...would you like to join me on my boat tomorrow?
12 sec ago
It has a Seakeeper, right? 4 sec ago
ONCE YOU FEEL IT, YOUâ€™LL NEVER BOAT WITHOUT IT. LEARN MORE AT SEAKEEPER.COM
whaler president’s letter
Keeping the legend growing.
President, Boston Whaler
Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Service
Manager of Content Development & Marketing Events
Marketing & Sales Event Coordinator
Digital Marketing Specialist
Marketing Services Technician
In the Moment
One of the best aspects of boating is how fully it places you in the moment. Out on the water, sensations come into sharper focus: the feeling of sun on your face, the sound of a gull’s cry, the smell of the ocean… Even a can of soda tastes more refreshing when it’s been pulled from the cooler.
Amy Wideman Senior Editor
Editor at Large
Jennifer Chesak Editor at Large
It’s as if distractions are suddenly put on mute, and the volume on the present moment is turned way up. We hear this sentiment from our customers in many forms: “As soon as we leave the dock, the stress just melts away…” “On the boat, we can concentrate on enjoying time with our kids…” “The pace just seems different out there…” In the pages of this issue, you’ll meet several Whaler owners who are experts at engaging fully. For instance, there’s the Zimmer family (page 18), whose twin 5-year-olds are sure to be water lovers for life. Or the Burlesons (page 26), whose 380 Outrage helped them discover a passion for fishing. At Boston Whaler, our priority is designing boats that Our priority never interfere with your focus. Every Whaler is made to is designing be intuitive and low-maintenance, from the brand-new Super Sport models (page 32) to the flagship 420 Outrage boats that never and beyond—because we know that by making it easy to interfere with care for and operate your boat, we’re freeing up boating to your focus. work its magic.
President — Boston Whaler
Digital Creative Director
Kraig Devenport Art Director
Justin Goode Photographers
Mike Calabro, Steven J. Conway, Robert Glover, Richard Steinberger
Whaler magazine is published two times a year for Boston Whaler by Dino Publishing LLC. Any correspondence should be directed to: Dino Publishing 350 W. Hubbard St., Suite 400 Chicago, IL 60654 www.dinopublishing.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org The opinions expressed in this magazine are not to be considered ofﬁcial expressions of Dino Publishing or Boston Whaler. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject all editorial or advertising matter. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, or artwork. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph, or illustration without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright © 2019 Boston Whaler.
Every journey has a soundtrack. Let's make yours sound amazing.
ÂŠ 2017 JL AUDIO, Inc. For more information on our complete line of products, please visit your local authorized dealer or www.jlaudio.com.
volume 9 issue 2
Seizing the Days
For the Zimmer family of Connecticut, Persistence is the key that unlocks endless possibilities on the water. Plus, advice for boating safely with pets.
Texans David and Becky Burleson unleash their spirit of adventure—and their appetite for serious fishing—with a little help from their 380 Outrage.
Ready for Action
Redesigned from the keel up for 2019, the all-new 130 and 160 Super Sport are nimble, spacious and empowering, offering everything you need to explore on a moment’s notice.
Cool, Calm, Adventure
A West Palm Beach couple cruises to ports of call with confidence in their 345 Conquest. Plus, a brief history of Florida’s Peanut Island.
Seizing the Days
Navigate New remotemonitoring technology for added peace of mind, tips for onboard entertaining, help choosing the right marine insurance and more.
Experience A New York boater shares the path that brought him from a used 13-foot outboard tinny to a new 150 Montauk, and explains why he’s never looking back.
Travel Hitch up your Whaler and head for the Pacific Northwest! We’ve rounded up a list of must-see destinations for fishing, dining and photo-capturing.
Guests of Honor
This fall, a group of Whaler owners hosted more than 60 well-deserving veterans on their boats for a day of fishing and camaraderie.
Fishing Professional angler Henry Waszczuk takes readers to Ontario’s Muskoka region in search of fish, with a little stargazing for good measure.
On The Cover: Parker Zimmer scans the shoreline from the bow of his family’s 270 Vantage.
Photo by Mike Calabro
NAVIGATE hooks, news, gear and info to help make the most of your boating lifestyle
eye in the sky
INTRODUCING NEW REMOTE-MONITORING TECHNOLOGY
Boston Whaler is proud to partner with NAUTIC-ON™ to provide new remote-monitoring capabilities, for added peace of mind. Coming soon to models across the lineup, NAUTICON can convey your Whaler’s location and vital systems data using a hub and wireless sensors installed on the boat. Using the intuitive NAUTIC-ON
app, you can gain a remote view of the condition of your boat’s key components and operating systems. The app also alerts you when systems are malfunctioning, allowing you to share your Whaler’s status with your service provider to quickly resolve any issues. The “Internet of Things” is a beautiful thing indeed.
FIND OUT MORE: Visit nautic-on.com/whaler for all the details.
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N AV I G AT E
NEXT EVOLUTION When it comes to navigation technology, Raymarine® has always been ahead of the curve. Case in point: Evolution AI™ (Autopilot Intelligence). Raymarine’s powerful Evolution autopilot systems perceive their environment and instantly calculate and adapt steering commands to maximize performance. The result is precise and confident course keeping, regardless of vessel speed or sea conditions. Evolution autopilots steer so accurately, they can actually save fuel and get you to your destination faster.
learn more by visiting raymarine.com.
AROUND-THE-CLOCK ASSISTANCE We’re all human; missteps happen, even on the water. That’s why it’s good to know that Sea Tow’s experienced Captains are available to help, 24/7/365. With a Sea Tow membership, services including fuel drops, jump starts and towing are just a phone call or VHF call away. Every new Boston Whaler comes with a free 95-day Sea Tow membership, and discounts are available for longer plans. learn more at
seatow.com/bostonwhaler or call 800-4-seatow.
BEST DRESSED Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a Whaler fan in your life, or in need of a great new piece for your own closet, Boston Whaler’s online apparel store has you covered. From jackets and hoodies to T-shirts, hats and accessories, a cornucopia of Whaler gear is just a click away. shop the collection at
N AV I G AT E ROCK STEADY The term “rock ‘n’ roll” should be used to describe music, not the motion of your boat. Seakeeper® uses innovative gyro-stabilization technology to virtually eliminate boat roll—along with the motion sickness and fatigue that rough conditions can cause. Available on select Whaler models, the Seakeeper apparatus is lightweight and uses only modest electrical power, yet it’s remarkably effective at stopping rock ‘n’ roll in its tracks. (You know, unless you crank up the stereo.) check out videos and product demos by visiting seakeeper.com.
START SMART D.I.Y.-ers know that when it comes to restoring an old Whaler, choosing the right hull paint and applying it correctly can make a world of difference. Daunted by the task? The paint pros at Interlux®, makers of the industry-leading Micron Technology range, have built a vast library of resources to help you get the best finish and results. Search through commonly-asked questions, view a glossary of helpful terms, and find tons of practical advice at interlux.com.
LOAN LEADERS Refinancing your Whaler can be a useful way to lower your monthly payments. With trusted partner Essex Credit, the process can be hasslefree. Essex’s team of finance professionals can offer guidance and find competitive fixed rates and extended loan term options, all with quick turnaround times. to get started, visit essex.com/bw. Refinance plan subject to consumer loan requirements and credit approval. Certain fees, closing costs and restrictions may apply.
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MAKE SMARTER DECISIONS ClearCruise™ AR Augmented Reality ClearCruise™ AR brings enhanced on water perception to Raymarine’s family of Axiom® multifunction displays. Chart objects, AIS targets and waypoints are clearly identified with rich graphics overlaid on HD video for instant, heads up recognition of your surroundings.
N AV I G AT E ONBOARD ENTERTAINING TIPS
CAPTIVATING CANVAS If your Whaler’s factory-installed bimini top or cockpit cover is starting to show signs of age, treat yourself to a makeover with replacement canvas from Great Lakes Boat Top. With more than 22,000 original canvas patterns to choose from, Great Lakes leads the industry in marine canvas replacements. You and your Whaler are guaranteed a perfect fit, long-lasting durability and high-quality materials, along with top-notch customer service. To shop for canvas for your specific model,
EntErtaining is likEly onE of thE main rEasons you chosE your WhalEr. all that comfortablE sEating, smooth pErformancE and opEn cockpit spacE arE tEmpting rEasons to invitE thE WholE crEW along. of coursE, EntErtaining onboard brings cErtain challEngEs; you’rE Working in a much smallEr kitchEn than at homE (or no gallEy at all!), and you’rE on lEss stablE footing than dry land. but thosE minor obstaclEs palE in comparison to thE dElight of trEating your family and friEnds to a day on thE WatEr. bEloW, a fEW suggEstions to hElp your gathErings go smoothly.
Potluck Style Consider asking friends to bring a dish to share. Providing a theme (Tropical Island, Wine & Cheese, Taco Tuesday, etc.) can spark creativity and ensure complementary flavors. Remind them to use non-breakable dishware to prevent glass or china underfoot.
Make a Splash Inflatable tubes, pool noodles, floating mats, or even a floating trampoline or inflatable slide will coax kids and “big kids” alike into the water, effectively expanding your party venue.
Safety First As the owner, you are responsible for the safety of everyone on your boat. That means you should have the right safety equipment onboard, including a first-aid kit, and ensure all passengers have a life vest that fits.
YOU’RE COVERED Choosing the right insurance for your Boston Whaler doesn’t have to be confusing. Let the professionals at Boater’s Choice make the process easy. With direct access to a variety of A-rated carriers, Boater’s Choice’s knowledgeable marine underwriters can suggest the best price and coverage options for you and your boating lifestyle. geT a personalized, no-obligaTion quoTe by visiTing boaTerschoiceinsurance.com.
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Comfort-Minded Bring plenty of extra towels and sweatshirts to go around. Guests may not anticipate how chilly it can get after swimming or if the wind picks up, and will be grateful for a warm, dry layer.
Keep It Simple The most important objective of any onboard gathering? Relax and have fun! Mother Nature is a pretty spectacular party planner all on her own.
For over a century, a league of canned crusaders have been fighting to keep boats safe from barnacles, slime, algae and other aquatic evils that rob your boat of its true performance. With advanced know-how and unique capabilities, each antifouling is tailored to different conditions, and has the power to defeat fouling in all its forms. Micron® Extra leads the charge in all waters. Using its signature dual-protection with boosting Biolux® technology, it provides high-quality, multi-season protection that survives hauling and relaunch without the need for repainting. For super-powered antifouling protection and proven performance, choose Interlux®.
The hero your boat deserves!
All trademarks mentioned are owned by, or licensed to, the AkzoNobel group of companies. © AkzoNobel 2018.
N AV I G AT E BOUNDLESS BOATING Craving a change of scenery? With Snag-A-Slip and a Boston Whaler, the world is your oyster. Snag-A-Slip makes it easy to rent vacation slips online, with no booking fees ever! Peruse marina listings in your area using the interactive map, read verified reviews from real boaters, and get all the details before you go. And with the convenient Snag-A-Slip app, you can do it all from your phone. Create an account to be eligible for rewards and get one free night for every 12 nights stayed at a marina! Do you have personal dockage to share? Snag-A-Slip now lets users list their dock space for rent, as well.
start planning your next vacation today: visit snagaslip.com or download the app from the app store or google play.
An action-packed day on the water deserves an equally highenergy soundtrack. With JL Audio’s marine sound systems— available on nearly every Boston Whaler model since 2013—you can pump up the jams with confidence. JL Audio’s highly efficient speakers and amplifiers deliver crystal-clear sound quality and impressive volume. And because they undergo rigorous testing using advanced salt-fog and UV test equipment, JL Audio products reflect environmental longevity standards that far exceed typical industry standards. Quality audio, made to last? Sounds good to us.
learn more at jlaudio.com.
POWERFUL PROTECTION Your Whaler’s engine works hard for you. Give it the TLC it deserves with X-Tended Protection + Gasoline Treatment (XP+) from ValvTect. This multi-functional, premiumgrade treatment helps keep gasoline in prime condition, thanks to refinery chemicals specially formulated to improve gasoline performance in marine engines. Whether your gasoline contains ethanol (E10) or not (E0), is used every day or occasionally, or is in storage for a year or longer, XP+ ensures your engine is ready to start. XP+ contains ValvTect’s stabilizer, combined with proprietary corrosion inhibitor to stop any corrosion possibilities, water dispersant to remove controlled amounts of water, and a combination of specially developed gasoline detergents to help clean up carbon deposits and prevent octane loss. visit valvtect.com to learn more.
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Hit the high seas with a low-rate boat loan
Fixed APR* as low as
$25,000 – $49,999
Rates accurate as of 12/6/18. See website for current rates and terms.
When the sea beckons, answer the call with an affordable marine loan from Essex Credit. Whether refinancing an existing loan or financing a new or used boat for live-aboard, full- or part-time charter, or pleasure use, our dedicated consultants can help you with your dream vessel. And with our simple online application, securing a loan couldn’t be easier. So visit our website or call 866-377-3948 today to take advantage of the open water, and our low, fixed APR.
Apply online at EssexCredit.com/bw
* Estimated APR (Annual Percentage Rate) based on 5 year loan term; individual rate may vary based on loan amount, loan term, vehicle use, model year and type of boat. Subject to consumer loan program requirements and credit approval. Rates and terms may vary with market conditions and are subject to change without notice. Certain fees, closing costs, and restrictions may apply. APR applied to the loan is the APR in effect on the date the application is received and is valid until 30 days after loan approval. APRs may vary with loan term. Boat must be 1999 model year or newer; for boat model year 1999 to 2008, add .25% to above rate. Maximum loan term based on loan amount. Maximum loan amount is calculated using an advance percentage determined by FICO score and multiplied by NADA base wholesale value with adds; if not listed in NADA, then multiplied by 80% of BUC low retail value. Other rates with different loan terms are available. See our website for rates and terms for financing live-aboards and loan amounts below $25,000. Example of a recreational use boat loan: A $65,000 loan for 5 years with an APR of 5.19% has 60 monthly payments of $1,232.30 each. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
© 2019 Bank of the West. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California.
NMLS ID 19116
Boaters Jim and Debi Seufert enjoy cruising aboard their 150 Montauk, exploring the Niagara River, the Finger Lakes (including Seneca Lake, shown bottom right) and, as Jim says, â€œbasically everywhere within driving distance of western New York.â€?
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A Lifetime in the Works
When boating runs in your veins, the question of finding the perfect vessel is not if, but when Story & Photos Courtesy of Jim Seufert – Seneca Lake Photo by Meagan Marchant
Jim Seufert of Wheatfield, New York, recently wrote in to share the story of how he and his wife, Debi, came to be the proud owners of a new 150 Montauk. Longtime boating fans, the Seuferts and their two sons have always made spending time together on the water a priority. In fact, Jim and Debi’s first date was a trip to Strawberry Island in a boat he’d built in his grandfather’s garage. Jim explains the path that brought them to Whaler. We’ve been a boating family… well, forever. As young marrieds, we couldn’t afford a new boat, and used Boston Whalers were few and far between—no one who had a Whaler ever wanted to part with it!—so our interests developed elsewhere. We always owned a traditional runabout. When our boys were young and we started camping, we bought a second boat for the huge sum of $600—a used 13-foot outboard tinny. (Our runabout was too heavy for my car to trailer very far, and I didn’t want to risk damaging the upholstery with all the gear.) The tinny served us well for many years, and doubled as a utility trailer. The tent and all our equipment fit nicely inside, and when we were set up we even had a boat to putter around in. When we weren’t camping, the old tinny doubled as my fishing boat in some of the local calm waters. Once the boys were grown and out on their own, and with retirement only a few years away, I decided it was time to upgrade. I bought a brand-spanking-new aluminum utility boat, equipped with a livewell, swivel cushion seats, a full floor and all of the amenities. By that time, my wife and I “camped” in a waterfront rental
cottage, so the “fishing boat” didn’t need to be a utility trailer any more. The problem was that the new utility wasn’t comfortable enough for Debi, so we ended up vacationing with our jet ski for several years. A few years ago, while we were swimming off the jet ski, a young couple anchored next to us with a brand-new Whaler Montauk. Before we could talk to them and ask them about it, they left. Well, that’s all it took. The next winter, we went to several boat shows looking for that very model. We finally found one and made contact with Morgan Marine, a Boston Whaler dealership on Keuka Lake. They were several hours away by car, so we ended up communicating by email. After sending photos of the trade-in, we made a deal, and our new Whaler was on order. In all my 50-some years as a boater, this was the smoothest and most enjoyable purchase I ever made. Our last two vacations have been with our 150 Montauk. My wife loves the boat better than the jet ski, and it’s our preferred craft even at home. This summer, we sold our family boat after having owned it for 35 years. Our Montauk is a perfect platform when I go fishing solo, or when Debi and I go out for a Sunday cruise. Our local waters can be quite rough on a Sunday. In the past, it was a constant effort to adjust the throttle so we wouldn’t get pounded by the waves. Now, I just set our Montauk at cruising speed and merely “steer.” It rides that well. Even more awesome, I can’t believe how little fuel we use. Someone asked me if I would buy another Boston Whaler, and I said my next boat would definitely be a Whaler. But, thinking about it, I don’t know why I would ever NEED another boat.
In all my 50-some years as a boater, this was the smoothest and most enjoyable purchase I ever made.
(From top) San Juan Islandâ€™s Line Kiln Lighthouse; seals bask in the sun in Newport, Oregon; Mount Rainier peeks over the horizon; the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Pacific Ocean at sunset; a Boston Whaler 285 Conquest Pilothouse prepares to leave harbor.
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Best of the Northwest
Hitch up your Whaler and head for the Pacific Northwest, a rugged and diverse boating playground
Story by Clover Smart Photos by Edmund Lowe Photography, Edmund Lowe, Tushar Koley and Hurst Photo
From Oregon to Alaska, the Pacific Northwest is known for its rocky, evergreen shorelines and cobalt-blue waters. Don’t let the October-to-April rainy season deter you; the region’s dramatic views and huge swaths of pristine wilderness make it prime boating territory. And while it’s true that your heater might see more use than your air conditioning, a Boston Whaler is the perfect vessel for exploring these parts. Whether you’re starting in Boise or British Columbia, Portland or Port Angeles, consider the following destinations for your next boating adventure. San Juan Islands Rich in history, rare wildlife and peaceful, secluded anchorages, Washington’s San Juan Islands—all 172 of them—are paradise for boaters. As the only four with ferry service, San Juan, Orcas, Shaw and Lopez Islands are the most populous, with charming hamlets tucked into tree-lined shores straight off of a postcard. More remote spots like Matia and Patos Islands offer limited mooring, but what they lack in amenities they more than make up for in natural beauty. Pack your hiking boots to take advantage of miles and miles of forest trails, pull into Friday Harbor for espresso and farm-fresh dining, or just set your navigation system to “roam” and take in the endless scenery. Seattle, Washington Tucked between Lake Washington and the Puget Sound, Seattle offers a virtually infinite number of boating experiences. The Sound’s many islands and inlets are best reached by Whaler, just as looming Mount Rainier is best viewed from the cockpit. Boating rituals abound here (just Google “Duck Dodge” or “Husky Sailgating”), and Lake Union’s tightknit houseboat community is a distinctly Seattle phenomenon. The Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission has the largest state-managed mooring system in the U.S., with more than 40 marine parks and 8,500 feet of public moorage space. For an easy half-day trip, head across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island for amazing views of the
Seattle skyline; dock at Waterfront Park and explore the town’s boutiques and cafes. Or plan a full-day trip to the Port of Poulsbo, a city known as “Little Norway” for its proud Scandinavian heritage; the large Poulsbo Marina has 130 guest slips (in addition to 254 permanent slips) and a full array of amenities. Columbia River Follow the path of explorers Lewis and Clark down the Columbia and enjoy a unique vantage point of Washington on one side and Oregon on the other. You’ll be in good company: The river is frequented by all variety of freighters, sailboats and fishing trawlers, along with the brave windsurfers who take advantage of the 40-mile-per-hour easterlies that blow through from mid-September to late March. Similarly diehard anglers fish the region for sturgeon in the winter, and salmon and steelhead in the summer months, when the winds tend to be calmer and the temperatures hover between the 70s and 80s. With more than 40 launch ramps and marinas in pleasant ports from Astoria to Hood River and beyond, you’ll find ample opportunities to chat with locals and stock up on supplies for your own expedition. Newport, Oregon Located on the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Yaquina River, roughly two-and-a-half hours southwest of Portland by land, Newport has long been oriented toward sailing. In fact, it was named after another sailing hub—Newport, Rhode Island—by Sam Case, who in 1866 opened the town’s first resort. Today, Newport is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Oregon Coast History Center, among other familyfriendly attractions. If you visit, be sure to sample the local crab, or even try your hand at crabbing in the Yaquina Bay; “The Dungeness Capital of the World” takes its trademarked nickname very seriously. Wherever your adventures may lead, you can’t go wrong if you’re traveling by Whaler, surrounded by a uniquely Northwestern palette of emerald green and Pacific blue.
(This page) The Muskoka regionâ€™s idyllic views include plenty of water, foliage and colorful cottages. Beneath that water await more than enough fish to keep Henry and his 240 Dauntless busy.
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A trip to Canadian cottage country reveals epic views and a fish population to challenge any angler. Story & Photos Courtesy of Henry Waszczuk
Located two hours north of Toronto, Ontario, the Muskoka region is “cottage country” at its finest. The area’s three main lakes—Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka—are surrounded by palatial cottages and their charming boathouses, many owned by professional hockey players, Canadian captains of industry and the Hollywood elite. With its collection of pristine, secluded islands and miles of glacial shoreline, Muskoka is a well-known family destination that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The scenery is breathtaking; a canopy of hemlock, pine and maple trees provides the perfect green backdrop to set everything else into stark relief. For boaters, access is easy thanks to dozens of free public launch ramps in the area. And while it’s rarely considered a fishing haven, for those in the know, the fishing in Muskoka can be phenomenal. The three lakes’ sheltered bays are filled with structured drop-offs that hold a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, lake trout and muskie—a personal favorite. Serious muskie anglers tend to fish for these feisty creatures by fast-trolling plugs alongside open-water rock structures or in the weed beds lining the shore. In general, these anglers have two speeds for retrieving a bait: fast and really fast. I like to give the lure a little time to show itself near the surface before I plunge it back to its depths. In my experience, that drives muskie mad! As far as lures are concerned, I recommend using either jerk baits or inline bucktail spinners. These help you get the big fish to chase your presentation all the way to the
boat. With an aggressive figure-eight routine, you will hook at least 50 percent of these fellows. The beautiful thing about jerk baits is the way they rise to the surface and then, with a long draw, dive back under before returning to the surface again. In the fall months, the muskie are feeding aggressively and they’ll just explode on your bait—it’s really exciting to see. And don’t be surprised if you hook a 5-pound-plus bass using this technique. No matter what type of Boston Whaler you own, the endless cruising and fishing opportunities make it well worth a trip to the Muskokas. My 240 Dauntless, with its comfortable open layout and handy trolling motor, is perfect for getting in the shallows to fish and explore every cranny of these incredible shorelines. Whether you want to fish, dine at any number of restaurants overlooking the water, or kick back and admire the glorious sunsets, this region is a boater’s dream for all ages and tastes. Plan on staying a few nights at one of the many classic Muskoka resort properties: From Taboo Golf Resort to the Windermere House to the magnificent summer retreats and turn-of-the-century boathouses, there’s no shortage of great places to stay. And stargazing here isn’t limited to stellar sights that light up the summer sky. On any given day, you may bump into celebrities who own homes on the water, such as Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Martin Short… or me, fishing aboard my Dauntless and dreaming of owning a home there myself! National Geographic recently named Muskoka the numberone place in the world to live during the summer. Once on the water, you’ll know why.
In the fall months, the muskie are feeding aggressively and they’ll just explode on your bait.
Seizing the DayS Story by Amy Wideman | Photos by Mike Calabro
For the Zimmer family, persistence is the key that unlocks endless boating possibilities
most of the world
knows the tart little gummy candies as sour patch kids, but to twins reagan and parker zimmer, they go by another name: power pellets. it’s an apt description for the 5-year-olds’ favorite boating snack. out on their family’s 270 vantage, any grain of sugar they consume is immediately converted into pure, high-octane energy. one minute reagan and parker are scanning the shore with their binoculars, looking for lighthouses; the next minute they’re squealing and giggling as they leap off the swim platform, coaxing the family dog, penny, to jump too. their mom and dad, jeanne and cody, have been known to pop a few power pellets to keep up.
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(Top left) Cody and Jeanne keep a close eye on their twin water babies. (Top right) Parker in action. (Bottom left) Penny shows her affection for Reagan.
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“The kids enjoy boating so much,” Jeanne says. “They never complain about a thing; they just love it. For us as parents, it’s wonderful because it answers the question of ‘What are we going to do this weekend?’ Easy: We’re going on the boat.” The Zimmers keep their Vantage on the water at the MarineMax Boating Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, a short drive from their home. During the week, Cody works in finance in New York City, while Jeanne is Chief Operating Officer of the family. Even when their schedules get hectic, they strive to make boating a priority. “The boat is our decompressing spot, our place to relax and get away from the world,” Jeanne explains. “No matter how stressed we are, we get just an inch from the dock and it all seems to melt away.” Pup Penny may not need the decompression, but she isn’t about to be left behind. The energetic cockapoo nearly loses her mind at the mere rustle of a tote bag or cooler, anything that might suggest an outing on the boat. “Somehow, she always knows,” Jeanne says. “And come hell or high water, she’s going to be out there with us. Penny is the definition of ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ She’ll break out of her crate. There’s no stopping that dog.”
Jeanne pauses, then smiles and adds, “I’m not sure who’s more persistent, my husband or the dog.” Persistence is a virtue the family holds in high esteem; in fact, it’s what they named their Whaler. “We tell our kids, ‘The Zimmer team never gives up,’” Cody says, citing a favorite Calvin Coolidge quote that begins, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.” Not surprisingly, in the handful of months they’ve owned the 270 Vantage, the Zimmers have already set and accomplished a number of boating goals. Their first was to cruise out past Montauk to Block Island, about a 96-mile run. “We tried it one weekend and had so much fun, we repeated the trip about four times this summer,” Jeanne says. “We encountered a pod of dolphins on one of our trips— that was really neat.” Over Memorial Day weekend, they took Reagan and Parker down through Long Island Sound and around Manhattan. The twins got to see Yankee Stadium from the water, and were treated to their first real-life look at the Statue of Liberty, something they’d recently learned about in school. The family also loves boating to Rye Playland—the amusement
park where Zoltar granted Tom Hanks his wish in Big—for lunch on the boat followed by rides in Kiddyland. “It’s so neat being able to give the kids these memories,” Cody says, rattling off a list of future goals they’ll no doubt achieve. “We want to explore Long Island Sound more, and take a longer vacation to Block Island, and maybe jump over to Martha’s Vineyard... And fishing! We haven’t used it for that yet, but the boat is nicely set up for it.” Persistence also helped lead them to Boston Whaler in the first place. Cody had grown up boating on small lakes in Wisconsin, while Jeanne had occasionally boated around Long Island with friends; life on the water always held a special appeal. By the time they had settled in Connecticut and started a family, the Zimmers knew owning a boat had to be part of the picture. Dreaming of the many possibilities, they began what quickly became an in-depth research project. “Cody’s an analyst,” Jeanne says. “To say we looked at every boat on the market isn’t a stretch.” She laughs. “He is tenacious when he wants something. He analyzed and did his research. So it’s fair to say we were confident about the choice.”
Whether theyâ€™re playing catch, looking for lighthouses, or planning what to bring back for show-and-tell, Reagan and Parker enjoy every minute on their familyâ€™s 270 Vantage.
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“It’s not even just the unsinkable part. We’d been in other boats with lower sides, and you know, kids are unpredictable. With this boat, I felt like they were actually safe.” “Initially we weren’t sure if we wanted a cabin boat or a bow rider,” Cody explains. “We considered a lot of options. But when we walked on the Vantage at the New York Boat Show, I said, ‘This is it.’ It’s great for everything—tooling around, fishing, longer trips. It’s got the joystick, so you don’t have to worry about docking. And we knew from everything we’d read that the safety and ride quality were fantastic.” “It’s not even just the unsinkable part,” Jeanne continues. “We’d been in other boats with lower sides, and you know, kids are unpredictable. With this boat, I felt like they were actually safe. It’s got the higher sides, the rails to hold onto… not to mention the ride was ridiculously good. After the first time out, I said to Cody, this thing cuts through the water like—well, you don’t feel a thing.” Boating on the Atlantic proved to be quite a change from those quiet Midwestern lakes familiar to Cody. The ocean presented new challenges like learning the tides and taking care to avoid shoals and reefs. Oliver Calloway—a USCG Licensed Captain who works with the Zimmers’ dealership, MarineMax of Connecticut—walked Cody through all the ins and outs, offering guidance and building the confidence to take on bigger boating adventures. “Our whole experience with MarineMax has been great,” Cody says, crediting General Manager David Dzurilla for always going above and beyond. “I don’t think I’d ever want to own a boat and not keep it where it’s serviced. We pay a little extra to have the dock guys clean and prep our boat because it buys us a little more family time. And if we ever have a service question or anything, they’re on it.” “Plus, the atmosphere there is so nice, like a boat club feeling,” Jeanne says. “MarineMax hosts barbecues at the marina and other events where you get to know everyone. You don’t feel like just some random person who keeps their boat at the dock. They know us, they know our kids.” Occasionally, Cody and Jeanne use the 270 Vantage for date nights, taking advantage of the boat’s grill to cook sausages or seafood before cozying up in the cockpit until sundown. Most often, though, the whole family is included in the fun. “We’re excited for the kids to grow up boating,” Jeanne says. “We love knowing that even as they become teenagers, they’ll still want to spend time with us on the boat.” To see Reagan and Parker paddling around in the water with Penny, or huddled together on the portside lounge seat, whispering in twin language, it’s clear they’re having the time of their lives. Watching their little ones in action, Cody and Jeanne clearly are, too.
BOATING WITH PETS
For many Families, an outing on the boat isn’t
complete without their furry first mate. Most dogs— and even some cats—take well to the water. Some, like Penny, go absolutely nuts for it. If you’re planning to bring Fido or Felix aboard, the following tips will help ensure everybody has a safe and enjoyable trip.
Get Them Acclimated Practice swimming to make sure your pet is comfortable with the water. Walk around the dock and have them board your boat a few times to familiarize them with the environment, and turn on the engines to get them used to the sounds.
Show Some ID Your dog or cat should always be wearing its collar and a tag with your contact info, just in case you get separated. Having your pet microchipped is also a smart idea.
Wear Those Life Jackets Even strong swimmers benefit from wearing a life jacket, especially in rough water or fast currents. Choose a PFD with a handle to make it easier to lift your pet into the boat.
Be Prepared The Humane Society recommends pet-specific supplies that should be included in a boating first-aid kit. If your pet suffers from motion sickness, ask your vet about giving them Dramamine.
Plan for Sun Bring along plenty of water for your pet, and provide them with a shady place to rest out of the hot sun. Dogs and cats can get sunburned; apply a pet sunscreen to their belly and inside their hind legs.
Remember, some pets may never warm up to boating, and that’s okay! Don’t force it. But if your critters show an inclination, then welcoming them onto your Whaler can make things more fun for everyone.
Texans David and Becky Burleson unleash their spirit of adventureâ€” and their appetite for serious fishingâ€”with a little help from their 380 Outrage
Story by Amy Wideman Photos by Mike Calabro Fish Photos Courtesy of David Burleson
W When a fish is on, the creW aboard david and becky burleson’s 380 outrage is a Well-oiled machine. The two, along with their trusted fishing guides Ashly Fenton and Rick Sowers, move in harmony, tag-teaming like old pros. “You take this one!” somebody shouts, while a free pair of hands grabs a spare reel and pulls it out of the way. Soon, a behemoth mahi or sailfish appears on the deck, a triumphant symbol of teamwork, skill and grit. You’d never guess the couple were newbies to the sport. Yet, prior to this summer, Becky says with a wink, “You probably wouldn’t catch me holding a rod. The only thing I held onto was a glass of champagne!” The Burlesons purchased their 380 Outrage in 2017 and initially planned to use it for leisurely cruises in the bays around Port Aransas, Texas. But within weeks, a latent passion began to emerge in both of them, stirred by the capabilities of their new boat. It wasn’t long before they’d fallen in love with fishing—hook, line and sinker. “Before this Whaler, we sort of played like we were fishing, but it wasn’t something I thought I wanted to do,” Becky explains. “We love being on the water, and for years that was enough for us. Now our boating has gone from relaxing and watching the dolphins swim past to some really hardcore fishing.” The Burlesons are quick to credit their fishing guides for helping them make the turn. With Ashly at the helm and Rick in the cockpit, showing them the ropes, they were able to get up to speed quickly. “Those guys really got us fired up for it,” David says. The incredible variety of fish they encounter out in the Gulf of Mexico helps keep those fires stoked: blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tilefish, red snapper, mahi-mahi… the list goes on and on. Already their photo album is filled with images of them grinning proudly, holding up a startlingly huge specimen of one kind or another. Part of the fun for the Burlesons is sharing their bounty with friends and neighbors. “Normally when we have a nice catch, we feed the masses. We put the call out to a big group: ‘We’re gonna make fish!’ And Ashly takes some to whoever he knows would appreciate it.”
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The Aransas Pass Light Station, also called the Lydia Anna Lighthouse, has weathered Civil War, hurricanes and generations of keepers. (Below leÂ ) David and Ashly hoist an impressive red snapper. (Below middle) Becky enjoys the view.
“We don’t need to fill the freezer with fish when we can always go out and catch it fresh all over again.” (Left) Becky raises a toast to the good life aboard their 380 Outrage, Total Depth. (Top right) She and two friends relax on the boat’s spacious forward lounge. (Center) A visual example of the Gulf’s bounty.
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Besides being the neighborly thing to do, their generosity provides a perfect excuse to head back out. “We don’t need to fill the freezer with fish when we can always go out and catch it fresh all over again,” Becky says. The couple has made a lot of friends by embracing the marina culture in Port Aransas. David describes the “Coconut Telegraph” approach that keeps everyone in their tightknit group informed of the latest news and the best bets for fishing. “We all speak to each other all the time, you know, ‘This is where we are, this is what we caught, this is how we did it…’” David says. “It’s great to see people helping each other.” He and Becky split their time between their home in Canyon Lake, about 3 hours north, and their place on the Gulf. (The ratio gradually seems to be tipping in favor of the latter.) October and November tend to be their favorite months, after the intense heat of summer has been replaced with milder temperatures. While they may be new to serious fishing, this isn’t their first rodeo when it comes to boating. A native of Texas, David
grew up around the water, and by age 18 had already bought his first bass boat. Over the years, the Burlesons have owned several Boston Whalers, moving from a 170 Montauk (“Great little boat,” David says), to a 220 and then a 230 Dauntless, followed by a 315 Conquest, and finally the 380 Outrage. “I’d always known about Whalers,” David says. “Growing up, I knew people who had them and raved about them. Very stable, dry, all those good things. And from a resale standpoint, they hold their value better than anything. As we say in Texas, they’re bulletproof!” For their last several purchases, Sail & Ski has been their go-to dealership, with locations in Austin, Lakeway and San Antonio. “Sail & Ski has been really good to us,” David says. “We’ve known our salesman, Mark Pena, for about 25 years. He’s always there to help if I need something; he’s really become a friend. And Service Manager Mark Singleton and his son, Steven, take great care of us. They’re super friendly, super knowledgeable.”
GREAT GULF GETAWAYS With hundreds of miles of Gulf shoreline, the coast of Texas is a playground for anglers and boaters of all stripes. Consider these popular destinations for your next trip.
As it turned out, the Outrage took a circuitous path to get from Boston Whaler’s manufacturing facility in Edgewater, Florida, to the Burlesons. Right as the boat was being prepped for delivery, Hurricane Harvey struck, wreaking havoc on Port Aransas. Before the dust had settled in Texas, Florida faced its own onslaught with Hurricane Maria. The Whaler was whisked to Lake Travis, where Sail & Ski looked after it until the Burlesons’ home marina had been restored. “We should have named the boat ‘Hurricane Dodger,’ or something like that,” Becky says with a wry laugh. “The season was a rough one for a lot of people.” “Port Aransas was all torn up,” David recalls. “Everything was closed; there was debris everywhere. It’s still not back to normal— this year, a lot of condos and hotels haven’t reopened yet. But I tell you, the locals have to be the strongest group of people I’ve ever met. They just keep going and going.” Beyond their deep-sea fishing adventures, the Burlesons continue to enjoy sharing their boating lifestyle with family and friends, squeezing in the occasional “just us” time, as well. Comfort-minded features on the 380 Outrage make it as well suited for pleasure cruises as it is for chasing monster fish. “All we do is mention we’re going out and people raise their hands. We’ve become quite popular!” Becky laughs. When in relaxation mode, she favors the boat’s forward lounge, an inviting spot where she can cozy up with her grandkids. David typically mans the helm, where he’s happy to let Skyhook and Joystick Piloting technology make his job easy. “My 4-year-old grandson will sit up next to me and act like captain. He thinks he’s driving us all over the world,” David says, chuckling. “He doesn’t need to know it’s on auto-pilot.” From feasting on the ocean’s finest, to spending quality time on the water with loved ones, the Burlesons are grateful for all the ways their Outrage is enhancing their lives—including their newfound sport-fishing addiction. “The boat and all the people we’ve met at the marina have opened up a whole new world for us,” Becky says. “It’s been a blessing, it really has.”
South Padre Island
From The Strand district’s abundance of history and culture, to the wild amusements of Pleasure Pier and Schlitterbahn waterpark, this famed port city is a guaranteed good time.
Morning, noon and night, South Padre is alive with music, watersports, beach games and delicious food. Don’t let the Spring Breakers deter you; it’s family-friendly year-round.
Tour the historic Fulton Mansion, take an art gallery walk, see the whooping cranes of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and soak up small-town charm galore.
With 4,000 acres of marshland, Port Arthur’s Sea Rim State Park offers an array of camping, beachcombing, birdwatching, kayaking and fishing opportunities.
re afor d y actio n The all-new 130 and 160 Super Sport are nimble, spacious and empowering Story by Amy Wideman Photos courtesy of Boston Whaler
It’s a superpower, really—beIng able to leap Into actIon at a moment’s notIce. the heroes of great mythology, comIc books and major-league sports all share thIs traIt, lIke sprIngs ready to uncoIl the moment a damsel needs rescuIng or a haIl mary pass needs catchIng.
Instant preparedness comes in handy for other situations, as well. Say the grandkids are visiting from out of town and begging to explore the lake… or your fishing buddy has just tipped you off to a voracious school of bass in the area… or the water is unexpectedly glasslike on a Saturday morning and the siren song of your wakeboard is ringing loud and clear. In any of these scenarios, you’d be wise to call upon another “super” being: a Boston Whaler Super Sport. Long beloved for their load-and-go readiness, the nimble Super Sport models have always made getting out on the water a piece of cake. Now, for model year 2019, the popular series has undergone a keel-up redesign, enabling them to deliver greater performance, comfort and versatility than ever before. Operation is simple; command is steady and predictable; maintenance requirements are practically nil.
(Opposite page and left) The new 130 Super Sport, shown with optional rear-accent hull color in light blue. (Above) The new 160 Super Sport, featuring the sun-top and ski-tow options.
“We’re excited to give the Super Sport series a fresh redesign that adds some great new features.” “The new 130 and 160 Super Sport are designed to make every outing safe, comfortable and hassle-free,” said Boston Whaler Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Jeff Vaughn. “For decades, boaters have chosen the Super Sport because of its low-maintenance durability, unsinkable safety and incredible ease of use. We’re excited to give the series a fresh redesign that adds some great new features and brings the boats even more in line with consumer preferences.” Effortless operation is a hallmark of the new 130 and 160 Super Sport. Each model features an intuitive side-console helm station, complete with two full-sized drink holders that keep hydration within reach. Optional VesselView Mobile technology lets you keep tabs on basic boat functions right from your phone. A standard Mercury® FourStroke engine—40-hp on the 130 and 75-hp on the 160—delivers impressive fuel efficiency and reliability, reflecting Mercury’s passion for innovation and commitment to providing the highest quality propulsion on the water.
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(This page) Popular features and options on the new Super Sports include a bow cushion, a console-side cooler seat with cushion, standard side-mount Mercury controls, and a new lockable console storage compartment. (Opposite) The 160 Super Sport beaches easily.
The Super Sports arrive “Exploration-Ready,” with a standard extra drink storage; roomy bench seating with cushioned backrests; and galvanized trailer to facilitate the journey from driveway to launch an ergonomic bucket sport seat option. An optional bow cushion turns ramp. The boats’ precision-engineered hulls and extremely shallow the front of the boat into an inviting place to lounge. draft (10 inches on the 160; 9 inches on the 130) empower boaters to For watersports fans, the 160 Super Sport is available with a navigate big, open lakes and small, hidden powder-coated ski tow or ski arch, an optional waterways with equal confidence. A rakish 90-hp Mercury® engine, and an optional The boats’ shallow draft new profile gives these sporty performers a 19-gallon fuel tank upgrade. Additional sleek, stylish look, which can be enhanced empowers boaters to navigate options include a sun-top with boot and by new graphics options including several stainless-steel fittings, and a removable small, hidden waterways rear-accent hull colors. windshield, both lending protection from Comfort has also been maximized. the elements. with confidence. Optimal use of onboard space makes the “We feel confident that boaters are really 130 and 160 feel much larger than their going to love this next generation of Super respective lengths. The boats feature new dual aft swim platforms Sport,” said Vaughn. “The 130 and 160 maintain the load-and-go readand a stainless-steel aft swim ladder, extending the fun all the way iness and easy trailerability of their predecessors, while employing to the water. Storage has been improved, as well, with a new lockable strategic design changes and enhanced features that make them better storage compartment in front of the console to keep wallets, keys and than ever.” cell phones secure. So the next time a warm, cloudless sky begins to beckon, there’s A variety of available seating configurations allow boaters to tailor nothing stopping you from acting on impulse: Get out on the water the layout to their needs, including a cooler seat with cushion for and enjoy the day to its fullest.
Sto r y by J E NNI F E R C H E SA K | P h oto s by RO B E RT G LOV E R
c o o l • c A l m •A d V e n t u r e A West PAlm BeAch couPle cruises to Ports of cAll With confidence in their Boston WhAler 345 conquest
Like most of us,
the Felton family tends to stay busy with work and other commitments. So when they’ve carved out a time for one of their favorite activities, boating, they’re not about to let something as unpredictable as the forecast stand between them and their Whaler. “When we pick a weekend to go over to the Bahamas, there’s not much leeway,” David Felton says. “We pick it months in advance. So when that weekend comes, we’ve got to deal with the weather we’re dealt. Sometimes we’re crossing in 5- to 7-foot seas, and I feel totally comfortable on that boat.” (These pages) David and Nadja Felton in their happy place, aboard their Boston Whaler 345 Conquest.
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A VOYAGE-WORTHY VESSEL
He’s talking about the family’s 345 Conquest, with its strong-butquiet triple 350-hp Mercury Verado® engines. David and his wife, Nadja, live in West Palm Beach, Florida, and say they first fell in love with the Conquest model at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show. “We were thoroughly impressed with the layout,” David says. “And we knew that Whalers were really well-made. After visiting the boat probably 20 times, we did a trial and then pulled the trigger.” Apparently pleased with their purchase, they then upgraded to the 2018 model. Both boats turned out to be a good investment, and David and Nadja were happy with the buying process at MarineMax Palm Beach. “Our salesperson, Danny Brown, has been great to work with,” David says. “He’s always available, and he’s got a plethora of information.” The Feltons had owned an express-style fishing boat prior to their first Whaler, but they didn’t feel confident in its reliability or design, especially with their son, Gerrit (now 16), and daughter, Sydney (now 14), onboard. “We’d been caught out in the elements several times,” David says. “We wanted something that had an enclosure.” With the confidence of a Whaler under their feet, the Feltons have been able to truly enjoy their days on the water and focus on new horizons. Still, they maintain respect for the sea, what Mother Nature can bring on, and the thrill of what’s around the bend. “When going out on the ocean, you’ve got to be aware,” David says. “It’s an adventure; that’s probably the best way to describe it. And going to new places you’ve never been before is always exciting.”
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“Sometimes we’re crossing in 5- to 7-foot seas, and I feel totally comfortable on that boat.” Whether they’re boating with the whole family, a group of friends, or just the two of them, David and Nadja enjoy the peace of mind their Conquest provides. The boat’s convertible aft lounge seat and spacious helm area are just two of their favorite spots.
A CRUISING COUPLE
With just 50 miles separating the Feltons from the closest point in the Bahamas, they make an effort to head there regularly, but they’re also eager to explore new routes. And while they love it when the kids join them, David and Nadja enjoy their alone time onboard. This summer, they took a one-week trip down the East Coast to Key West, up the Gulf Coast, up the Caloosahatchee River, across Lake Okeechobee, and on to the St. Lucie Canal to return home. “When it’s just us, we stay on the boat, whether on-hook or in the marina,” David says, noting that he appreciates the 345 Conquest’s forward berth and its Dynamic Cabin System, which converts the bed into a dining table via an actuated lift. “It gives you a lot of room down in the cabin when you’ve got people onboard. And it makes for a really nice-sized berth when you’re spending the night. The layout of the boat is phenomenal. Best in class, as far as I’m concerned.”
The Conquest also facilitates father-son time with Gerrit, who has gotten into fishing and lobstering in the Bahamas and the Keys. “We’re usually snorkeling,” David explains. “We go down there with a measuring stick, find ’em in a hole, stick a hand in, grab it out, measure it and throw it in the boat,” he says of the lobsters. Both Gerrit and David are also certified to dive, and they often nab the crustaceans on charter-boat scuba excursions. Now that they’re becoming more experienced with their underwater adventures, they plan to use the Whaler. “I think the boat is set up really nicely for diving,” David says.
“The layout of the boat is phenomenal. Best in class, as far as I’m concerned.” HISTORY OF PEANUT ISLAND
Peanut Island is a manmade recreational treasure perched at the mouth of the Lake Worth Inlet. The 79-acre spot, punctuated with palm trees, was created from port dredging remnants in 1918. It gets its name from a planned-but-aborted peanut oil shipping operation. Perhaps the most fascinating fact about this gem is that it houses an old bunker (built in 1961) meant to shelter President John F. Kennedy in the event of a nuclear attack. The Kennedy compound was once open for tours via the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, but it has since been closed to the public. Now, Peanut Island, a Palm Beach County Park, mainly serves as a sandy stretch of respite for campers, snorkelers, kayakers, beachcombers and boaters like the Feltons.
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(Left) Nadja takes the wheel. (Below) David carves a tight turn. “The boat handles rough water easily,” he raves.
In addition to seeking out lobster, David and Gerrit like to join up with friends and head to the Abaco Islands or Bimini to target a variety of species, including wahoo, tuna, dolphin fish, sailfish, snapper, grouper and yellowtail. “The pelagic fishing is really good going offshore here,” David says. “You go to around 600 feet of water and find weeds and birds or schools of baitfish, and you can usually find the type of fish that you want to bring home.”
When they’re not boating and fishing, the Feltons can be found at any number of musical functions. Both teens attend Dreyfoos School of the Arts, where Gerrit plays the cello and runs track, and Sydney plays the viola. “I’m really proud of them because they work really hard at it,” David says. He works in real estate and operates out of a condo at the marina where he keeps the Whaler, and Nadja works for Tesla. The West Palm Beach area serves as a jumping-off point for the whole Felton crew to take day trips to Peanut Island when the mood strikes. Low tide exposes a nice sandbar stretching off the manmade landmark. “People anchor up there, and you can go walking out,” David says. “You’re knee-deep in the water, and it’s always fun to throw the Frisbee or the football around. It’s perfect to sit down with a cold drink and relax.” The family uses the boat for quick hits of family time by cruising to waterside eateries in the evenings. A favorite locale includes
the downtown Delray Beach area on Atlantic Avenue. “It’s a whole strip of restaurants and bars,” David explains. “And they have a public dock you can pull up to and just get out and walk to dinner.” David loves being on the water in any way he can. As a Florida native, he grew up near the ocean but never had access to a personal vessel. It was a goal always on his mind. “I was in my early 30s when I got my first boat, and I’ve loved it ever since and have had a boat ever since,” he says. Nadja, on the other hand, wasn’t as keen on the idea at first. “She thought I was crazy when I told her I wanted to get a boat,” David remembers with a laugh. But she quickly took to the on-water lifestyle. “She loves going to the Bahamas and taking our summer trips and staying onboard,” David says. And now that the Feltons have had the Whaler experience, she’s confident in the family’s safety. “We’ve been out in some nasty stuff,” David says. “But it handles big waves well, and with the radar, we can track the storms. If we need to, we can go around them.” Which is perfect, because it means that now, almost nothing stands between the Feltons and a trip to the Bahamas.
this fall, a group of whaler owners hosted more than 60 well-deserving veterans on their boats for a day of fishing and camaraderie Story by Amy Wideman
| Photos by Mike Calabro
A dense fog hAd
settled over the mArinA in the pre-dAwn hours, obscuring the boston whAlers bobbing
gently in the hArbor. up on lAnd, A group of Anglers wAs gAthered for A cAptAinâ€™s meeting, fueling up on donuts And hot coffee while the rules of A fishing tournAment were explAined. The anglers were there to participate in Septemberâ€™s Take a Vet Fishing Tournament, the second annual event of its kind hosted by Hampton Watercraft & Marine in Hampton Bays, New York. Nearly two dozen boat owners volunteered to take more than 60 local veterans out for a day of fishing, donating their time and expertise, and supplying all of the tackle, fuel and gear necessary for a successful run. Anglers departed from Hampton Bays in a murky fog (this page) but by mid-morning were treated to glorious skies and catches worthy of celebrating at weigh-in (following pages).
Advertised locally and by word of mouth, the event drew vets of all ages and branches of the U.S. military. Some had served in Vietnam, others in Iraq and Afghanistan. One had proudly served in World War II. Many participants rode in together that morning on a bus from the Hampton Bays VFW, an organization whose mission is to support the military and assist veterans and local youth. Volunteer and former sportfishing captain Pat McCarthy participated for the second year in a row, taking a group out on his 380 Outrage. A longtime customer of Hampton Watercraft, Pat has purchased three Boston Whalers from the dealership over the years. He jumped at the opportunity to help in the tournament. “It’s such a special event to be a part of,” he says. “I love supporting the VFW, and I appreciate this chance to give something back to our veterans.” Before heading out, the group was given a rundown of the eligible species. First-place prizes, they learned, would be awarded to the heaviest fish in each of seven categories: Striped bass, porgy, fluke, black sea bass, weakfish, bluefish and sea robin. Located toward the eastern end of Long Island, Hampton Bays made for a terrific jumping-off point: The anglers were free to fish Shinnecock Inlet and Shinnecock Bay, and could head as far out into the ocean as they pleased—provided they were back before weigh-in closed. “It’s a perfect spot for a tournament,” says Hampton Watercraft & Marine Event Coordinator Megan Buckley. “The teams can fish two different bays and the ocean.” Once the rules were established, the anglers made their way down the docks in groups of three to six, huddling close to discuss strategy with their crew members. Their flag-adorned coolers, donated by Boston Whaler, were the last thing to disappear from sight as they entered the fog shrouding their vessels.
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One by one, the boats slipped out of the marina through the peasoup air, captains and electronics on high alert. Some of the teams made their way to secret spots on the bay, while others ventured offshore. One crew traveled all the way to Montauk, covering more than 30 miles in search of prime hunting ground. Fortunately, the fog was short-lived: Within an hour of departure, the clouds had lifted to reveal glassy water and bluebird skies, treating the group to truly perfect weather conditions. Michael Aguilar was among the volunteers to offer up his Boston Whaler and his fishing knowledge for the day, hosting four veterans
“It was great to give them an opportunity to be out on the water and get that unique perspective of looking back at land from offshore.” on his 270 Vantage. “Most of the vets were not ‘hardcore’ fishermen, and many hadn’t really been fishing since they were kids,” he says. “It was great to give them an opportunity to be out on the water and get that unique perspective of looking back at land from offshore.” The hours passed quickly, with team members taking turns working the lines and the more experienced fishermen offering tips and tricks. Last year, the crew on Pat McCarthy’s boat won for an impressive 8-pound fluke, but this year victory eluded them. “We caught a couple of sea robins, nothing to brag about,” Pat says, chuckling. “That was okay, though. Everybody had a really great time regardless.” Among the tools in Pat’s arsenal was a spinning rod handmade by Hank Altenkirk, a third-generation rod builder well-known among the fishing crowd in Hampton Bays. Hank’s grandfather, Charles, made rods for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, among other notables; modern-day customers of the Altenkirks are said to include Martha Stewart and Billy Joel. Hank himself attended the tournament to lend his support. As weigh-in drew near, the crews headed back to show off their biggest catches. Boats were secured in the harbor, pounds and ounces were tallied, photos of noteworthy fish were snapped, and finally, the important part: lunch! Hampton Watercraft hosted a big cookout and awards ceremony to wrap up the event. Many of the veterans’ family members joined in the fun, feasting on hamburgers, hotdogs and BBQ ribs. Local bait and tackle shops had contributed prizes for giveaways, and the winners in each fish category were given their due. New York 1st District Congressman Lee Zeldin even came by to pay his respects. “It’s such a friendly, social event,” Megan says. “You get this strong sense of camaraderie. We love doing it.”
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• JP Kergaravat & Mike Crowe • Jay Barnes • Brad Reiss - Jazzy One Charters (2 wins) • Tom Jones • David Mayer • Paul Calandrella - Bumbulini Fishing Team
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