October 05, 2012
By Rick Ryals
This may come as a shock, but there are some "untruths" ingrained in the business of being a owner or captain of a bluewater boat.
Here's a few examples: "Honey if we spend 150k on a new boat, we'll get free fresh seafood whenever we want." I'm not sure I need to explain that one. We really don't offshore fish to provide for our family. Abstaining from it would do a much better job of "Providing."
"The new boat I've ordered will do 60 mph, burn 2 gallons an hour, and be ready by next Tuesday..." Wanna bet?
"The two happiest days in a boat owner's life is when he buys it, and when he sells it." Oh boy, I'm afraid that one just caught me right between the eyes, on a boat I didn't even own.
I have been the captain of Mr. Barri Vicker's offshore boat for the last 12 years. We have had a 28 Albemarle, and two 35 Cabos. It looks like the latest Cabo, the Dos Amigos III, sold this week. Now I was really excited about that, because it looks like a fabulous 43 Cabo may be in our future.
Now the DA III was the best boat I've ever been on. Barri and I spent countless hours laying out every inch of it, and we have had an amazing 6 years of fishing it. When the news came we had an offer, I went down with a big smile on my face to start unloading 6 years of gear. I figured it would take a couple hours, and a couple storage bins, and I could start getting ready to load the 43. Unfortunately the first thing I put my hand on to load up was the boat's photo album.
Suddenly the stories of fishing the DA III were right there in front of me. There was my daughter and I holding up her first sailfish. I'm so glad the camera focus was poor. You couldn't see the seasickness in her face, or the tears in our eyes. Uh oh, there's our first blue marlin. We told everybody he was pushing 300 pounds. Well, now it's 5 years later, and he may have made 300 by now.
I can remember telling myself to hurry it up, but then there was a picture of my favorite Grandson. His little 3-year-old butt had climbed the tower for the first time and he screamed, "Grandpa this is so awesome!" I was getting nowhere fast unloading, but I was now certain this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. So many friends, so many trips. There was Clay Ludwig. He was 13 with a difficult speech impediment in the first pictures, trying to hold up fish he couldn't get off the deck. There were also pictures of him leaving the crew as a crackerjack 19-year-old mate, on his way to seminary.
Madyson Darner was holding up a 34-pound mahi. We had to rush her 9-year-old body in and out of the cabin in a hurry. The chemo, that was fighting her inoperable brain tumor meant she could only handle a few minutes of sun at a time. I choked when I remembered her heavy southern accent, "Captain Rick, my arms are tired, but them dolphin are deeaaaaddd."
All I can tell you is, I'm not done unloading yet. The picture album remains. I'm going to walk the new owner through every story. They're gonna have to hear about 4 blue marlin in a day, and the unreal party that followed it, going on all night. I want to make sure if they don't have the time of their lives, they don't blame the boat.
No sir. It's not true. If the Dos Amigos sells next week, I know I speak for Barri and I both, when I say there won't be much happiness for little awhile.