As retirement age neared, they prepared themselves for getting that boat and doing some cruising. In 2003, they took a boat-handling and near-shore cruising course with Hansen’s company, which included chartering a Grand Banks 32. “That whetted our appetite for a trawler-type boat,” Denison says.
Two years later, they completed South Florida Yachts’ offshore course and cruised from Fort Myers to Key West and back with a captain. Hansen helped the couple find their retirement boat, a 42-foot Grand Banks with twin 375-hp diesels. “The boat will really get up and go, but we intend to travel most of the time at 8 to 10 knots,” Denison says. He wants both fuel economy and reserve speed.
Before buying Mar-Kat, named for daughters Margaret and Kathleen, “We went to boat shows. We went to [PassageMaker magazine’s] Trawler Fests. We went to all the events that exposed us to different styles of boats,” he says. Recently, they’ve been attending seminars at Trawler Fest (www.trawlerfest.com) and Passagemaker University — an educational extension of Trawler Fest — to learn all they can about cruising. Their plans: vacation in Mexico, cruise Alaska on a crewed 65-foot steel-hulled trawler, do the Great Loop or half the Loop on their Grand Banks, and spend time at their second home in the Adirondacks. Denison also may work a week or two a month as a safety consultant certifying corporate jets. And he expects to do much of the boat maintenance himself, since he is well-qualified.
It’s a full plate — but one that he and Amy are looking forward to.
For many, the great adventure is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that leads to retirement and the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream. “I think most of the people we see buying our boats are retirement age,” says Jim Leishman, vice president of Pacific Asian Enterprises, the Dana Point, Calif., builder of Nordhavn oceangoing passagemakers (www.nordhavn.com).
Many of a younger age may be able to afford a Nordhavn, and they may desperately want to own one, but they don’t have the time to use it yet, he says. Buyers typically are in their late 50s or early 60s, affluent, often still working but nearing retirement, and looking for a window of time when they can go cruising, do some exploring, have some out-of-the-box experiences.
“They want kind of an exciting retirement,” says Leishman. “But they can’t afford to wait five years. By then, they might not be in physical shape to go cruising. They know what they want to do, and they know how much time they have to do it.”
These cruisers are looking to go places many would never have thought of going in a powerboat a decade ago — Alaska, Central America, around Cape Horn, the Mediterranean, the Galapagos, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, even around the world. “The sea is the last great frontier for people to go out and have an adventure,” says Leishman. “It’s attainable.”
For couples who enjoy the destination more than the passage, Dockwise Yacht Transport ships yachts to the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates aboard semisubmersible carriers (www.yacht-
transport.com). The cost isn’t cheap — $26,000 to $40,000 to ship a 50-foot motoryacht from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Genoa, Italy, depending on the season — but it does extend a boat’s cruising range. “We’ve made it possible for smaller yachts to cross oceans, yachts that don’t have the range or seaworthiness to do it on their own,” says Dockwise president Clemens van der Werf.