By Dan Streech
Ed.note: Earlier this week, Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) president Dan Streech received a note with a photo in the mail. Instantly, he knew he wanted to write an op-ed piece about it.
Hey Dan – Jim,
Found this while sorting through some old pictures the other day.
Thought you should have this cpy from June 1st, 1976, made me sit down and think, if you hadn’t built Friendship my life would have been merely normal and hum-drum! But you did! So, thanks for starting me into a beautiful life, full of excitement, fun, adventure, new places, and doing things that I otherwise would never have done. Spent 27 years on board and never regretted one minute.
Prior to the formation of PAE Yacht Builders in 1979 and before the introduction of the Mason 43 which was our first wholly owned yacht project, we were importing other yachts from Taiwan. Jim Leishman and I, together with our former partner Joe Meglen (who retired in 2004), imported CT sailboats and a lovely sailboat called the Transpac 49.
The Transpac 49 was conceived and built by one of the very early Taiwanese yacht manufacturers called Transpacific Marine which was formed by two Americans; Ennals and Nancy Ives. We became aware of Transpacific Marine after selling a very pretty 38-foot wooden sailboat which Ennals and Nancy had built. The boat had been designed by Al Mason and had been beautifully constructed using edge nailed cypress planking on laminated frames… all exposed and gorgeous to see and smell. We all fell in love with that boat and contacted Ennals (by writing a letter and mailing it) with a request for him to build some wooden Mason 38s that we could sell in California.
The answer came back that Transpacific Marine was transitioning from wood to FRP (fiberglass) and in fact had a new project to present: the Transpac 49. In those days, a 49-foot FRP boat was a monster and almost ground breaking, but we jumped on board and ordered hull #1.
This story could go on and on… but that is for another day. The real purpose of this post is to honor an old friend, the fellow who bought Transpac 49 #1 from us in 1976 for the staggering sum of $78,000 and help put PAE (which wasn’t even PAE yet) on the road to building over 800 boats and creating a brand which is now known around the world. We hadn’t heard from Norm Boehm in a few years but yesterday’s snail mail brought in a classic old photo and a note from Norm.
Norm’s touching words say it all, but I will add that there is a lesson to be learned from this simple rugged boat (no air-conditioning, no inverter, 3 wire 30 amp electrical system, holding plate refrigeration, no hydraulics). Transpac 49 #1 (appropriately called Friendship) has outlasted wars, recessions, cancer, a wife, Facebook, seven U.S. Presidents and much more, and brought happiness and a life of adventure to the man who owned her. In this intense modern world, it is not easy to concentrate and find the focus and time to enjoy the lifestyle that is available when owning a boat.
As you can imagine if you are reading this site, Nordhavns, and the image they evoke, bring out more passion and emotion than almost any other brand of boat. Literally thousands of people dream of owning a Nordhavn and our job involves interacting with them at boat shows and in our offices. Contrary to popular belief, the number one reason people today end up not buying the boat of their dreams is lack of time… NOT lack of money. This is polar opposite to what we faced 25 years ago and is something to think about. There are too many people who will not have Norm’s experience.
With 549 Nordhavns now having been sold (along with 212 Mason sailboats and 35 Transpac 49s), we know that there are many other great stories out there and many life changing memories being made every day. If you have the chance, please read through the Owner’s Blog section of our web site, where examples of these abound. The blogs open up into literally thousands of pages of narrative and photos which are wonderfully educational and inspirational. And for every Nordhavn that you see represented in a blog, there are five others quietly doing exactly the same thing.
What is the message in this post? I will let the famous quote from Scott Flanders, ex-Nordhavn 46 adventurer and pioneer and still advocate, (borrowing from a well-known sports brand’s campaign) answer that question. His words: “Just do it.”