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An Oldtimer and Newtimers in the 2007-08 St. Thomas Charter Fleet

When tall, lean Dave Kummerle flew down to St. Croix in 1965 to teach secondary science at the Christiansted High School, he really didn’t know where he was. So many islands! So much ocean! The sheer beauty wooed him to start a new successful career of painting with various mediums. But the sea was oh, so seductive and, although he had lived on a 30-foot yawl, he wanted more time at sea.

After a personal life change he taught and managed the St. Croix Sailing School from l987-89 before buying a CSY 37 to start chartering in 1990. Dave wanted to name the boat Glory because of the glorious sea and sunsets here. Trouble was, there were other boats named Glory so he settled on Glory of Christiansted.  It is a good name but the customs officials hate him because they can’t spell Christiansted.

He found that he couldn’t charter his busy boat in season and also paint, but his natural propensity to teach made his boat an ideal classroom to teach sailing, show what it was like to live on a boat, and keep it up which he did on Glory for 17 years. Today many of his old students are training instructors and come back. Dave used to charter year-round but when too many hurricanes came, he found it wasn’t such a good idea to have charter folks aboard during storms such as Lenny (1999), which appeared from the west so quickly that there was barely time to get safely situated. Now his summers are spent at Green Cay Marina at St. Croix.

As for the 33rd VICL boat show at Yacht Haven Grande, Dave found it refreshing and excellent. He is also very impressed with the docks and aprons and the very professional and friendly staff at Yacht Haven Grande. As for the present USVI administration, he believes it will be more sympathetic and supportive to the charter industry.

Beginning this charter season are relatively “newtimers,” Pat and Mat Bockh on their “baby” 84-foot motor yacht, NSS Pattam, which they have had since 2003.  You’re probably wondering what NSS means?  Each letter stands for the first name of their three children and the boat name is a contraction of theirs.

In 1984 they first started cruising on a 42-foot Beneteau in the Caribbean, then in an Irwin 52 named Powerless and afterwards a 130-ft research vessel before acquiring their present “baby” vessel. They prefer motor yachts because a sailboat does not have as much room as a motorboat. They also maintain a home at Treasure Island in Florida and sometimes cruise in the Bahamas when not on charter.

Mat was born in Hungary and raised in Venezuela before coming to the states. He caught the boat bug early at age 12 and later “convinced” a young lass named Pat to join him permanently on the sea. Pat is an avid and creative chef and is enthusiastic about cooking for her guests.  She owned and operated a restaurant in Connecticut, which gave her many opportunities to hone her special dishes. As the primary helmsperson, Pat keeps one foot on the wheel and the other in the galley – almost at the same time!

After some chartering, they decided to base mostly out of St. Thomas because it seemed the best place for their charter business, in that they would have more attention here than elsewhere. Pat and Mat look forward to the challenges and fun of chartering and, in particular, getting to know and be with people. The two are very upbeat and rarin’ to go. More power to them!

Having been to at least two dozen VICL boat shows, this author rates this year’s November 2007 show as one of the very best because of the VICL board’s superb organization for the yachts, crews, brokers and guests. Yacht Haven Grande was eager to please all concerned and provided excellent accommodations and service.

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