Starting a boating lifestyle can sometimes be difficult with so many factors involved, but Doug and Bobbie Goad finally took the leap a few years ago by purchasing a sailboat before moving up to a power boat. New friendships were forged over the course of a few years, but then tragedy struck. A marina fire caused a great loss of property for many boat owners along with the loss of the Goad’s closest friends whom were staying on their boat in the marina at the time.
After the tragic losses the Goad’s felt as if there was no way they could get back into their boating lifestyle. But then they met Bluewater’s Chris Hall Jr. After hearing their story, Chris worked diligently and patiently to lift the spirits of the Goad’s, calm their concerns and prepare them to get back on the water. Although this may be a long story, it is telling of the trials and heartache that Doug and Bobbie experienced along with the triumph of returning to yachting with the help of Chris Hall Jr.
Back in 2009 my wife and I started our boating lifestyle in Urbanna, VA. A lifestyle that we felt was far from our reach and our modest means.
We started out with a 25’ Catalina sailboat and quickly found out that we weren’t meant for the sailing world (too many terms to remember). We asked a local boat broker about a stylish looking trawler at the marina, a 1973 Gulfstar Trawler. This was where our education started with boat brokers. Turnkey ready we were told. After about 6 years of labor and love and of course about $25,000 our “Captain BoB” was turnkey ready. Many fun times were spent on Captain BoB in which a world of memoires and friends were cultivated far beyond anything that we could have ever imagined. We were enjoying a boating lifestyle that encompassed every weekend from early March until very late November. And often in the winter months we would spend time on the boat.
In late 2015, we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a new more modern boat, a 1999 Bayliner 3788. We purchased the boat in late December and with the help of two great friends, Carroll Davies and Frank Blantz, brought the boat down the bay from Annapolis, MD the Monday after Christmas. It was cold, foggy, and raining, but to me it couldn’t have been a more beautiful cruise. My best friends and our new boat going home to Urbanna, VA. My wife and I didn’t get to spend anytime right away on the new Bayliner because it was a very cold January winter. But on February 28th of this year the sun came out and it was time to spend a day on the new boat. I was elated to be on the new boat that day, cleaning and exploring our new toy. Sitting in the spacious cockpit having a cocktail I called my wife and told her how much I was enjoying the new boat and wished that she was there. She is a realtor and was doing an open house in Richmond, VA that day. I had someone coming down the next morning to look at purchasing our 1973 Trawler. “When you finish with the open house come down and spend the night on the new boat with me,” I told my wife, and that was the plan. Around five my wife called and said just come on home and we will drive back in the morning, it had been a long day and she didn’t feel like driving down.
It’s all gone, February 29th:
The next morning we were awoken about 5:00 am by a phone call, the marina is on fire and everything is gone. We immediately rushed to Urbanna to be with our friends and to see the extent of the devastation. What was even worse was that our friends Frank and Julie were staying on their 50’ Hatteras, while their house was being remodeled and they could not be found. Later that morning my wife and I were asked to identify the bodies as they were pulled from the dark cold waters of Urbanna Creek. This was the coldest darkest day of our boating life that we had grown to love and cherish so much. We lost both boats in the fire, great friends, and the marina where memories were made every weekend.
Trying to move on:
After the ordeal and the issues with insurance companies and just the event itself, my wife and I had entertained the thought of not even getting another boat. A couple times we looked at boats and just walked away, lost and unsure of just what direction to take we decided to basically get out of boating for a while. Looking for new things to do, Easter weekend I made reservations in Virginia Beach for the weekend just to get out of town. I had heard that there was a good restaurant at a marina in Hampton, Virginia so I went online and checked it out earlier that week. I saw they also sold boats, so I thought maybe we could look at a couple boats after lunch just to see if there would be any interest from my wife and I. So I called the marina and talked with a broker about showing us a couple boats that day after lunch.
A meeting that changed everything:
That day we met with Chris Hall Jr. of Bluewater Yacht Sales. He listened intently as we told of our story and how we weren’t even sure if we wanted a boat again. In the matter of just a couple of hours my wife and I felt we had made a new friend and maybe the one person that could help us through this journey, whether with another boat, or just the friendship that seem to be cultivating. He wasn’t pushy, listened to what we wanted in a boat, and assured us that if we decided to purchase another boat he would help us every step of the way. We met with Chris again at the spring Open House at Bluewater Yacht Sales. We quickly saw the caliber of boats that were sold there, beautiful expensive boats. We told Chris that maybe this was out of our reach and we didn’t want to waste his time, he just smiled and said, “I will find you guys a boat I promise”.
The Ultimate Boat Broker:
Over the next several weeks we looked at boats and communicated with Chris almost on a daily basis. We put a contract on a boat in Daytona Florida (a 2001 3788 Bayliner). Chris was there through the entire process, I would have been lost without his presence and guidance. He flew to Daytona and stayed the entire survey, sea trail, and haul out. He knew more about boats than most of the surveyors that we met. That boat didn’t work out, so Chris continued our search. He was always upbeat and enthusiastic and ready to encourage us to be patient. The right boat would come a long, he would say. He gave us great insight and advice during our search that seemed invaluable. We went with Chris once to look at a Carver that I really liked, but as soon as my wife saw that the galley was the first thing you walked into, she turned and told Chris, “I do not like this layout at all.” As I started to board the Carver Chris asked me “What are you doing? Bobbie doesn’t like the boat, it doesn’t matter what you like.” It was at that point I knew he would help us find the right boat, because if my wife wasn’t happy, well you get the rest.
Back in Urbanna:
Tuesday July 12th we took possession of our new 2001 Mainship 390. Chris was with us through the entire purchase, lining up our surveyor, haul-out, and connecting us with good financing options, etc. I feel almost certain we wouldn’t be back in a boat if it wasn’t for Chris Hall Jr. This past weekend we spent our first night on the boat. We began a journey of closure and spent the weekend with our friends and toast to the ones lost. It is hard for me to even put into words what Chris has meant to us and our struggle to find our way back. My wife and I both feel that we have made a friend for life and a relationship that will grow stronger over time. Chris even helped us name our new Mainship, “The Phoenix” from Greek Mythology, meaning to rise from the ashes. We are very grateful for our experience with Bluewater Yachts Sales and when someone asks if we know a good boat broker, I will tell them that I have a good friend that just happens to be a great boat broker.
Chris, thank you my friend.
Doug and Bobbie Goad