Chartering is often a family affair-not just for the sailors who are clients, but also for the people who've committed their careers to boats and bases. Barbara and Vic Hansen, whose Southwest Florida Yachts (www.swfyachts.com) in Fort Myers, Florida, marks 25 years in 2009, are still enthusiastically at it, and eager to share their take on a livelihood that continues to enrich their lives. --ed.
Vic and I subscribe to the philosophy that if you have a job you love, you'll never have to work another day in your life.
I realize that's not 100 percent true. Still, I'd much prefer to do what I do 12 hours a day than, say, sell insect killer for four hours a day.
And even when I'm tied and bound to the office for 12 hours a day, it's almost always a good day's labor of love. I can look out the window 12 months of the year and see blue water and boats and people enjoying both. When clients who charter our yachts or attend one of our live-aboard boating courses are happy and excited, I'm happy and excited for them.
I confess to taking particular pleasure knowing that after 25 years, we're still engaged in our marine industry enterprise while so many other businesses, including many we considered too big to fail, have bitten the dust.
In 1984 we didn't have a computer. Every letter to a customer had to start from scratch. We were here before most had ever heard of a fax machine, or a cell phone, or a web site. There was no Internet to speak of, no email.
The pressures of a high-tech society sometimes leave you feeling like you want to check out of civilization for a few days; experts say that from time to time, we should escape from the routine and stress of our daily lives.
Chartering, I believe, is one of the best ways to escape. A break now and then does wonders for the mind, body, and soul. Consider this scene: You're aboard and anchored in a scenic cove at the end of the day. You've got your hand wrapped around a cold drink. The setting sun lights up the clouds with pinks, oranges, purples, and reds. And, you think, life really is good.