Some of my Published Works & Journal
Without a shadow of a doubt, 2017 was by far the busiest and most challenging year of all the years we've been in this business! 17 Deliveries and countless training classes and clinics. It started in January with a wild ride to Road Harbor, BVI on Molly Too, a Jeanneau 519 and culminated on the FP 44' Helia Southern Sun with a blisteringly fast run from Annapolis, MD. to Marsh Harbor, Bahamas in under 7 Days.
The story of the year of course was our Hurricane Season which was one of the most destructive in memory. Hurricane Irma and Maria did incalculable damage to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and at the time of this writing, are still struggling to overcome the devastation. Despite the massive damage, everyone in the islands is working hard to rebuild quickly. Kirstie Palmer and her crew at BVI Yacht Charters are working from sun up until sun down repairing and in some cases, overhauling boats back to seaworthy condition with amazing results.
We arrived in early November with the first new charter boat replacement in the islands. The scale of damage was overwhelming, but we're told it was a vast improvement since the storms. We visited Jost Van Dyke and witnessed the damage at White Bay. The famous Soggy Dollar was under reconstruction as well as some of the smaller establishments that benefited from the overspill, such as Coco Locos owned by Uncle Wendell. We spent a good hour or so listening to him tell us about his experience weathering the storm packing winds of well over 200 mph for over 2 hours.
While he told us his harrowing tale, we could see in his face, that he was reliving the experience as you would hear a story from someone with PTSD in wartime. His voice cracked as he described his sister being blown into a tree and breaking her hip as she endeavored to seek shelter from the home which had its roof blown off. She was stranded in that tree until the eye of the storm passed overhead allowing the family to retrieve her and bring her to the only concrete shelter on the beach where they hunkered down for the second half of the storm. Uncle Wendell wept a bit as he described "A thirty foot wave broke and took away my bar and my home!"
We contacted as many people as possible to donate to his "Go Fund Me" page and managed to raise a modest amount for him. We spent the evening afterward, with Foxy Caldwell at his bar which didn't suffer as much damage structurally so much as loss of all the lush trees that once surrounded the entire grounds. Being the only guests at his club that night, he regaled us with his life tales and played his guitar assuring us, the islands will ALWAYS recover from whatever Mother Nature throws at them. They've done it before and will do it again. We left his Tamarind Bar with high hopes for their future.
Back here at my home base in Tampa, FL. I can't help but reflect on the challenges of this year with vessel breakdowns scheduling and weather challenges. There were so many delays and frustrating hang ups that I can only look back and see them as "lessons learned". My list of things to inspect before departure has expanded threefold as new issues have revealed themselves as potential failure points. My preparation time for departures is going to have to expand to accommodate the checkout of this ever expanding list of potential "gotcha's"!
Next year will bring many more opportunities as I have spent the past few months indoctrinating a new Captain into our fold. I will be introducing him online this year once all of his documentation has cleared and is official. He has immersed himself fully into this crazy yacht delivery life and so far hasn't run for the hills in the face of its challenges. We will be able to handle more deliveries without the quality of our service dropping off. He has learned exactly how On Watch Yacht Delivery conducts business to a higher standard.
Since this is the end of ANOTHER very successful year, I want to, as always, thank everyone who did business with us, referred business and helped make us one of the best Yacht Delivery services in the industry. We are small, and intend to stay that way while providing big results for our clients. I have no doubt that 2018 will shatter more records, but I hope next year is a MUCH quieter storm season! Wishing everyone a very happy holiday and prosperous new year!
Capt. Jeff Lewis
I can’t believe 2016 is already coming to a close! What a wild year for the world and for On Watch Yacht Delivery & Training! We completed 12 Deliveries, 6 Boat Shows & Events and 10 Private Classes of training aboard various size and type vessels! In short it was darn near non-stop for us!
One of the biggest changes some of you may have noticed, is we have updated our website and our logo! I am so proud of the new (and more professional) logo and image! Biggest thanks got to my brilliant girlfriend, Jennifer Fleming. She is a huge driving force to upgrading the company image. For example, she is the one who created the cool little e-postcards you may have received this year to keep you in the loop of what we are up to! Also, I want to thank Doubletake Studios in Tampa, FL. for quickly creating the new logo for us.
Thank you to everyone who chose On Watch Yacht Delivery & Training for their deliveries and personal instruction! I especially want to thank all of my clients who referred new business and wrote such glowing Raving Fan letters!!! I am very thankful to all of you this year!
Next year is already shaping up to be another banner year for us! We expect to deliver our 100th vessel early next year!!! I hope to make that a very special delivery! I am looking forward to that event! I want to keep the spirit of this blog as a means of showing my gratitude for everyone who supported us this year and who will hopefully continue to do so in the future!
Captain Jeff Lewis
Our momentum in our training department is continuing to gain interest. Experienced boaters are coming to us to hone their boat handling skills. We are shattering old bad habits and paradigms daily! Beginners come to us to boost their confidence and learn the skills needed to safely handle their boats for a more enjoyable boating experience.
GREAT JANUARY!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As I look back on January 2014, all I can say is "WOW! What a Month!" FOUR Yacht Deliveries and FOUR DAYS of Powerboat Clinics and Personal Training! If January is any indication of the rest of the year for On Watch Yacht Delivery, we are going to have to buckle in for a wild ride! My deepest thanks to our businesses who referred business to us (See "Our Friends" on this web page.) Most of all, thank you to all our customers who entrusted us with their pride and joy vessels!
VESSEL PREPARATION FOR DELIVERY:
Below, is a copy of the e mail I sent Candace Hogan, the head of Social Media for Dian Nyad.
I just got a copy of Diana's Check in e-mail to the Team. I did not receive it directly, but can understand as I was a new addition and did not get the e mail. I got Nancy's Copy and read the e mail from Diana. I am of course stunned, but not in the least surprised at the spate of naysayers who have come from the wood-work to attempt to soil Diana's history making crossing from Cuba to Key West. I have researched some of the people making the racket and have come to the conclusion they are a bit petty and small minded. I expect this from those types of people. As requested from Nancy, I have gone back through my logbook I was keeping. I am adding some of my thoughts (below) as the trip progressed. I for one, had no "Skin in the game" for Diana's success.
I was brought in in the last week to provide my services as a Captain. Whereas I have followed Diana's previous attempts to complete this swim, I had no connection to Diana up until the date of my hire. You were aboard my vessel during the entire trip and can attest that I took in very little sleep during the entire endeavor from Cuba to Key West. I estimate I acquired a total of 4 Hours of sleep during the entire swim. I have absolutely NO doubt Diana swam without breaking a single rule of the swim. If ANYONE would wish to question me about what I witnessed, I will be more than happy to answer any questions from my perspective of the swim. I hope you are doing well Candice. It was a pleasure to be of service to you and your social media team as well as to the entirety of the Swim Team.
Notes and thoughts below: (From My Personal Log) All times, EDST
AUGUST 31, 2013:
0600: Customs Clearance and return of flares from Cuban Authorities. 0800: On Station outside Marina Hemmingway. Provisions Checked: On Scene Weather: Winds, 110 degrees at 4-6kts. Seas... Calm, Skies Clear.
0859:02: Nyad In the water... Swim Officially begins. 1430: Pos. N2311.8 W08231.4 at 1 kts at 330 degrees mag. On Scene Weather: Wind, 060 deg. at 11-13.5 kts. Seas, 1-3 ft. Ceiling, High Cirrus Estimated Set: 110 deg. mag. at .8 kts.
1800: Pos. N2315.6 W08230.4 at 1 kts. at 330 deg mag. On Scene WX: Wind 065 deg. mag. at 8 kts. Seas, 1 ft. w/ 3 sec. period. Estimated Current: 100 deg. mag. at 110 deg. mag. Est temp. 86 deg. F. Ceiling, High Overcast, broken Cumulus at 1500 ft. Sct. T' Storms.
2000: Weather Report called in to Vanessa via Satellite Phone.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2013: 0000: Pos. N2321.9 W08226.6 at 1 kt. Seas, 2-3 ft. Sct. T'storms.
0930: Pos. N2334.9 W08214.4 at 1.0 kt. Winds 13 kts from 180 deg. Mag. Seas, 4-6 ft. Seas, 1-2 ft. High Overcast, Broken ceiling. All fleet passed for a pep rally for Diana as she tread water for nourishment. Big smile from Diana in return.
1900: Pos. N2400.3 W08156.5 at 2.5 kts at 030 deg. mag. Winds SSE at 6-8 kts. Seas, 2 ft. swell with 1 ft. wind chop. Ceiling, high Stratus, broken Set to North at 3.0 kts estimated.
My Personal thoughts at this time... We are in the stream and getting a good push Northward. with Diana swimming we are making over 4kts. she could tread water and make good time, but she continues to stroke at her standard 50 strokes per minute. She is truly an iron lady. I prefer to call her "Lady Titanium". She is showing no sign of fatigue or waiver in her resolve. I actually have a sense she is swimming stronger now than she was earlier today. I suspect she must have gotten some source of motivation from Bonnie.Nightfall is closing in and the debate of Diana wearing the mask or not is weighing on the team and Diana. Angel says there is no sign of Jelly fish due to the moon phase and tidal phase. Looks like all is going well for the Xtreme Dream Team. The word I am getting is Diana is skeptical about the Jelly Fish assessment. ( I don't blame her)
My hat is off to John Bartlett... He was dead on correct with his assessment and navigational skills. He has placed us in the Northerly Hook he mentioned to me while showing me the plan on his chart in Cuba. He assured me he verified this current during his crossing south from Key west. As one Navigator to another, he is as good as I have witnessed. We are hoping for a continuation of a fortuitous current as far as possible. We are not sure what will happen as we approach the drop off at Key West. The currents there can be very unpredictable.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2013: 0450: Pos. N2424.4 W08149.4 Landing plan formulated from present position to Marker 32 ETA 1100 Hrs Local time. then to Smathers Beach, Key West. Estimated landing between 1600 and 1800 hrs. Local time.
My Thoughts... This is the final day... Diana looks very tired and is understandably suffering from lack of sleep and fatigue. Bonnie and her team of handlers are nearly hoarse from spurring on and cheering Diana on. I could hear their voices from my vessel nearly 100 yards away throughout the night.
I only took in an hour or so of sleep this evening, as I felt the excitement of history on the verge of being made. When I was asked how I was doing, I could only answer, "I am doing great! I am witnessing something big today!" I could not help but be pulled into the moment of watching Diana reach for every last bit of energy she could muster to obtain a dream she had for the greater part of her life.I watched her endure nights of vomiting, high winds and waves, squalls, ingestion of salt water, and the sheer monotony of hours of stroking one hand over the other toward her dream while the team who surrounded her urged her on. Some were veterans of the struggles past, some new... Like me.
Regardless of new or veteran, the moment was not lost on a single one of us. we were all witnessing history. I was not watching a 64 year old woman fulfill a life's dream. I was witnessing the toughest human being... Regardless of being young, old male or female overcome monumental problems and obstacles. She displayed a physical and mental toughness I have yet to see in anyone I have met in my days. I have to admit, when I witnessed her walk on that beach and fall into Bonnie's arms amid the throngs of people who cheered her accomplishment. I... a 250 Pound former football player, and military man of 20 years, wept and cheered as well.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013: I awoke today to news that there are doubters about the validity of Diana's swim. This not surprising, but it is sad that there are people who do not believe she accomplished this seemingly insurmountable feat. There are some who to this day think we never landed on the moon. Some think the Holocaust was fictional. Some think September 11, was staged. Neil Armstrong and those who suffered losses of the other events had to deal with this ilk of very sad and small minded people. Diana will no doubt also have to also deal with such people.
I personally feel blessed to be among those who know the truth. I was there. I saw nearly every stroke of her historic swim. There were independent observers on my boat which I commanded that were CONTINUOUSLY witnessing her swim and documenting every moment from the Voyager not 10 feet away from her. At NO time was there ever a moment where either observer didn't witness every stroke of her swim. For those who doubt... I feel pity for you. It must be horrible to live in a mindset in which you wish to diminish the accomplishments of those who are truly great. The ones who find a way no matter what the odds.
I am sure Diana and every one who were there can sleep soundly at night with the knowledge that she did it... She did it fair and square...For those who doubt, we who were there only feel pity for those who were not.
All the best! Captain George Jeffrey Lewis (100 Gross Ton Master Captain)
Captain: "Dreams Do Come True" FP 41' Catamaran.
I just returned from conducting Powerboat clinics in Jacksonville, FL. I have to admit it has been a long time since I have had to apply the skills needed in handling strong current! Jacksonville is located on a river which really gets ripping when the tide reaches full gallop!
...Some of my Web Publications...
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