It’s been two years since I first laid eyes on Jeff Merrill. Actually, I heard him before I saw him. Sitting at breakfast at TrawlerFest Stuart, March 2017, my husband and I were thrilled to finally be ready to find a boat and live our dream, too many years delayed. A voice behind me was encouraging the couple at the table to take their time, shop and dream, and most of all to find someone ELSE to sell their sailboat because as much as he knew about trawlers, sailboats were not in his wheelhouse.
“Who does that?” I thought. Is there a broker out there who is honest enough to turn down a sales commission and stick with what he knows? Who does that? So I turned around, interrupted the nice couple, and asked the guy, “Who are you?” I knew that if we really wanted to find the right boat, this man was the one I could trust to help us do it. Jeff Merrill did just that.
It took many months and a couple of abortive efforts to buy before the right one came along, but Jeff was patient and insightful, listening to my exacting and very specific wants and my husband’s wary concerns. When we insisted that THIS was really the one, he would go through his paces to make it happen until we knew for ourselves it wasn’t really the one. Finally, months into the process (and honestly, when Kit and I thought maybe this was just a pipe dream after all), along comes an email from Jeff: “What do you think of this one?” he asks. An Ocean Alexander Pilothouse Classico, simply beautiful and beautifully maintained, with all the things I thought I had to have. And for Kit, it was seaworthy and reliable. Jeff was right! It WAS the one!
In all this serendipitous process, we became friends with Jeff’s wife, Pam, and his (then) new broker associate, Christopher Bruce and his new wife, Alexandra. People like these shouldn’t work at all! They should just retire and be our friends full time! Everything we have learned about our boat has been with the help of Jeff and most especially Christopher. Once the boat was ours, they both took care and time to make sure we were as prepared as possible to set out on this adventure. That never changed — they are still only a phone call or text away for any question we have. Everything we are learning about boating has mostly been some costly and some lucky experiences of our very own. But Jeff and Christopher and their respective life partners have been knowledgeable and fun, accessible and wise. We couldn’t have gotten here without them. Along the way we have met John Hoffman, Gregg Burdick and so many helpful and knowledgeable people working to make our experience successful.
And just look at us now. We made it “Across the Stream” this year! For some people it’s the Loop. For us it’s the aquamarine waters and warm breezes. Thank you Jeff and Christopher!
Grateful and happy, we are,
Dace and Kit Kramer – Ocean Alexander Classico 50 – Sea Traveler