Thirty years ago, a naval architect named Jim Krogen and a yacht broker named Art Kadey drew the first sketches of what would become the Krogen 42'. By today's standards it was very, very simple. As it turned out, simplicity had appeal to the knowledgeable yachtsman. It still does today.
While we can all remember events from 30 years ago, it takes a moment to truly place yourself there. Let's give it a try. You cooked dinner on a real stove, no microwaves. You talked on your rotary-dial phone and were quick to tell someone you were calling 'long distance' to keep it short. You went to the movies to see 'Star Wars' and 'Saturday Night Fever.' Anwar Sadat made an official visit to Israel. Elvis died. The Concord announced service to Europe. A cell phone was Maxwell Smart's shoe. Some crazy company called Apple started selling computers for people's homes.
One of my favorites: 30 years ago in 1977, a completely unknown failure of a singer from Nashville blew off the snow and headed down to Key Westnand never really left. In 1977 he put out a little ditty called 'Margaritaville,' and while Jimmy Buffet didn't exactly change the face of music he certainly carved himself a nice new niche. I guess it was a good year for carving long-lasting niches.
Boaters used sextants and Loran for navigation. Charts were paper. No one had an inverter or a watermaker. Sailors crossed oceans and powerboaters crossed bays. A 'trawler' had fishing nets. There were no GPS, DSC, FLIR, INMARSAT, KVH, or TIER II, and no one could afford RADAR. Sails were canvas, not Mylar. You get the idea. Today, 'trawler' has become a marketing term. 'Swift-trawler' or 'fast-trawler' is my favorite oxymoron. Today, a decent RADAR and chart plotter still cost more than the house I lived in during 1977. However, while some of us often long for 'simpler times,' today the average person with some knowledge, experience, advice and training, can live their dreams of exploring over the horizon in a safe, comfortable home afloat. Just what James Krogen and Art Kadey had hoped.
Many of you have read or heard a great deal about the history of Kadey-Krogen Yachts. I invite you to read a great article by Bill Parlatore of PassageMaker magazine about the early days of Kadey-Krogen. It can be found posted on our website at http://www.kadeykrogen.com/articles/. This story is certainly a large part of who we are as a company and a family. But the real Kadey-Krogen Yachts and the real 'family' are the owners of Krogens themselves. So when we tell you that choosing a Krogen is like joining a family, the question that usually comes to one's mind is 'Am I one of them?'
'Them' can be hard to define. Here's why. We are anywhere in age from our 40s to our 70s, and even 80s. We are or were business people, doctors, lawyers, educators, professional mariners and commercial fisherman. Some of us are still working and some are retired. Our boating backgrounds range from former sailors to sport fisherman, to express cruisers, to those with no prior boating experience.
However, we are all, at some levelnfor a penny or a poundncruisers. We dream of the freedom, excitement and challenge of venturing to new and exotic places at the helms of our own ships and, more importantly, our own lives. We are about the journey as much as the destination. We have left or plan to leave safe, comfortable homes and lives to head out cruising. We leave behind jobs and businesses, children, grandchildren, friends and communities, scratching their heads as if we are striking out on a fool's errand. We stop the ride, and get off.
In thinking about the past 30 years, I also think of people who are no longer here. Unfortunately, we all come with an expiration date. We just don't know when that is. Art Kadey and James Krogen are no longer with us. But their vision now serves to enable others. Several of those very close to me never got far enough along the checklist to 'just do it.' The Krogen family has this in common: they've rearranged priorities on the checklist.
This past October, the Kadey-Krogen family gathered for a 30th Anniversary Rendezvous. A more eclectic group you will never meet. Put that electrical contractor with the retired Navy surgeon at a neighborhood association meeting and I'd swear they wouldn't have a word to say to one another. Yet here they are, cruising Maine together. Put the teamster and the college professor together and you'd think they wouldn't hit it off, yet they spent a week buddyboating this past winter. Of course the fact that they all chose a Krogen shows that they have similar ideas as to what cruising and the boating life is all about. But the true tie that brings them together is the decision they all made: that there is more to this life than working a job. That time is precious and must be spent even more carefully than money, since it cannot be made.
Our family tree is still growing and soon you will all witness a new addition, the Krogen 55' Expedition. But today is about right now. Right now you still have the luxury of determining what happens next, rather than just drifting up to it. What will you do with the possibilities? Right now, I regret much less my failures than the things I never tried. It's all up to you.
It's been a great 30th year for us and hopefully for you and yours. What will your 2008 look like? Where will you head next? We look forward to your joining in on our adventure.