January 14, 2017

Jim & Margaret Andreass

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Margaret and I took possession of “Mimi,” our 2001 Fleming 55-116 in the fall of 2015. Like many, our journey to this point included several previous boats, numerous boat shows and countless hours watching YouTube videos fantasizing about the next chapter of our lives. We had completely consumed the boating Kool-Aid and decided we wanted to become full-time “live-aboards.” The process of extracting ourselves from our jobs, home and community of 30 years in order to fully realize the live aboard dream was a lengthy, and at times daunting, one. After much research we decided that the classically beautiful Fleming 55 was the epitome of what we were looking for. Our research indicated Flemings to be boats of unsurpassed quality and comfort, capable of doing anything we might want to do. We also knew that Burr Yachts was the company we wished to purchase one from. Their reputation for stellar customer service and support is legendary, and yet little did we realize just how much of a family they would become. From the very beginning our sales rep, Kevin Althoff, held our hand as he helped to broker a deal selling our previous boat, and buying our Fleming.

From that day on he became our mentor, teacher and friend, guiding us every step of the way. After much juggling, the pieces began to fall into place in the fall of 2015, although not exactly in the order we might have preferred. Thankfully, our house sold quickly, and what we couldn’t give away we stashed in a storage container. In mid-October we found ourselves moving, along with our cat and dog, on to “Mimi” while she was still in Edgewater, MD at Burr Yachts for retrofitting and a few upgrades. For six weeks we lived in the midst of the bee hive of activity that is Burr Yachts, while getting to know the superlative staff of people that work there. Across the boards, in every department, we were blown away by the level of professionalism, thoughtfulness and care that each person exhibited in doing their job. Michael, Charlie, Craig, Buddy, Dave and the rest of the crew at Burr are fanatical in their pursuit of perfection! They truly made Margaret and I feel that our safety and satisfaction was job one each day. At the center of it all was Kevin Althoff. His passion for Fleming Yachts, his knowledge of the myriad systems, along with his patience and good humor in sharing that knowledge, made what is a daunting, if not intimidating process, a joy. Kevin was not only our instructor and advisor in everything from what to retrofit and how to operate the boat, but he also was our advocate when we felt that the cost, and length of time of our engine rebuild was spiraling out of control. In fact, Kevin, along with Ray Currey, one of the chief officers at Burr Yachts, arranged for me to sit down with the regional head of Cummins Diesel Engines to negotiate a very satisfactory conclusion to our engine work. Additionally, once we departed the cozy confines of the Burr Yachts  facility, Kevin was available to us on a virtually continuous basis by phone to answer any and all questions and concerns. As we began our cruise south, we spoke or texted several times a day. No question, whether regarding RPM’s, the holding tank, anchoring out, electrics, navigation, weather, or even marina and restaurant recommendations was too mundane. As we became slightly more confident, if not competent, and our calls fewer, Kevin would call or text us to make sure we were comfortable and care free!

As I write this, “Mimi” is in a slip at the Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands. Tomorrow night we’ll anchor out at Soldier Cay, then on to Nassau, and then the Exumas. Our dream is in the process of being realized, and buying a Fleming from Burr Yachts was the key. It’s one of the most satisfying decisions Margaret and I have ever made. Now I have to call Kevin and get a recipe suggestion for our freshly caught Snapper filets…

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