George Pacharis of southwest Florida may be retired, but he hasn’t retired the organizational skills developed in his long career and lifelong interest in boating. That’s evidenced here by this aerial image of the most beautiful one-anchor raft-up we’ve ever seen.
As it happened, this masterpiece was created at the recent Grady Fest conducted by the Fish Tale Grady Club in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. It just so happens George also helped organize Grady-White owners’ most active private-brand club over nine years ago.
The recent Grady Fest brought in hundreds of Grady-White owners and many prospective owners from around the country. The gorgeous raft-up was created by their 42 boats tied together in one fluid curve.
How did they do it? Like most well-planned endeavors, one step at a time.
“I’d scouted the location a month earlier,” George said. “The weekend of the event, I dropped an anchor and ball float.”
At a group meeting, instruction sheets were handed out and the process was explained so everyone knew their role. When it was time for the raft-up, the crews and George all communicated on the low-watt VHF Channel 17.
“We called the 36-footers first and they came to the anchor ball,” he continued. “Once they were in place, we called each consecutively smaller boat group at 15-minute intervals.”
You might have thought George would have each boat arrive with fenders already in place, but you would be wrong.
“The key was to make sure no fenders were out on the arriving boats as they approached. The target boat had fenders. We had each boat set up with four lines and instructions to align their sterns with the target boat’s.”
All this and they hired a chopper to shoot the aerial image? Nope.
“We had a small UAV launched to take video with a POV camera and a plane shooting aerials.”
The Grady Fest team may not have built the world’s largest raft-up, but it undoubtedly had the most beautiful one. Beauty and fun is something Grady is good at!
About Grady Fest
Grady Fest is the most active boat-brand-oriented owners club in the nation. It rotates regionally from club to club. It was founded to bring together boaters of like-minded interests and to share their experiences and expertise with their Grady-White boats. More than 300 people signed up for the event, held in partnership with Fish Tales Marina in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, in March 2014. Organized events like the raft-up were accompanied by cookouts and catered meals, dancing, music and seminars on boat maintenance, safety and operating skills. To learn more about the next Grady Fest, visit gradyfest.com.