Probably since the first Cro-Magnon man hopped aboard a drifting log there has been something primal about men and their boats. Sea crafts have gotten a lot fancier, but the thrill of the sea has remained constant. Here are some local men who are totally on board with being on board.
Al Copeland Jr.
Chairman of the Board, Al Copeland Investments
56-foot, one-of-a-kind, offshore racing catamaran named Phenomenon, with four T55 turbine engines producing over 12,000 horsepower.
“Ocean racing is my passion. My father, a six-time National Champion, and I raced professionally from 1980-’90, and we have always loved fast boats.
Phenomenon is a unique design, built by naval architects and world-renowned offshore boat builders, using the latest technology. It is a project started by my father three years before he died that I’m completing. It is being built to break the World Propeller Speedboat Record set by a hydroplane at 220.5 miles per hour.
Phenomenon’s first goal is to break the offshore record of 196 miles-per-hour. I am currently conducting weekly tests to accomplish the goal.”
Owner, Valobra Jewelry and Antiques
35-foot Chaparral with twin in-board engines and double cabin with full air conditioning named MaxSea
Among the best memories I have of growing up in Italy, summer boating with my parents and siblings in the Mediterranean are the most vivid and cherished, and that’s why I purchased our boat MaxSea, to make new memories with my family. The Chaparral cruiser is perfect for trips up the Tchefuncte River or for weekend getaways to Ship Island [Miss.]. Spending time on the boat is always enjoyable, but it becomes almost idyllic in those rare occasions when you are running at full speed over a perfectly calm Lake Pontchartrain, surrounded by a warm summer sunset … ah, memories.”
President, Cannon Consulting
36-foot Nor-Tech Cat Hull equipped with two custom-built TMP, 588 CID blown EFI engines, named Bonnie and Clyde
“I was born and raised in New Orleans and came to love the water and all sports related to being on the open water. My passion for high-speed racing boats has become my new venture. Nothing feels better than traveling 135 miles per hour on the open waters in my boat that will reach speeds up to 150-plus miles per hour. The dynamic power of the boat and the adrenaline I feel knowing that this massive machine is in my control fuels my passion for the sport of boat racing, which will continue to grow as a part of my life.”
S. William “Bill” Provensal
CPA, Owner of Provensal Consulting
48-foot classic racing sailboat named Tiare
“With a building breeze Tiare comes alive. Her sails fill, and as she heels, I feel her lift, suspended by the air. Add racing and you have found my passion as skipper of this 48-foot classic racer. The 13 crewmembers maximize her speed with each tack, jibe and sail change. When the wind is right, Tiare’s rail dips to the water and she charges forward pushing 10 knots. My pulse counts seconds ’til the starting gun, and there’s no place I’d rather be than at the helm of that big red boat.”
CEO, CommCare Corporation
24-foot Cris-Craft cabin mahogany lap strake utility runabout named Froghair
“Froghair was delivered to Wagner Marine on Canal Street in New Orleans in 1963. We bought her right after Hurricane Katrina and, after two years in restoration, she looks and performs as she did originally. As much fun as we had varnishing and polishing all that wood and hardware back to life, we now spend many delightful hours aboard with the grandchildren, and we especially enjoy the sense of accomplishment in having brought this beautiful classic from another era back to her original glory. She truly is ‘fine as froghair.’”
Owner, Quality Rebore
24-foot Robalo walk-around with twin 225 horsepower engines
“I outfitted the boat with custom tank racks for 16 scuba tanks, built-in fish boxes and a dive ladder. I love the adventure of rig diving and the excitement of fighting fish underwater. You never know what’s under an oil rig until you dive in. Red snapper, amberjack, barracuda, cobia, grouper and triggerfish are everywhere. Spear fishing is an exciting sport because it combines hunting and fishing. There is nothing more fun to me than picking a really big fish.”
25-foot pontoon boat named Piano Man
“Come along and cruise beautiful Bayou Liberty on Piano Man, my party boat that’s always ready to ferry guests down the sleepy bayou. Don’t expect a fast ride. We simply meander along with the breeze viewing the beautiful homes and gardens. It’s part of the true saying, ‘The living is easy when you are on the water.’ Gardner, my wife, and I love to entertain friends, and our home has been the setting for many fundraisers, such as ‘Jazz on the Bayou’ for the past 20 years, where folks love to line up for a ride on the Piano Man.”
48-foot Sea Ray Sundancer sport yacht named Readership
“Boats and boating have been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Dad always had a boat on the Tennessee River, and my memories of our family on the water are very vivid. When I first moved to New Orleans in 1980 we had a sailboat within months, and our children loved learning to sail and race. I redid two Chris Crafts wooden cabin cruisers and loved every minute of the renovation. Today we own the Readership. Cindy, my wife, loves the boat as much as I do, and we even got engaged on the water.”
Ed. Note: Bill Metcalf is a former owner of New Orleans Magazine