Cruising Stories

The Ultimate Dream Boat

Jerry and Barbara Herson ... and Purely Pleasure


Marinalife members Jerry and Barbara Herson have designed the perfect boat for their style of cruising. This took years of planning and the realization that they would have to design their own boat to get exactly what they wanted.Jerry and his family have owned successful car dealerships for more than 67 years, and he has been on various boats since he was 10 years old. Living near the Chesapeake Bay, boating became his passion very early in life. The more he boated, the more he dreamed of the perfect boat. The Hersons designed their first vessel in the 1980s, a 77-foot power- boat that broke the record for the fastest trip from Annapolis, Md. to Miami, Fl -- less than 50 hours. Their next boat, a 66-foot craft, dropped this time to 31 hours.

But Jerry was still dreaming about his ultimate boat, which he had started designing in the 1980s but had to abandon because the necessary technology was not yet available. Finally, in 2002, the Hersons met with Harry Schoell, a marine engineer who had been involved with their previous boats. It was time once again to pursue that ultimate boat. The 85-foot yacht, named Purely Pleasure, was built over several years at the Allied Marine plant in Miami. Jerry's other passion is Pleasure Cove Marina, a state- of-the-art Chesapeake Bay facility that he has owned for almost 25 years. Mechanics and technicians from Pleasure Cove went to Miami to work on Purely Pleasure.

Jerry and Barbara thought of everything for their new vessel”from a gym in the master suite (complete with a treadmill recessed into the floor) to a piano that doubles as a desk. The four Caterpillar engines and Arenson drives allow the boat to cruise at 45 mph, burning 150 gallons of fuel per hour. The Hersons --- both of whom have their 100-ton captain's licenses --- travel back and forth frequently from Annapolis to the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla., so it was important to them that they be able to operate their new boat on their own without crew.

Because they make this trip so oftenJerry will soon embark on his 86th north-to-south cruise. The Hersons, of course, have favorite marinas where they stop along the way. Jerry says he likes to scout new ideas at the marinas to take back and implement at Pleasure Cove Marina. One of the most important things he always looks for is good customer service, and he has trained his Pleasure Cove staff to treat every boater the same, whether they're in a 25-foot run-about or a 70-foot yacht.

During the summer on the Chesapeake Bay, the Hersons frequent St. Michaels Marina, in part because of the excellent customer service. They also love to anchor on Still Pond, north of Fairlee Creek. Anchoring allows them to go exploring by kayak and talk to people who might normally be intimidated by the big boat. They like to hand out discount cards for their restaurant at Pleasure Cove, the Cheshire Crab. While wintering in Florida, they have explored most of the Florida Keys and Grand Bahama Island, but their favorite way to pass the time is hanging out on Purely Pleasure at the Ocean Reef Club, their home port during the winter months.

You might catch a glimpse of Jerry and Barbara as they head south this fall on Purely Pleasure. Jerry and Barbara love to chat with fellow boaters, so make sure to say hello.

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