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A Nordhavn tale of thanks and giving

Meet Larry Gieselman
P.A.E.’s longest- tenured salesman has seen the
ebb and flow of the boat-buying market

Want an accurate pulse on the heartbeat of P.A.E.? Just ask Larry Gieselman, a sales representative from the Southwest sales office in Dana Point, California. Larry has quite literally been with the company from the beginning, even before the beginning, and with it has enjoyed two economic booms, suffered through three recessions, and has sold more Nordhavns than anyone in the world. His expertise shows through with every sale, and perhaps that’s because Larry’s passion for boating is so much like that of the customers he services.

Growing up in San Clemente, CA, it was a newspaper classified ad for a 17-foot “National” (a one-design class of sailboats often raced by sailing clubs) that first lured Larry to the world of ocean travel, back when he was a teenager. Just 15 at the time, Larry scraped together enough money to buy the boat – and a trailer hitch – and convinced his mother to drive him to the Dana Point Harbor launch ramp so he could practice sailing. “I must have sailed her hundreds of times,” says Larry about his beloved Simmer. From then on, he was hooked.

Within the confines of the Dana Point Harbor are several office buildings, one that housed Dan Streech Yacht Sales. Larry befriended the owner and his associate, a young guy named Jim Leishman, and the gang of 20-somethings would go out sailing on Larry’s boat practically every weekend. Larry didn’t know back then what key role these friends would later play in his life.

A few years later, Larry went in on an old wooden P-32 sailboat that he restored and sailed around Southern California during college. He wound up living on the boat and started work at a local marine hardware store where he was retail manager, then later outside salesman. It was 1975, the same time that Dan Streech and Jim Leishman – now partners in a company called Pacific Asian Enterprises - had begun importing Transpac 49 sailboats. They became good clients of the hardware store and of Larry’s.

Larry enjoyed a successful tenure at the hardware store, but gave it all up to get married and travel around Europe by camper. Life was grand for the newlyweds but Larry missed boating, so he and his wife shipped the camper via freighter back to California. He ran into Dan Streech, Jim Leishman and their third partner Joe Meglen, who hired Larry to head up commissioning of the Transpacs, and their other boating line, Mason sailboats. But two years later the good times came to a crashing halt. A recession was in full swing, capped off by the luxury tax, and sales dried up. Larry was let go from his salaried position but invited back as a fully-commissioned salesman. For Larry, sales was his bread and butter. He excelled at it, and more importantly, he enjoyed it. He was the only salesman the company had until 1988.

Shortly thereafter, the company introduced a new powerboat: the Nordhavn 46. For this rag bagger, power boats went against everything he stood for, but like the other diehard sailors that made up P.A.E., Larry felt the Nordhavn was a departure from typical “stink pots” and fit with his philosophy. “The Nordhavn was a safe, seaworthy, quiet, odor-free, economical, long-range, go-anywhere powerboat,” Larry recalls thinking when the design was launched. “It was a trawler that a sailor could fall in love with.”

From then on, Larry’s never looked back. Even when the company expanded their sales force to two people in 1988 and as many as 21 in recent years, Larry has managed to shine. So what’s the secret to his success? “This is a career that has kept me involved with the ocean and boating, which have been passions of mine as long as I can remember. It has been wonderful to be able to make a living at something you love doing. The lifestyle of this career is the best: working with people who want to do something exciting in their lives, being a part of that process, and getting to make a lifetime of friends along the way.”

Nordhavns made a name for themselves based on a terrific design, outstanding marketing, adventurous owners and a close-knit, supportive staff. People believed in the thinking behind Nordhavn, but in 2008, it began becoming increasingly difficult to drive that message home to economic-weary prospects. “The fall of 2008 felt like the end of the world and everyone I knew had a big financial setback to their net worth and savings. Boat buyers that I had been talking to for years were now further away from a purchase than ever before. Many lost the price of a boat purchase from their portfolio and regretted that they did not buy during the time when they could have easily purchased a boat.

“The last two years have reinforced my belief that you still have to live for today. The hourglass in everyone’s life is still running and it is easier than ever before to postpone the future. You can get so caught up in watching the stock market that you forget to live your life with no regrets.”

Hopefully, however, we’ve begun seeing the light of day. There’s been significant movement within the brokerage market – specifically with pre-owned Nordhavns – and once again, Larry’s setting the pace. On the heels of his 30-year anniversary with the company, this most recent recession has been the third one he’s gone through since being with P.A.E., and he’s noticed a few trends along the way. “The good, well-priced brokerage boats always lead the charge in sales at the beginning of a recovery. After that, brokerage inventory begins to dry up and new boat orders soon follow. It is a great time for the savvy buyers to scoop up a terrific boat at an incredible value. The smart buyers know this and do not want to miss the opportunity.”

Contact Larry Gieselman at larry@nordhavn.com or in the office at 949-496-4933.

 

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