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March 28, 2018

Boats and the Alphabet

Devin Zwick

Do these two seemingly incongruous words go together? I think they do. Years ago, when all you had was the phonebook, all the businesses wanted to be first. AAA Plumbing was always top of the list. Now we have Google, Bing, Yahoo and Safari. The new technology is great but you have to buy a higher listing or use words to increase the chance you are first. In the end it is still alphabetical for the most part. So how can Devin Zwick ever sell a boat?

I’m sure Devin’s favorite day in school was reverse day. I on the other hand hated reverse days. My name is Bill Baker, I was always first. I got the mint chocolate chip ice cream before it ran out. Devin ended up eating vanilla most of the time…except on reverse day.  The middle of the pack people didn’t care. They are known as the LMNO’s and yes, I thought that was one letter when I was in first grade. They were in the middle no matter what.

Ok back to Devin Zwick the boat salesman.  There is only one possible way Devin sells a boat and that is by working harder, working longer, being smarter and having a heart as big as his 6’4” frame. This is the story of how I know this to be true.
I grew up in Corona del Mar just up the coast from PAE Headquarters in Dana Point California. I grew up on the water on my grandparents’ boat, a 40’ Wheeler named Roxia. We went to Catalina Island every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  In Junior High and High School, I was a dock rat working on boats in Newport Harbor. Since all the boats were wood I spent most of my time varnishing. By the time you get to the end you have to start over again. By the time I was 12 I could dock the family boat, now a 46’ Chris Craft Constellation named Roxia II.  I have always loved being on the water whether it was my 9’ Glaspar, a 17’ SeaRay or Roxia our N62.  I went to college, then graduate school, and was hired by a company and moved to Bellevue, Washington.

Then an interesting thing happened. Jeff Leishman and the PAE Team designed and built the Nordhavn 62. Now that was a boat! I worked hard but found the big company life wasn’t for me so I started my own company. My dream of owning a Nordhavn 62 was now so far in the distance that I didn’t even hope. I still followed my “local” Nordhavn company and even stopped by the office from time to time. I enjoyed looking at the models in the little yacht club office and then the cushy digs of the new world headquarters. Where in the world is Devin in all this? Almost there.

My first Nordhavn salesman would contact me from time to time but he was an LMNO (not actually) and left the sales team.  Here is where the magic happens. Devin Zwickwas my new salesman. Devin, like me, doesn’t believe in the no-win scenario. He kept in touch and not just to say hi. He figured out what I liked and we hit it off. We always had a good conversation which ended with Devin saying, “if you ever want to see a boat or are in the area let’s get together”. Devin is fun to hang out with and I always learn something new when I talk to him.  We are so much alike: I am 5’4” Devin is 6’4”, I have white hair Devin has dark hair, I like to fix things and so does Devin! I am slow to trust others and finding someone who is honest is off the charts important to me. Devin is that guy.

About a year ago my wife Emmy and I were very lucky with business and investments. I wasn’t that smart I just was plain lucky. The N62 was still tucked into the recesses of my brain.  When talking to Devin he must have noticed a new Nordhavn enthusiasm and put on his thinking cap. He started researching all the N62s for sale. He found THE boat.  It was located in Corfu, Greece! Somehow, Em and I just got swept away with the N62 idea and headed 10,000 miles away to buy a boat in the Med. We met Devin and his lovely girlfriend Margeaux on the hot and muggy island of Corfu. Once there we found everything in Corfu is old and not maintained and the boat was the same. After three quarters of a day with Devin and the surveyor, I knew this deal would never happen so the four of us decided to take the week and travel the island of Corfu. The adventurous Margeaux and Devin decided to scooter the island and Emmy and I rented a car and carried their bags. As we planned our trip, floating in the marina pool, Devin was already working his magic. He had located an unlisted N62 in Mackay, Australia! The boat seemed promising. We started to plan a trip to get to Brisbane…But wait! Didn’t we learn anything from the first attempt that day? Devin arranged to get videos shot (no time to fix it up) and have them emailed to us in Greece. The boat looked great. Then Devin found an OCD surveyor that later sent me a 75 page survey report and 1,400 photos.  Next Devin arranged a conference call with the surveyor and we talked for 40 minutes confirming that the boat was great.

Devin must sleep 12-13 minutes per night because by the time I got up the next day he already had the paperwork copied and ready to sign. A month after Greece we were flying to Australia to seal the deal. It was not without difficulty but Devin kept the communication alive from mountain tops on his Sat Phone, in airports, boat shows, you name it.  I told Devin not only would I hire him I’d adopt him! This guy is the real deal.

I can’t say enough great things about Devin.  And to bring this whole story back to the original topic, Devin Zwick is the last contact in my 1,700+ alphabetically arranged name list, so he is easy to find. So that, my friends, is what happens when you have a last name that starts with ZW. Forget the LMNO’s and go for the Zed!

Bill and Emmy Baker
N6231 Roxia