The author Obie Usategui and his wife Odalis are happy to be back on the water again.
life and my marriage were in shambles.
The boats owned throughout my life were, for the most part,
linked to my economic situation and age. Over time, my taste for
speed in the water was largely replaced by a desire for space, amenities, entertainment, and fishing. In the end, it was just about a
relaxing weekend in Bimini, with dinners and friends onboard. Yes,
there were my attempts at “captainhood,” mastering the simple GPS,
which became my guiding light for intrepid voyages. Oh my God,
the unforgettable times!
Regretfully, no sooner was I on top of the world than my business life began to crumble. My once-solid plastic-manufacturing
companies here and in Mexico had fallen prey to judgment errors
on my part that sent my little empire spiraling down, culminating in
the loss of just about everything I owned, my boat included. Lenders
justly feasted on my remains.
Photo: Bernadette Bernon, inset photos courtesy of the author
After the collapse, I felt complete despair. These events had
depleted whatever motivation was left in me. To start all over again,
at 58, would be virtually impossible after the 18 years of hard work
and pride I’d invested in my business. Throughout it all, though,
one of the things I missed the most would not be the boat itself,
but, instead, it was the smell of the sea, the sound of breaking
waves, the magnificent ocean. In the end, I had the sad realization
that my only means of sharing in the beauty of this magnificent part
of nature would come exclusively by way of a boat, a luxury I could
no longer afford.
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In the years that followed, I attempted just about every business
opportunity that knocked on my door, none of which materialized
to any more than hopes of days gone by. Throughout all the trials
OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2011
and tribulations, images of The Torment were present in my thoughts
as a dream of better things to come, a reminder that man should
always strive to better himself. I couldn’t help but reminisce how the
old wreck had served as a launching platform to a lifetime of boating
fulfillment, a stepping stone to the ownership of some really inspiring vessels. I kept thinking: If I’d done it once, perhaps I could do
it all over again.
Every so often, I’d my share my desire to go boating again with
the newly found love of my life, Odalis. She, like many non-boaters,
would invariably suggest that we rent one. To me, the thought of
renting a boat was like falling in love with someone with whom you
could never have a meaningful relationship. It would be torture. I
was much better off focusing on solving the economic limitations
preventing me from buying a boat than I was with the thought of
And so my marriage to Odalis went on, filled with happiness
and everything that couples look forward to in a great relationship.
It was an unselfish desire to please each other that one day made
Odalis propose that we buy a boat. She offered to do it under her
name and credit, as mine had been badly trampled during my business debacle. I knew she was doing it for me, and took her offer very
seriously, just as I’d always done whenever she’d made any kind of
commitment to me.
Shortly thereafter, our boat search began, and we were like
children waiting for Christmas Day. Odalis had insisted that we buy
a new vessel, mind you, which eventually proved to be one of the
wisest choices we’ve ever made, considering the countless trouble-free outings that followed. We made our purchase decision carefully
as the boat we were about to purchase would be one of the major
investments of our lives. A few months of exhaustive searching led to
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