Client Profile: It's the journey, not the destination

December 06, 2018

Jerry King grew up in a tight-knit family where finances were also tight. “There was rarely extra money for non-necessities,” he recalls. “I didn’t even have 50 cents for a bus ride to the beach.”

What Jerry did have was tenacity, ambition, and an abundance of determination. By age 8, he was picking up odd jobs. In his late teens, his baseball skills earned him a free ride to the University of California at Berkeley. And by age 30, he’d become a successful entrepreneur with the means to semi-retire.

“I relished the idea of not working so much anymore and craved a more adventurous lifestyle,” Jerry says. But he was totally clueless about his next move—until fate intervened. One day, while strolling the streets of Newport Beach, he passed a hang gliding store. Intrigued, he went in to see what it was all about. “The saleswoman who greeted me had her shoulder in a cast—the result of a hang gliding accident,” he says. “And when she introduced me to her mate, who was confined to the back office with a full body cast, I was out,” he laughs.

Just a few blocks further down the street, a video of Hobie Cats sailing and surfing that was playing in a storefront window caught Jerry’s eye. Despite that this California native had never sailed a boat, Jerry’s curiosity was piqued, and he decided to give the sport a try.

Sailing came naturally to Jerry, who began hanging out with other Hobie Cat owners—soaking up all the “tricks of the trade” like a sponge. In fact, after participating in just a few years of races, this newbie captured two National Hobie Cat Championships. “Even Hobie Alter, creator of the Hobie Cat, sought me out and asked, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Where do you come from?’ ‘This has never happened before!’” Jerry smiles.

A Hobie Cat Ambassador

Jerry’s newfound celebrity status led to an opportunity to travel the world as an (unpaid) ambassador for Hobie Cat. With stops in Thailand, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Europe and more, Jerry was hosted by—and attended parties with—Hobie Cat enthusiasts, sharing what he knew and had learned about the sport. “It was an amazing adventure, where I learned a lot and had the time of my life,” he says.

In his travels, he also met the love of his life. “In Fortaleza, Brazil, my host was a large fish exporter, and while touring his facility, I met Conceicao Farias, a marine biologist who was employed to troubleshoot some problems they were having exporting fish to the U.S.,” Jerry reports. Within a nanosecond of spotting this Brazilian beauty, Jerry knew he wanted to get to know her better, so he invited her to lunch.
“It was an awkward meal, since she couldn’t speak English (although she could read and write it), and I couldn’t speak Portuguese,” Jerry recalls. “So, we relied on body language to communicate.” After a while, Conceicao leaned towards Jerry and uttered her first word to him: “NO!” 

“My first impression of him wasn’t so hopeful,” she explains. “I suspected he was just a rich playboy, and not a match for me.”

But Jerry was completely infatuated, and once again, his tenacity paid off. After leaving Brazil, he wrote to Conceicao and eventually asked if he could visit her again. She said yes, and long story short, the two fell in love, learned to speak other’s languages, and eventually got married and moved to Hawaii. “I wanted to master windsurfing, and Maui was the mecca for that,” Jerry says. Despite that his bride had a lifelong fear of being in water deeper than three inches, Conceicao took up windsurfing as well and was soon snorkeling and scuba diving, too. “As a scientist, my dream had always been to win a Nobel Prize, but instead, I’d become a beach bum,” she laughs.

From Landlubbers to Live-Aboards

Eventually the couple returned to California but weren’t pumped about the idea of buying a house. “We wanted to be live-aboards,” says Jerry, “but we couldn’t find a boat we could get really excited about, either. Everything we looked at had fatal flaws: either it didn’t seem safe...or was too heavy... etc., etc.” So, the pair decided to design their dream boat and have it custom built.

 

Mauliola (which means “Breath of Life”) is a Morrelli & Melvin Custom 65-foot catamaran that boasts all the safety and fun features the couple desired. “It took about six years to get it right,” Jerry says, “with the first part of it built in America, then the more intricate parts added in New Zealand.”

“Mauliola is uniquely very special,” Jerry adds. “It’s very strong, yet super light for its size and type—making her much faster and providing more safety and exceptional joy, while comfortably doing 400 miles a day! Also, those fatal flaws on the other boats we looked at have been replaced with features enhancing safety and pleasure. In addition, there are a lot of features to allow and enjoy very remote cruising—like enough solar and hydropower to not need the generator, 30 cu ft. of refrigeration, having less than 2’ of draft, etc.”

Conceicao somewhat jokingly refers to Mauliola as the “other woman,” and says her husband spared no expense to build her. “She is indeed a high-cost lady, and I see my inheritance (or alimony) going out to sea every day.”


Oh, the Experiences We’ve Had!

Mauliola departed San Diego for New Zealand in 2012 and was finally finished in 2016. Since then, she has covered 32,000 miles, mostly in the South Pacific. Some highlights of Jerry and Conceicao’s journeys:


“I’ll never forget crossing the Pacific and not seeing land for 3,000 miles, then arriving in Fatu Hiva, one of the most gorgeous of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia,” says Conceicao. “Or the day we sailed between Mexico and Costa Rica and spotted hundreds and hundreds of sea turtles in the water approaching the boat. It was like someone had released them. Magnificent!”


Other memorable moments include swimming with teaming schools of all kinds of fish— including sharks—in the atolls like Fakarava, numerous underwater experiences in Fiji’s breathtaking coral reefs, and the wonderful villagers of the very remote islands.

Then there was Jerry’s 74th birthday celebration in Susui, an isolated island in Fiji, where the couple was treated as guests of honor. “From native costumes to island music, that was one amazing party,” Conceicao recalls. Many, many other remote island experiences have been unbelievable, adds Jerry. “I see Fiji and many other remote Atolls as needing to step down to get to Heaven.”

Protected by Pantaenius

Mauliola has been insured by Pantaenius America since day one. “The company came highly recommended to us by other boat owners, and we couldn’t have been in better hands,” says Jerry. “Their customer service is impeccable. When they first sent me our policy, I read every word, and they answered all my questions. No other yacht insurance company that I know of offers the broad navigations that Pantaenius does. We only had one small claim when a crew member injured his knee while making a repair on the boat, and all it took was a simple phone call to resolve everything. To me, this company is a perfect example of how to do things right.”

Aloha!

Next up for Jerry and Conceicao is a voyage to the Sea of Cortez. But Hawaii, where the couple has a home on the Big Island, is their ultimate “happy place”—and likely where they will eventually settle. For this, and other reasons, “Aloha” is painted on the side of Mauliola. Aloha not only means hello and goodbye, it means love, peace, and compassion—and that appears to be this couple’s mantra.

“It’s the journey, not the destination,” Jerry says. “Oftentimes, I’ll be on early morning watch and spot pods of playful dolphins approaching us from all directions. It never fails to make me feel privileged to be in the ocean—and grateful to know that we’re being treated to something few others will ever do. Every moment we spend on Mauliola, we