Its about 10am and Dick picks up his phone to call Mike Schenk who’s on the barge headed south, “How’s it going?” ”We’ve run aground and are going nowhere” responded Mike.
That was the beginning of what would be a 71 hour 300 mile continuous trip from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale. The Showcase has a draft of 18″-24″, so the draft wasn’t the issue. The problem arouse when the wind would catch the large structure and push both it and the tug out of the channel and onto a sandbar. So they had to call in reinforcements to help maneuver the barge in windy situations. ”Once that second tug was hooked up we finally started making good time. Instead of 3 knots we were now able to go 5. ” said Mike.
At 5 knots it was still a long and difficult journey. To make matters worse they had to navigate 74 bridges and 5 locks. “The hairiest parts of the trip were squeezing through many of the bridges. At some of them there were literally inches between us and the railings.” recalled Mike.
On a very windy, rainy and cold day it finally made it to Ft. Lauderdale and with the exception of a few scratches and an exhausted crew all was perfect.
(Pictures, Videos and more after link)
If you haven’t seen The Showcase in person, you must. Visit it at the Sails Marina at the base of 17th St Causeway Bridge in Ft. Lauderdale or it will also be at the Miami and West Palm Beach Boat Shows.
If you have seen it I guarantee you will never forget it. And that is the attitude we have here at Lazzara. This is something we will never forget, something that everyone in the entire company worked towards and accomplished. There were many people , from different nations and backgrounds, that came together to make this Showcase happen. While I cant name them all, some that do stand out are Dick, Roger, Craig, Herb, Neil, Kevin, Mike, Thong, Dee and many more. I think the speech Dick gave at the grand opening the Wednesday night prior to the Ft.Lauderdale Boat Show, sums up our feelings towards the Showcase.
To us she’s more than just a place to sell boats out of, its a lifelong dream, realized with a diverse team of people and is worthy of all the accolades and praise she has received. In the end that’s what makes her so special to us and in my humble opinion fitting that at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show a magazine wrote an article on her entitled, ”Belle of the Ball” .