In 2015, I met Buddy Haack while he was working on a Mega Yacht called, Double Down at the local Port. I wanted to meet this mystery man who had connections with the super yacht owners. Haack however, was no stranger to the mega yacht world with over 40 years under his belt in many aspects of the industry. While he was refitting several yachts I would visit Buddy occasionally to see the progress of John Rossati’s famous yacht, Double Down. In fact, I was fortunate to meet Mr. Rosatti and tour his vessel. Buddy, the Super Mega Yacht man is a super nice guy who loves Fort Pierce. “He is a true gentleman”, I was told by a local merchant. In 2016, he left Fort Pierce when the property he was leasing came up for sale. The owner had his own ideas and ended up selling it to the County for 25 million. After that, I did not hear from him until I saw him at a County Commission meeting in 2018 when his company Fort Pierce Yacht & Ship was one of two RFQ’s to be voted on to work at the Port that was now owned by the County. As it turned out, Buddy’s group was not chosen. But, that did not matter because Buddy who has close relationships with his billionaire clients, already had scheduled work. He takes pride in his work and the mission Statement is clear, We are a “boatique” shipyard with a simple business model: all our repair and refit services are tailored to our customer’s needs. We are efficient, effective, and economical and will exceed our customer’s expectations. “The word “Boutique” in this business refers to the total restoration of a yacht” says Haack. “It’s like that show Overhaul “.
Two of the ships that came in from February 2019 to now were named the top 200 Largest Yachts in the World in the 2018 Edition of Boat magazine. The owners of The St Nicolas(229′ ) and Freedom( 230′) picked Haack to do their total renovations in our Fort Pierce Port. In only 10 months they did 11 million dollars in business and our town was filled with 100’s of jobs and staff who contributed economically during that time. Since February he had 50 or more people a day working 7 days a week, plus over time 100 days straight. Buddy reiterates that FPYS can do approximately 28 million in business a year in Fort Pierce and oh, by the way, the owners do come to town on their jets to the Treasure Coast International airport. It’s more convenient for them to arrive at our local air port. Not only that, but they love to hang out at our local establishments for their business meetings. Some of his clientele are even interested in investing in our area. This is a win win for the economic growth. Fort Pierce Yacht & Ship has had 4 major projects since February 2019 and FPSY paid St Lucie County over 100,000.00 in Dockage, electric and garbage in less than 4 months. The list of Yachts and Oceanographic vessels brought to Fort Pierce since 2015 are important to note because of the economic impact it has had on our area. Syrca 230′, Podium 200′, Freedom 240′, Double Down 214′, Saint Nicolas 230′, Winning drive 130′, Vibrance 170′, Alucia 170′, Pressure Drop 210′ and Global 220′. Four of these yachts were completely updated in 4 months between October 2015 and February 2016. Another four were completely renovated between February 2019 and June 2019. Right now July 2019, the County has stopped all vessels coming in to the port.
Both the Double Down and Vibrance are in the Super Yacht Society International Refit awards. Double Down was Refit of the Year 2016 and Vibrance is up for Refit of the Year 2019. The owner of Vibrance spent 6.8 million dollars to have Buddy and his team totally remodel every part of the his Yacht. Can you believe these super yachts were totally updated here in Fort Pierce, Florida against all the refit ship yards in the World? That helps put us on the map!!
Here is another fact, Buddy happens to be the author of 3 best seller books about mega yachts. He co-authored two sequel books called Mega Yacht Wisdom I & 11. The third book is called Mega Yacht True Stories of Adventure & Tragedy at Sea. All of these books can be purchased on Amazon. When he isn’t writing about mega yachts or restoring them, he spends time with his wife and two girls. He is also very close to his Billionaire clients and jet sets around the world.
Buddy Haack brings the best yachts ever built to Fort Pierce and yes we all enjoy seeing them glide so majestically through our beautiful Inlet. Many photographers have captured their beauty. That kind of lifestyle captivates most of us. Unfortunately, we won’t be getting yachts of this magnitude for a while because the port is getting revamped. Also, FPYS has acquired a sea wall permit to do repairs. In addition, FPYS applied for the submerged land lease in November of 2018 for 440′ out by 200′ wide to dock more vessels. After that, they need a permit for maintenance dredging of 26′. Regrettably, the worlds most advance oceanographic explorer yacht, Alucia 2 was scheduled to come visit this Summer but was redirected to West Palm because of the hold ups of the DEP, the Army Corp of Engineering, FPSYS permits and the County. Thankfully, Dana Small of Environmental Services has been helpful in the process. So, for now we can only dream about “Champagne wishes, caviar dreams and our ships coming in!”
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