We almost always go out on overnight weekend trips. Rockport is one of our favorite spots as there is a great anchorage area with an adjacent dingy dock that gets you into town with a very short walk.

Reel Patriot, Wellcraft 30’

Interview with the Captain – Scott Annunziata

About the Boat

Why did you choose to buy a Wellcraft?
When it came time to buy a bigger boat, my husband and I wanted something that we could drop in/haul out ourselves that was also large enough to accommodate a couple of kids for overnight trips. That’s a lot to ask for 30’, but the Wellcraft delivered on that in large part to the additional birth and two convertible “bonus” bunks above the v-birth, for a total sleeping accommodation of 6. We also thought the balance between deck space and cabin space was best in class.

What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this particular model (and how did they compare)?
We looked at mostly sport fishing / cabin cruisers in the 28’-30’ range, such as Grady-White, Hydra-Sports, and Pursuit. We liked them all for different reasons, but we found the layout of the Wellcraft to be the best especially for our weekend-long overnight trips (which is the vast majority of trips).

How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
This is a funny story. We originally saw her on a brokerage website as it was being sold by a broker on the South Shore. We fell in love with her immediately, as it was exactly what we were looking for and within our price range. When I called (excitedly) to ask about her I was told that her sale was pending. So, we kept looking. Several months later, I happened to be browsing Craigslist and saw the boat for sale. I couldn’t believe there was another Well-craft so similar to “the one that got away”. We went to see it and agreed to purchase that same day. As it turns out, it WAS the same boat that we had seen months earlier. The seller said that the broker was never able to get any leads after months of being listed and so he decided to sell it himself out of frustration. We were one of about a dozen calls he got on the very first day he listed it. Fortunately for us, we were one of the first to show up and didn’t waste any time making a deal. What the issue was with that broker we’ll never know. What I can tell you is that the seller was pretty peeved to learn that we had tried to buy her from the broker months earlier (and at a higher price), only to be turned away.

What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
Shortly after we took delivery of her we upgraded to all newer electronics, including dual screen MFDs with Raymarine Quantum Radar, and created a network backbone to integrate engine data. We’ve also upgraded the audio system, and made improvements to the deck lighting and things like that.

What are the features you like most about your boat?
We like the fact that we have convertible bunks which allows us to sleep our kids comfortably. We also like the fact that she has both ample cabin and deck space which is great for overnight trips.

Who first introduced you to boating/sailing?
I grew up on a small island (West Island – off of Fairhaven), so I was always around boats. When I was 10 or so my neighbor gave me his old dinghy that had been damaged on rocks. He taught me how to repair fiberglass and we worked on it together. We fixed it up and I’d tool around with that and tiny little motor. As I got older and went off to college (and moved to Boston), I didn’t have much exposure to boating. Fast forward – when dating my now husband he suggested that we buy this old 16’ lake boat on a whim and use it go camping. He had never owned a boat before. I figured why not, so we bought this very questionable craft from a used car salesman in NH for $800. It needed a lot of work, but we did it and fell in love with boating together. It quickly became a very important part of our lives together, and now for our family too.

Do you belong to a yacht club or other boating/sailing organizations?
We don’t belong to any yacht club. I guess we never really understood the utility of that. We’re very active boaters and we generally like to “do our own thing”. But, I think that is changing as we get older. When we get our next boat (which will not be trailer-able) we’ll probably revisit that policy as membership would at that point make things easier logistically.

What boats have you previously owned?
I’ve owned various boats from 8’ – 30’, all power.

How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
We live in central Mass – mostly because of my husband’s job and to be close to his family. As a result we more or less treat the boat as our weekend home. We almost always go out on overnight weekend trips. Rockport is one of our favorite spots as there is a great anchorage area with an adjacent dingy dock that gets you into town with a very short walk. This provides the kids with plenty to do and offers easy access to provisions, too. Before we got our kids, we would be a little more adventurous and have gone as far south as New York City and as far north as Portsmouth. We love to take the tender to shore to explore, have beach fires, etc. It’s all about exploration and mobility for us. We tend to avoid marinas for that reason and instead focused on equipping the boat for self-sufficiency.

What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
We’re fortunate in the sense that I’m fairly mechanically inclined, and so I’ve done all the servicing myself with fairly decent success. It also helps that we have a big enough driveway where I can haul the boat to our house whenever I need to service it – which fortunately has never happened during the season thanks to OCD-level preventative maintenance. We know that this will not be the case for our next boat, which is why we aren’t so eager to move up in size even though we will need the extra room as the kids get older. I have no idea how the logistics of that will work – where will we store it and how will I be able to access it for maintenance and service? As someone who insists on doing most things myself, it gives me some anxiety to think of how that will work in the future.

Do you have any notable boating resources you use?
We do a lot of googling. We also use TheHullTruth website if I get stumped on something mechanical, or if we’re looking for local knowledge and advice on a new location that we want to make a trip to.

Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Wellcraft like yours?
I honestly can’t think of anything specific to Wellcraft that wouldn’t apply to any other boat.

What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
The boat’s name was “Reel American” when we bought her – a nod to the seller’s enthusiasm for fishing and patriotism. As a condition of sale we agreed to change the name. We liked the name a lot though and so we tried to come up with something along the same lines yet different. We finally settled on “Reel Patriot” because it hadn’t been registered with the Coast Guard yet and we both really liked it.

Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Reel Patriot!