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Nanas Cool Boat

Boating holds a special place in the life of Jonlee Peterson,from days on the water with her late husband to weekends watching great-grandchildren frolic in the water.
  • Jonlee Peterson on the back of Galeon 500 Fly with family

It all adds up to a lifetime of fabulous memories.

“One of my favorite memories is from back in the early 1980s in Wisconsin,” says Jonlee. “My husband Bob and our friend, Morry Minor, were on Green Bay, coming back to Sturgeon Bay from Ellison Bay. I was on the bridge wheeling when first one and them, then the other went to get a drink or take a nap. I just kept going. Three hours later they both came flying up from below yelling, ‘I thought YOU were watching her!’ I was so proud...”

A widow for the past 27 years, Jonlee caught the boating bug from her husband (they were married 48 years ago) when the couple lived in Wisconsin.

“He had a 32-foot sport fisherman that he loved to take out on the Great Lakes. I drove that for a while, but realized I was doing all of the work. So I bought a bigger boat and hired a captain. So there I was, a widow and a serious boater. I kept it for another six years and had a few captains over that time. I traveled on it, a lot. Went all over the Great Lakes even to Canada,” Jonlee says.

After a time, boating became less and less a part of her life, but the memories of great times on the water remained vital. Though she chartered some in the intervening years, up until this year, she had not owned a boat in over two decades. But she still went to the boat shows, and her granddaughter and family would soon be moving down to Ft. Myers. To Jonlee, it started to look like perhaps the time had come for another boat. What followed was a happy collection of serendipity, coincidences and reconnecting with old friends.

“I went to a boat show in Ft. Lauderdale this past fall, and I was looking at 50-footers which felt like a nice size that could get to a lot of places. I was looking around and getting serious. I looked at Power and Motoryacht magazine. About 10 pages in I saw an ad for a very strange boat. I sat down that very night and made a list of 17 items that I required on a boat. Then I called up an old friend of mine, who years ago captained a boat that I had chartered.”

That old friend was Brandon Flaherty, New Yacht Sales and Brokerage for MarineMax based in Ft Myers. Back in 2001, Brandon handled a charter yacht for Jonlee, cruising all around the coast of Florida for about two months. That was the first of many trips they chartered.

“Turns out my old captain was selling boats. I called Brandon and said I think I am getting serious about buying a boat. I showed him my list. The very next morning I called him and said I wanted to ride on a boat again. Brandon told me come up that day and bring the kids,” says Jonlee.

“When I got there, he gave me a brochure about a boat that had everything I had listed. It turns out it was the very boat I saw in that magazine. I waited about a week and told him to hold that boat for me. Nothing had tempted me like this boat before. I ended up paying for it before I had even heard the engines turn on. I have loved it ever since. It rides beautifully.”

The boat that intrigued and captured Jonlee was the Galeon, and through MarineMax she bought the very first one offered on American shores at the Miami Boat Show a few months back.

“She explained the layout and the key features she wanted,” says Brandon. “With what she was looking for Galeon was the perfect fit.”

Highly customizable, with three distinct aft configurations to choose from, the Galeon 500 Fly offers flexibility with cockpit arrangements. Choose between a full-sized garage with a sundeck on top, a classic L-shaped sofa and crew cabin setup or the innovative roto-seat option that includes a compact garage. Best of all – all three will let you take full advantage of the unique beach mode that extends the width of the cockpit to a stunning 6 meters by dropping down both the port and starboard sides. The bow rest area comes with a transformable seating arrangement – a first for a yacht in this segment. A swift, automated system will quickly alter the sundeck into a comfortable seating area and auto-level it to a proper position. An optional, soft top bimini is also available for extra protection. Up top, the sizable flybridge can be fitted with a wet bar, sundecks and a second helm station for easier maneuvering.

Established in 1982, Galeon remains a privately owned company specializing in constructing luxury yacht and motorboats. With clear vision and steady growth, more than 800 people work on 18,000 square meters of production and assembly halls.

 "The galley is close to the aft of the boat. With the full beam master and flybridge, the fold-out decks and the gallery arrangement, this is really a special yacht. Port and starboard decks go from 15-foot to 19-foot. The bar folds up out of the galley area. The whole side of the boat opens up into the galley area. It is a pretty revolutionary arrangement. Opening up the usable area is a phenomenal concept,” Brandon says.

Jonlee put her deposit down at the end of last year, and MarineMax and Galeon sponsored a christening event at the Miami International Boat Show. Jonlee’s family and friends came to experience this wonderful way to introduce the boat to North America. Jonlee named the yacht the "Galeon One."

"The event was spectacular," Jonlee says. “The folks from MarineMax and Galeon were all there, as well as plenty of my family and friends. Many of whom I had not seen in quite a while. It was very special.” Jonlee says the food was great and there were plenty of refreshments all around. “It turns out the head of Galeon had a condo near mine on Marco Island... another unlikely coincidence,” Jonlee says. All in all the christening event was a great way to introduce Galeon to an American audience.