Dan talks "Boat"
The creator of the M/V Pelagic is Dan F. Gill. Dan grew up in Dallas where one of his fondest memories was Boy Scout outings on Lake Dallas aboard a Chris Craft “Cabin Cruiser”. His dad had a 16’ Glastron ski boat that eventually became Dan’s first boat. Except for short periods of time during his career building days, Dan has always spent a lot of time around boats and on the water.
Dan holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Texas Tech University with expertise in both mechanical and electrical disciplines.
These dual interests were reflected in his thesis project titled “Electronic Control of a Powershift Transmission”. During his graduate studies, Dan was inducted into the Alpha Epsilon engineering honor fraternity and was elected president. Dan is also a graduate of the Womack School of Fluid Power, and has been very active in Continuing Education throughout the years. Dan’s career includes managing a corporate engineering test lab where prototypes of earthmoving equipment were built, tested, and evaluated, and as Chief Engineer, Heavy Rig Group of a major manufacturer of oilfield equipment.
When an opportunity to move to the Texas coast popped up, Dan grabbed it with gusto. Though his initial interest was salt water bay fishing, Dan soon found himself wandering further and further from his home on Aransas Bay. Dan’s solid 23’ Sea Ox with cuddy cabin was a seaworthy platform for day trips of offshore fishing. Runs down the Intracoastal Waterway to Port Mansfield or even Port Isabel at the southernmost tip of Texas became a yearly tradition. Dan was no stranger to sailing either. Dan had purchased a home on Key Allegro Isle, a canal subdivision with direct access to Aransas Bay and the ICW. As there was room for more than one boat on the bulkhead, Dan’s sailing friends had found a convenient place to keep their boats, which Dan gladly crewed on.
One of Dan’s friends suggested that he run for the public office of Navigation District Commissioner. And thus began a three term run culminating as Chairman of the Board, Aransas County Navigation District. It was during this period that Dan’s ideas and interest in cruising began to jell. He began to vision a 40’ to 50’ live aboard vessel that could travel long distances safely and comfortably. Captain Robert Beebe’s book, “Voyaging under Power”, planted the seed that grew into an obsession to build the best couple’s cruising vessel possible, and to cruise her to the Bahamas or beyond.
Being somewhat of an intellectual, Dan began a serious effort to educate himself in the disciplines of Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture. He joined the American Boat and Yacht Counsel (ABYC) to gain access to the “Technical Standards for Small Boats” and the continuing education seminars given every year at the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition and Conference (IBEX). He became familiar with the sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that applied to boats, especially T-Boats (originally a class of US army boats but now applies to many small passenger boats). It was not Dan’s intention to re-invent the wheel, but just to build the very best wheel ever.
There was never any question about basic hull form. A full displacement hull was required. But as with all boats, there were endless important decisions and compromises to be studied and decided. Ballast or non-ballasted, single or twin, fly bridge or not, aft cabin or cockpit, polyester or epoxy, and on and on ad infinitum. Dan dealt with these decisions in a very thorough and professional way. In many cases he wrote for himself a white paper describing the issue, listing options, writing pros and cons, making the call, and justifying the decision. Of course, by the 1990’s there were already some very fine production and custom boats of this type, and Dan knew what they were doing. The Nordhavn 46 and Krogen 42 are two excellent examples. The most common disagreement that Dan has with the production boats was that in order to advertise more cabins they sacrificed storage space and full size appliances. Dan felt that his boat would be used by two people over 90% of the time and that full time guest accommodations were wasting space. Dan preferred convertible spaces at the dinette and in the pilot house for the occasional guests.
So, with a head full of ideas, and a well thought out plan, Dan leased ½ acre from the Navigation District and set out to build his dream. About 8-1/2 years and 16,500 man-hours later Pelagic was launched, and within another year completed. Dan’s dream was ready to go cruising!