After traveling the world serving in the U.S. Navy, and owning a handful of sport cruisers throughout his 31-year boating career, Steve Murdock has embraced the trawler life as the proud owner of his 1995 Fleming 55 Pilothouse, Patriot.
Name: Steve Murdock
Home Port: St. Clair Shores, Michigan
Current boat: 1995 Fleming 55 Pilothouse Patriot
Years owned: 4
My parents weren’t boaters growing up, and we had limited access to the lakes where we lived. My father took a temporary work assignment in Traverse City, Michigan, when I was 12 and rented a cottage on Lake Michigan for the summer. The owner of the cottage took us out for the day on his 26-foot Chris-Craft Sea Skiff. That put the hook in me. Years later, after my time at sea in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy, I bought my first boat and have been at it ever since. Prior to Patriot, I’ve owned a 26-foot Baja, a 28-foot Sea Ray Sundancer, a 40-foot Sea Ray Express Cruiser and a 48-foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge.
While I was first drawn to the Fleming 55’s classic lines, seaworthiness and fine craftsmanship, there are so many things I love about Patriot: the pilothouse, the walkaround decks, the forethought that went into its construction (even though that was 25 years ago), the beautiful teak joinery. I could go on; how much time do we have?
I spend as much time aboard Patriot as I can with my significant other, Barbara, and other family members. I also singlehand at times, as Barbara still works and I am retired. I’m a liveaboard from May to October during the boating season. Then I spend the winter months undertaking projects to keep her in cruising shape. When I bought the boat, the broker from Burr Yacht Sales called it a “time capsule,” mostly due to the fact that it had been meticulously maintained in its original configuration since 1995. After purchase, I undertook several projects to update the galley appliances, refinish teak brightwork and decks, install modern electronics, and bring electrical wiring up to current ABYC standards.
I love my boat, but if I could, I’d probably make the master stateroom head a little bigger. It is somewhat small for a boat of this size.
I love the freedom that cruising brings. You go where you want, when you want, and at your own pace. I also enjoy the camaraderie that other cruisers bring (I’m a TrawlerFest alumni). On a boat like the Fleming 55, we can easily carry everything we need to be comfortable for long periods while having plenty of room to entertain family and friends.
During my 30-plus years in the Navy, I traveled all over the world. While I’ve been to many beautiful places (and some not so nice), none appeal to me as much as the Great Lakes. If I had to pick one destination, it would probably be the Little Traverse Bay area in northern Michigan. It boasts pristine fresh water, several ports and anchorages, classic towns each with its own vibe—and, in normal years, many festivals and summer events. It is also in close proximity to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the most beautiful place in America a few years back. Enough said.
Probably a Fleming 58. I love the style and the brand.
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