Megayacht News Radio Podcast with Howard T. Scott, Burger Superyacht Owner and Novelist
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(voiceover), Howard Scott, Diane Byrne
Welcome to Megayacht News Radio, the first and longest-running podcast series dedicated to the large-yacht industry, hosted by Diane Byrne, the editor of MegayachtNews.com. We feature conversations with engaging and inspiring people in yachting, from shipyard CEOs to designers, from yacht managers to young entrepreneurs. And yes, even owners. You’ll learn how they got into yachting, how they’re building better businesses, and especially how they’re helping people like you get more enjoyment out of the yachting lifestyle.
Diane Byrne 00:49
Welcome, everyone, to Megayacht News Radio. Today I am pleased to be speaking with Howard T. Scott, a proud yacht owner and a newly published author. Howard treasures abundant time aboard an 80-foot Burger named Capricho, built in 1987 no less, and which he had a strong hand in refitting. As an author, Howard has just published his first book, titled Rascal on the Run. It’s a legal thriller set in Georgia in the 1960s and 1990s. Being an avid cruiser and author are possible because Howard is what you might call a recovering lawyer, having spent 30 years practicing law in Georgia. That experience is evident throughout Rascal on the Run, which we’ll talk about. And we’ll also talk about how his life at sea inspired a twist in the book’s plot. So Howard, welcome to Megayacht News Radio.
Howard Scott 01:42
Good morning from Puerto Rico.
Diane Byrne 01:45
Wonderful. Oh, it’s cold here. I wish I were in Puerto Rico.
Howard Scott 01:50
Well, it’s beautiful here. And we just got in from St. Croix, which I have to say, for one reason or another, I haven’t visited. And so it was a wonderful new discovery for us. beautiful island and very, very nice people.
Diane Byrne 02:08
Excellent. Excellent. I have to put that on my bucket list. I haven’t been to St. Croix myself.
Howard Scott 02:14
Well, you will be surprised. And you would feel as if I as I did, because you didn’t realize that had so much charm. It’s a little bit out of the normal cruising pattern, but not really very far off. So I urge people to go and check it out. There are a couple of marinas, they’re not luxury resort marinas like we would normally find but you don’t need that.
Diane Byrne 02:42
No, that’s true. That’s true. You just need a good place to drop your anchor and some nice people and some good places to eat. And life is all good. Well, you have all that there. Excellent. So let’s let’s talk about–yeah, that’s a good segue, I think, into your life on the water. People, I find, always have great stories as to how they got into boating and yachting. So how did you get into the lifestyle?
Howard Scott 03:10
Well, after I retired from law, I decided that I wanted a warm weather location. And I think it was 2007 right after the real estate bubble burst and properties were for sale. So I ventured down to Florida thinking I was going to get the deal of the century on a condo or a house in southern Florida. It came to me that I would feel kind of stuck about property and one little town and you’re just there. And it would be a little bit limiting. So I just had the crazy idea. Maybe I should buy a boat and then I could travel where I want it and when it’s hot, hotter than blazes in the summertime I could be in Maine and when it’s cold as the devil and and in Georgia and Florida and other places. I could be as far south as the boat could take me. So I started looking for about a good broker and there you go.
Diane Byrne 04:12
Terrific. So let’s talk about the Burger specifically. When did you buy the yacht and what attracted you to this particular boat?
Howard Scott 04:22
Well, this is the third Burger–Capricho was the third Burger yacht that I’ve owned. The first Burger yacht was purchased right after think oh nine. And I loved it. I used it extensively but it was a little bit small. So I went way up to a 92-foot Burger from a 68-foot Burger and enjoyed that, but that was not quite the style I wanted and ended up finding this Burger seven years ago. And this is a 1987 Burger originally christened the King and I, and it was a Burger that had everything I wanted. I had a day head and had a great salon. It’s a cruiser style boat, or a houseboat style. So you have enormous space up on the flybridge, you can have a dance party, you can relax, you can drive the boat up there, of course, it just had everything we wanted. So next thing you know it was purchased and the refit started.
Diane Byrne 05:37
Let’s talk about the refit. Because I know there were some very particular ideas that you had in terms of how you want the boat to look and feel and operate. And I think it’s safe to say that you were a bit more hands on in the process than some other owners would be. So what were some of the things that you changed, and why?
Howard Scott 05:58
Well, it wasn’t so much changing, it was bringing everything back to safe and current standards. And so you obviously start with the the safety and operational issues which are mechanical and all of the equipment, whether it be the navigation equipment, or the engines and all of the functionality of the boat. But we went through top to bottom on all of that, and then did a ton of cosmetics. including all of the furnishings came in, we had to hire a designer to help us coordinate that being yacht specific is a challenge because space, things have to fit in smaller spaces. And the boat had great bones because it has an enormous ban on a teak and, and maple and other fine Woods throughout the interior. And it sets as a classic style yacht, it had great decking, teak decks all the way from bow to stern. It had great, bright work on the exterior. But all of that had to be brought back to proper standards and of course, any has pain issues. So we’re chasing blisters, we’re getting all of the paint just right, and making it shine.
Diane Byrne 07:21
Sounds good. Sounds good. So how long did all of that take?
Howard Scott 07:26
Well, it’s an ongoing process, but you have a list that goes from most urgent to least. And the first refit was about six months. And we did everything from I had the engine rebuilt. And as I said, to do the entire interior, and to have many of the deferred maintenance issues corrected and addressed. And it was a learning process, you find vendors who respond, and those who don’t, some just promise you everything and then don’t, then you don’t see them once they have an initial deposit or, or whatever they get started. And then they leave your boat. So we’ve learned buying good vendors, good boat yards, and reliable people. And we treat them fairly and understand their point of view at which is important as well as them understanding yours. And away we went, right,
Diane Byrne 08:28
Yeah, working relationships are gold when they work out properly. And that obviously makes your life easier in terms of using the boat more during the cruises that you want to do. I understand you also, I think it’s fair to say, essentially live on board the boat, given the amount that you cruise. And that again, also is something that’s quite unusual, regardless of the size, in our industry. So what do you really love the most about being on your yacht versus being on land?
Howard Scott 09:04
Absolutely the freedom of being able to go and do as you want when you want is the best thing I think is discovering new places, meeting new people exploring and learning about cultures all throughout the Caribbean and up and down the eastern seaboard. As you know, many of the towns settle on the eastern part of the United States for about emigrants. 300 years ago and you get to learn all about that and you meet new people the whole way you establish friendships that you keep coming back to and you see people on boats that you see over and over again, you might run into him in Annapolis and then see him again in Newport and then say Again in Bar Harbor, on the other hand, there are boats all up and down the Caribbean, there are people that we’ve met at different social functions from St. Kitts, to Grenada to Trinidad and all throughout the Bahamas and the other islands. And we keep going back to the, to these places that we love, and there’s no greater sense of tranquility. And, you know, as a former lawyer, I felt the stress roll off of me when I retired from law, well, when I get on the boat, I feel the other stresses just roll off of me. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Diane Byrne 10:44
Nice, nice. I think there are more than a few people who are very envious of it, having that feeling of all of that stress rolling off; that’s great.
Howard Scott 10:56
Right on my desk, there’s a quote from a French philosopher. And if I might read it, it’s very short. But it begins, “I’m a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. We are a nation whose laws are harsh, yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is a medicine without borders, where life is lived in the present in this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light and peace, there’s no other ruler besides the sea.”
Diane Byrne 11:25
Wow, that’s perfect, especially in the last year, with all the crazy politics and the craziness in the world. To get away from that and to be on the water is even a greater gift.
Howard Scott 11:41
Yeah, 100% 100%.
Diane Byrne 11:44
You know, it sounds like all these wonderful Adventures of meeting people and discovering things about places that you didn’t know before could really fill a couple of books. And that that leads me to ask you about Rascal on the Run. Because first of all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It’s a it’s a total page turner. And I’m wondering where you got the ideas for it. Obviously, being a lawyer, there’s probably some real life experiences mixed into the book. But But tell us tell us the basic idea of the book and where you got the idea from?
Howard Scott 12:22
Well, the idea been percolating for many years. But I ended up meeting a Hollywood director and a producer over dinner in Idaho 10 years ago, and they heard me tell stories about the courtroom and about life on the water and such. And the next thing I knew they had booked a flight path in Georgia to spend a week with me to record all these stories. And that began the process. They felt that the stories were the basis for other TV series or a motion picture. And I didn’t really think much of it. But I allowed them to go through the process. And that began by telling all these stories and having them transcribed and thinking how they might be put together in an essay, or a script or a book. And later, I was inspired to write this book. And basic inspiration was from reading a book called where the crawdads thing. It was a national runaway bestseller by a first time author who just so happened to be from the same town where I grew up. And that book inspired me that if she could do it, maybe I could do next thing, you know, I was retelling stories of murder cases that I actually tried or that I was involved in, as a legal counsel, as well as stories gathered throughout all my years of working around the legal system, which was kind of unique because I started at age 13.
Diane Byrne 14:08
Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s, that’s a lot earlier than people would have expected.
Howard Scott 14:13
Well, it helps when you’re the seventh generation attorney and, and your parents want you to follow that career and give you an after school job than a weekend job working, filing and doing basic things at a law office and then having exposure to be around many old time lawyers and hearing their stories and venturing around the courthouse and ducking into courtrooms and listening to lawyers argue and cases being presented.
Diane Byrne 14:48
So Rascal on the Run is really very much the story of a younger man who is similar to you–someone who comes from a long line of, you know, lawyers and has been surrounded by lawyers his entire life. And he picks up a case that in this little plot twist that I hinted at earlier, he picks up a case that involves a yacht. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about about that? And, you know, obviously, again, we don’t want to give away too, too much. But why don’t we whet people’s appetite for more. Where did you get the idea to put the boat in there?
Howard Scott 15:27
Well, in the in the book, there’s one defendant in a murder case, who skips bond. And he avoids being found. And he alludes the law and the bondsman for many, many years, approximately 25 years by running away on a yacht. And this particular defendant is finally caught up with in 1988. And as part of his legal fee, he puts up his boat as collateral for payment of his fee. And don’t want to go too much further than that in it. But it involves a person who decides to change his life, who wants to go in a different direction, both from a personal perspective of changing his personal habits, as well as changing his career. And many, many people live what I call a quiet life of desperation. And what that means to me is that they yearn for something more, they yearn to do something different, they want to take a new direction, but they’re afraid. And, to be quite honest, not everybody can do it. But those you don’t know unless you try. And so I made the bold move, to leave the law to reinvent myself and then to break away from living in a small southern town and living life on a boat and travel. And that parallels the story of in the book. And it is quite a personal journey, as well as a professional journey. But it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Diane Byrne 17:15
That’s wonderful. That’s a really wonderful, I can hear it in your voice. When you’re talking about the book that it definitely did give great joy, and that you’re certainly proud, and like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was a great story. It really got you hooked and made you wonder what was going to happen in the subsequent chapters.
Howard Scott 17:34
Well, I’m looking forward to actually a sequel because there were so much more that I didn’t tell. The the book ends at a certain stage of my life. And there’s a vast amount beyond that. And, and I think those who read the book will understand that there are many, many chapters left. And that seems to be the reoccurring aspect of from the readers that contacted me after they gave it read is that, hey, there’s a lot more to be told, I hope there’s a sequel. Well, I didn’t really do it with that in mind that it begs for that. And there’s so much more detail and those who choose the voting life who decide to sell their home or to change their life, and have the courage to do it and venture out into this world that I’ve taken on. I urge them to take a chance and to take the leap of faith because it’s a wonderful life to live. And there’s a lot out there.
Diane Byrne 18:42
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, I think Howard, you’re going to inspire more than a few people to start thinking more about spending more time on their boats and a little less time living on land for sure. And I also am confident that there are going to be more than a few people picking up a copy of Rascal on the Run and reading it on deck this summer for sure. I think it’s going to be quite the the inspirational story for them and and if they hear this podcast and the fact that you’re actually considering a sequel, while you might get a few more emails from them as well.
Howard Scott 19:18
Well, you know, boating life is different and it inspires so much from not just a functionality of how you get a boat and how you operate it but also from a cultural perspective of life standpoint. And the first glimpse I had into that was reading a book by Anne Vander who’s it’s called an embarrassing a mangoes and it’s the story of her two year journey on a sailboat that with her husband who neither one of them really had much experience sailing that they ventured from Canada to the UK to Trinidad and back and It was a wonderful read. And I loved it. And it was much more than just voting. It was a story about love. It was a story about voting. It was a story about experiencing different cultures. And it just seemed to speak to me in parallel, the experiences that I’ve had. And then last but not least, it was wonderful to actually meet Ann and her husband down in Trinidad on a chance meeting and the began a friendship. That’s wonderful. abstand another great story was the original owner of Capricho, on the yacht when it was called the King and I, and I had a random phone call from a gentleman who said that he had met a girl and he wouldn’t hit the barrier, and that her story would tell him about her childhood was her best. fondest memories were whether a grandfather on a motor yacht, an 80 foot burger motor yacht, called the King and I, and that she had dreamed of being on that boat again one day. So he decided that he would propose to her on the boat, he brought her to Boston, and surprised her with a walk down the dock. And she sees the boat, she burst out in tears. She ran onto the boat. And that’s where he proposed. Wow. Oh, that’s wonderful. Yep, it is a lot longer story than that. And it is fascinating and wonderful. But it’s just a glimpse and how boating can affect people, and how they’re emotionally become attached to a relative an experience. I remember her getting up in the captain’s chair and telling how our granddad let her sit on his lap, and she pretended to drive the boat all around to England.
Diane Byrne 22:09
Wow. Oh, that’s great. You know, boats really become part of the family in a lot of ways.
Howard Scott 22:16
Well, I do think that a lot of boat owners, they, they really shed quite a few tears when they have to sell about. And that’s more prevalent than you might think. Because people have so many wonderful memories of childhood of growing up of experiences of just seeing and doing on this boat and they get attached to it. Yeah, they clean it, they fix it. They admire it. They love it. And you do it for that reason. You don’t do it for economic reasons. You certainly do it for the love of the lifestyle.
Diane Byrne 22:58
Yeah, definitely. No matter how long you have a boat, I once said to an old boss of mine, no matter how long you have a boat, they’re always going to be your baby. Exactly. Yeah, yeah.
Howard Scott 23:09
Well, I urge anyone who might be interested in purchasing a boat to give it a whirl. You don’t know until you take that first step and pick up the phone and start seeking out a good broker to help you navigate your budget, navigate what your desires are to travel and to use the boat. And then to pull the pull the trigger if if the boatright matam is right. Hmm.
Diane Byrne 23:40
Well, I think that’s the perfect, uplifting way to end this podcast today. Howard, thank you so much for your time. It was such a pleasure speaking with you, and learning more about your life on the water. And of course what inspired Rascal on the Run! Like I said before, I can completely see people reading the book on the deck of their own boats and yachts this summer. So thanks so much for coming on Megayacht News Radio today.
Howard Scott 24:09
Well, thank you for that opportunity. And I do hope I hear from your listeners. And perhaps they’ll venture onto my website and give me drop me a line if they have similar experiences or thoughts.
Diane Byrne 24:26
Yeah, absolutely. Everyone, Howard’s website is howardtscott.com. And the book again is Rascal on the Run. You can get it at amazon.com and other major retailers, so definitely do check it out and do drop him a note with your thoughts. Until next time, I’m Diane Byrne.
That wraps up this episode of Megayacht News Radio. Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, please share the word on social media and subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Audible, iHeartRadio, or Spotify. And of course, to learn more about what’s going on in the world of large yacht cruising, new construction, and design, check out our daily updated website, the award-winning megayachtnews.com.