By the time he was 5 years old, Rick Kellogg was captaining a 7-foot sailboat on Old Hickory Lake near Nashville, Tennessee. The water cops sometimes escorted him home, thinking he'd stolen the boat. Now 46, Kellogg has flown airliners, helicopters and hot-air balloons. He's captained 160-foot yachts and now runs an 85-foot ketch, Wild Flower, for a private owner. Of all his experiences, nothing compares to being part of the setup for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
•?It's the most mind-boggling thing I've seen, logistically. Miles and miles of docks are brought in. Pilings have to be driven into the seafloor. Think of all those generators and the wiring. You turn around to buy a Coke and it's like you miss part of a city being built.?
•?Getting the boats in place is choreographed to the minute. All I do is follow the dance moves. Be on time, get a boat into a spot, and then hustle to a cab and grab another boat. I've put in as many as six boats for Luke Brown Yachts.
?•?There are hundreds of captains involved. We have a billion dollars' worth of boats in our hands, so the camaraderie is thick.?
•?I've dinged a boat. You get that much fiberglass and horsepower, plus some current, something's bound to happen. A couple years ago a yacht was coming in and lost its stern thruster. It was heading for another boat and there was no stopping it. Like slow motion, smack.?
•?The end of the show is amazing too. You see those megayachts on display, but maybe you don't realize … they move. To see 15 of them moving onto the ICW at the same time, it leaves me awestruck. Everyone should see it once.