We debated whether to title this post, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” While indeed it has certainly been a roller coaster ride, we decided to just focus on what’s ahead versus the past. Hence, #FullCircleRedux! Heads up…this update is a bit long, but we hope you’ll stick with us.
Many of you reading this know where this journey has taken us, but for some, you may be learning about Full Circle for the very first time. We figured to kick off Full Circle Redux, we need to bring everyone up to speed.
In 2013, we took a leap of faith and decided to start our own fishing charter business after spending more than a decade running sportfishing boats for others. We set out with a kick-ass brand (thanks TRIO), support from our friends and family (special shoutouts below), and a unique boat (we’ll come back to this point shortly…hang with us). Full Circle Fishing Charters made its splash on March 26, 2013.
Over the next two years, the business grew. Clients came from near and far to fish aboard our 33-foot Custom Carolina Fisharound Express. Toler’s Cove Marina was home base and life was good. Then in 2015, during a trip to the boatyard for routine maintenance, we discovered a few small cracks in the boat’s midship area. After grinding on the cracks to fix what we thought was a simple problem, we found extensive rot throughout the boat. Wood rot anywhere is bad news, especially on a boat.
Despite many, many months of trying to figure out how this could have happened, exploring every legal remedy possible (by the way, there were none), and getting more and more pissed that someone totally got one over on us, we decided to rebuild the boat. We knew it was a tall order, but we felt like we had to try. The two biggest obstacles in our way to accomplish this were financing (thank you, SC Federal Credit Union for believing in our business) and finding someone who understood how to repair a cold-molded wood boat.
Over the years, it seemed that at every party, every family gathering, every trip to the grocery store, every baseball game…you name it, everywhere we went, the question was always the same. “How’s the boat?”
Sigh. While we appreciated the interest and concern, the reality was the boat had become a monkey on our back. The progress was agonizingly slow, and there appeared to be no end in sight. We never really found the help needed to see this through despite us trying to do the repairs ourselves.
Needless to say, the past five years have not been easy. The “rebuild” has sucked away the precious time that we’ll never get back. Exhausting is an understatement. There have been times over the years where we thought about throwing in the towel. But since we’re all highly competitive, that just wasn’t an option. Crazy? Perhaps.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and our course took a change when we met Manuel Estrella. What began as a conversation about helping with the “rebuild” evolved into a reality check and a new opportunity. We know that God is in control, so we decided to abandon ship and plot a new course—a course that will put Full Circle in the water by fall 2021 (bigger and better than ever!).
Full Circle Fishing Charters is thrilled to announce that our final phase of getting Full Circle back in the water is being made possible thanks to Manuel’s company, Valentino Custom Boats out of Manns Harbor, North Carolina.
We have hit the reset button. With the help of Manuel, along with the craftsmanship and vision that he and his crew bring to the table, we are no longer focused on repairing but rather reengineering Full Circle to become a brand new 2021 all-composite version of the boat with the same beautiful classic Carolina lines and proportions of the original without ever having to worry about rot again.
There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We believe this is the home stretch.
Valentino Custom Boats is approaching the fix to our problem by building a mold from the existing Full Circle vessel, which means that others will now have an opportunity to purchase a boat just like Full Circle. They are using cutting-edge technology and composite material to create a beautiful and fully customizable 35-foot hull. Manuel is excited to have the opportunity to offer his existing and new clients another larger option to his well-built, 28-foot, custom center console. The new 35 can be configured in the same Full Circle-style, fisharound express version (obviously our favorite), a full express or center console. They are already accepting pre-orders for future boats and the word is out.
For all of you boat junkies, we will be documenting the progress on social media as the boat is built and Full Circle is reassembled. We hope you will follow along as everything comes together. And if anyone is interested in learning more about what the 35’ line at Valentino Custom Boats entails, hit us up and be sure to follow Valentino Custom Boats.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us all these years. You have shown concern and curiosity, but more importantly, you have supported us. For that, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This industry, this boat, this journey is our livelihood. For better or worse, here we are, and we are determined to never give up.
– Capt. Jamie, Jessica, David, Hannah and Hudson
A few people have been instrumental in supporting us along the way and deserve a special shoutout. Thank you…Randy Dixon, Tim Hyland, Greg Fudacz, Jason Hogg and Tim Clark. You’re welcome aboard any time.
Check out this video featuring the 28′ built by Valentino Custom Boats.