Welcome to all Gulfstar Owners, I am Irene Meinch the founder of the ‘’Gulfstar Owners Club” established in 1991 and currently boasts a membership of approximately 480 vessels worldwide. These members are owners of any vessel, sail or power, constructed by Gulfstar Yachts, Inc. located in Pinellas Park, Florida (St. Petersburg area)
As you can see by the first photo, I was handling docklines early in life, much before I started writing DOCKLINES the Gulfstar Club monthly publication.
I started my boating career in the Philadelphia, Pa and the South Shore of New Jersey. After WWII my Dad became a GarWood, Truscott & Higgins dealer. In 1948 he delivered a boat to South Florida and on his return announced we were moving to Florida. This started my life in Florida as a teenager and continued on until now. Lots of time was spent on boating and fishing, but the height of my life began when working as a listing secretary for a prominent yacht broker on the Florida East Coast where I truly realized my love for boating.
With my husband, Capt. Jack, we purchased and lived aboard a series of boats from 30' to 43'. Upon the sale of the 43' we moved to the Florida West Coast, due to family illness, and were fortunate to become involved with Gulfstar, Inc. Capt Jack, as a freelance instructor and delivery Captain, and myself as a sales person, selling Gulfstars factory direct in 1983/84. Gulfstar continued to sell factory direct until they sold their assets to Viking Yachts of New Gretna, New Jersey in 1990. As it happened, Capt. Jack got real busy with his deliveries and electronic sales that I left Gulfstar and we started a Brokerage, Charter and Maintenance business, in 1984. Again due to family commitments, sold the business and took a year of retirement to then open a full time brokerage office in 1986 at the Gulfstar commissioning yard here in St. Petersburg, with the good wishes from the Lazzara family and Viking Yachts who were, at that time, talking about a merger. The company was Capt. Jack’s Yacht Brokerage and we were known as the Gulfstar “specialists”. After several moves over the years due to real estate developments, and then the selling of the brokerage assets to Bill Gutknecht, (who came to the brokerage in 1986) now known as Preferred Yachts Sales, Inc., we’re located back at the old Gulfstar commissioning yard on Salt Creek, in St. Petersburg, Fl.
Capt. Jack recently passed away, and I am still hanging in there as the club’s President and an active broker at Preferred Yachts. Our original club assistant Trisha Johnston has been gone from the club for over two years now, she came as part time help in 1986, but left in 2000. Our new assistant is Michele Kosmitis. Michele and I go along way back also, she was my assistant when I had the charter service in 1984/85. She had an active Captain’s License and delivered Gulfstars with Captain Jack and chartered a 49' Gulfstar MY for three years. She now lives aboard her Luhrs MY with her teen age daughter. Her knowledge increases daily on the Gulfstars.
Bill Gutknecht has involved himself more in a lot of the technical aspects of the Gulfstar vessels, and, of course brokerage. We are still considered the Gulfstar “specialists” in the brokerage industry. My knowledge has included working with the factory and doing deliveries with Capt. Jack. As well as assigning other qualified Captains for deliveries for Gulfstar to boat shows and delivery to dealers when Viking took over the company .I guess you would call it hands on experience as well as technical. Which I feel has fulfilled my love for boating. There have been a lot of good times and a few bad experiences, but none that we have not overcome.
Due to some of my own personal reasons, have started to slow down (age for one), but plan to hang in there as long as comfortable and look forward to attending any and all planned Club Rendezvous’ (which I am sure a lot of you members will agree have been GREAT!! )
Please feel free to contact us in any way convenient, if you have any questions we will be happy to try to answer them.
Fair winds and smooth sailing.