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Steve Rossi, Refit Testimony

I have been boating out of Long Beach, California, since I was 8 years old. I owned a 25’ Skipjack for four years and then upgraded to a 26’ Skipjack. As my family grew, I became interested in a larger boat that would be more comfortable for my wife and two daughters. Thankfully, that was when I met John McCarty.


When I first met with John, it was apparent that he wanted to make sure he understood exactly what purposes we intended to use the boat for. I explained to John that I was interested in a 35’ sportfisher. John spent many hours asking what my family and I liked to do on our current boat and how we wanted to use the new boat. A high priority was that the new boat would be suited for offshore fishing. John suggested other potential equipment, such as a water maker, generator, and heating and air conditioning. These amenities have certainly improved our boating experience. After acquiring a complete understanding of what we were looking for, John showed us many models and styles of boats. We visited numerous marinas to find the best fit, and found it when John introduced us to a 40’ Riviera. 


The boat was a little larger than we initially envisioned, but with John’s professionalism and vast knowledge, he answered every question we had. Once we selected the Riviera, John thoroughly explained the negotiations and was instrumental during the process. He ensured we had a sea trial that was a two-hour boat cruise, not merely fifteen minutes around the harbor. John made sure that we contracted with the right surveyor, and he was also involved in the haul-out process, ensuring that the evaluation was thorough, such as including oil samples and a bottom hull inspection. John also introduced us to the idea of the requirement of having a boat slip and what that entailed. With his guidance, these new aspects of boat ownership were easy to understand and execute. John made the sales process comprehensive and straightforward. 


After purchasing the boat, I initially wanted to upgrade the electronics, but John was very wise and suggested that we first use the boat for a year or two in order to become familiar with and really understand the boat. I took his advice and am very thankful that I did. A couple years later, when it was time to make the upgrades, John was very influential in coordinating a complete electronics refit. This involved the removal of all of the old electronics and the installation of new Garmin equipment: a new radar, larger displays on the flybridge (16” and 10” displays) and the installation of a 10” display in the master stateroom. I especially enjoy having a display in the master stateroom to view up-to-the-minute information while anchored. Additionally, we removed the old television sets and installed much larger screens with the latest technology, both in the salon and in the master stateroom. With John’s emphasis on safety, we installed an AIS so that we can be seen by other boats, and we also installed a FLIR infrared camera, which enables us to have fantastic night vision. Upon John’s suggestion, we also mounted two cameras to monitor the engine room, and an additional deck camera for safety. 


We have now owned the boat for 20 years and we could not be happier, which is greatly due to John’s expertise and support in making it possible for us to purchase the right boat for our family. It has been an excellent family boat and a phenomenal fishing boat for my buddies. We have fished offshore for albacore and striped marlin, and we have spent many weekends at Catalina, as well as several trips to San Diego.


In 2018, my wife and I decided that we wanted to spend time cruising the San Juan Islands in Washington and that we wanted to venture further north, into Alaska. Once again, we contacted John, told him our ideas, and spent many evenings with him discussing different models and styles of boats for that area. John informed us about how the weather conditions are a little more severe in the northwest, which we took into consideration. Ultimately, John was very impressed with the 58’ Westbay Sonship. John and I looked at several Westbays in Newport Beach and San Diego, but John found the ideal boat for us in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island in Washington state. 


Again, we were very grateful for John’s assistance through the purchase process. As with the Riviera, John counseled us to not make any changes until we had spent a season or two on the Westbay. We again heeded that advice, and by doing so, were able to decide exactly how we wanted to upgrade the Westbay to make it our own. Once again, I called on John and relied on him to help me do a complete retrofit. John spent many hours with me, discussing potential changes and upgrades to design the details that best fit our needs.


Though the retrofit occurred in Canada, John was instrumental in planning and overseeing all of the upgrades to ensure that our vision was implemented. This retrofit was an even greater undertaking than the Riviera. We had an office converted into an additional stateroom. All of the electronics equipment were removed in both the pilot house and on the flybridge and replaced with new Garmin equipment. We appreciated John’s recommendation to install larger displays, and we now have three 16” displays in the pilothouse, three 12” displays on the flybridge, and a 10” display in the master stateroom. The radar, VHF radios, and sound system were also replaced with upgrades. Several antennas that were no longer in use were removed. Appliances that were removed and replaced included the washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, stovetop and oven. We also mounted a new large screen television in the salon, and added televisions in the master stateroom and the second stateroom. New carpeting was installed throughout the interior of the boat, as well as Corian countertops in the galley and in the salon. 


As always, John recommended implementing redundancies for safety. Accordingly, we have individual antennas for each VHF radio. We also implemented an AIS, and installed a separate sonar display. John introduced me to a hailer, which I was previously unfamiliar with, but has been extremely useful in communicating from the pilothouse to the bow, such as when anchoring and retrieving the anchor. We also installed a FLIR infrared camera and a weather station to receive constant information. Every suggestion John has made has been good advice that we have used and been thankful for. He certainly thinks of every detail, as it was his idea to install two 12 volt plugs in the aft cockpit for ease of pulling shrimp/crab traps. Everything was methodically considered and planned to our benefit.


Just as with the Riviera, with all of John’s leadership, proficiency, and resources, the Westbay has turned into a very comfortable and enjoyable boat to share with our friends and family. On all of the upgrades that we have made on both the Riviera and the Westbay, there is not one item that we have not used and enjoyed, which has improved our boating adventures. Safety is always a priority with John, which is why the inclusion of redundancies is reassuring when you are out on the open water. I have always been able to call John about any matter on either boat, and he has always been there to either help me himself or refer me to the correct contact. 


From selecting the right boat, to going through the purchasing process, to upgrading each watercraft to become our dream boats, John is great to work with, as he genuinely listens to your concerns, has a wealth of knowledge and connections to find the perfect boat for you, and provides expert advice so that you can tailor your boat to have the greatest boating experience. I highly recommend John McCarty and look forward to continuing to work with him on any future purchases and refits.

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