Projects: Alaska Couple Launching Nautycal Dreams With Cigarette 38 Top Gun
Until they got into the business of supplying dried chunks of alder trees to restaurants with wood-fired ovens more than 20 years ago, Sandy and Kira Stuart made their living as commercial anglers. From their local waters of Kachemak Bay to the Bering Sea, they fished for everything from Dungeness crab to King salmon, and, at the end of each long day, they sold their catch to local restaurants in their hometown of Homer, Alaska. Kira, who is 50 years old, was born there and has lived in Homer—population 5,800—her entire life. Sandy, 55, arrived there in 1982 when his parents relocated from New York.
Come spring 2023 in Homer, Alaska, this 1995 Cigarette 38 Top Gun owned by locals Sandy and Kira Stuart will be available for charters.
The Stuarts have a fine life in Homer, which boasts a booming tourism economy from late spring to early fall. They raised their daughters, 27-year-old Mariah, who now lives in Chicago, and 22-year-old Sara, who currently lives in Homer but is moving to Anchorage next week, in the idyllic town. Both started boating as kids with their parents and they remain true children of the tides, meaning their lives still mostly revolve around the water.
Which is a damn good thing because they are mostly surrounded by it. Homer is located on the shores of Kachemak Bay. The bay boasts the world’s second-longest natural sandspit, appropriately dubbed Homer Spit, and much of the town’s economic life, from waterfront restaurants to art galleries, revolves around it.
Not long after arriving at Carter’s Powerboats in Oklahoma, the Stuarts struck a deal on the 38-footer.
And thanks to Sandy and Kira Stuart, the town now can boast having the first Cigarette Racing Team 38 Top Gun to be based there year-round, as a tour-boat no less, in Alaska. Dubbed Nautycal Dreams Offshore Adventures, their charter-by-the-hour business will open next spring or early summer depending on weather.
“I have 40,000 to 50,000 hours of running boats—all at 10 knots,” Sandy Stuart said, then laughed. “When I was 19, I caught a ride with my friend in his Scarab on San Francisco Bay. Ever since them, I’ve dreamed of having a performance boat but they are pretty expensive to own and maintain. Now we are in a different financial position, so I said this is the time to do it—and turn it into a business.”
Kira Stuart laughed. “He’s insane, basically,” she said, then chuckled again.
All of which explains why they named the 1995 model-year 38-footer, which is powered by Mercury Racing 525EFI engines with Bravo One XR drives, She Said Yes.
Check out more of the aptly named 38-foot Cigarette She Said Yes in the slideshow above and the image below.
After an extensive search through broker listings and online Classified advertising platforms, Sandy Stuart found the Cigarette he wanted. The 38-footer was for sale by New York’s Todd Farber, its fifth owner, and was going to Carter’s Powerboats, a well-known Cigarette restoration business in Broken Arrow, Okla. Knowing there was a lot of interest in the boat, Stuart offered to send a deposit if Farber took it off the market, but Faber said that wasn’t necessary. All the Stuarts had to do was come look at it in Oklahoma and then, if they liked what they saw, buy it.
That happened last November. And the couple was delighted with what they found.
“When we walked into the Carter’s Powerboats shop and saw it, we were both pretty awestruck,” Sandy Stuart said. “So we bought it.
“I have a very, very nice wife,” he added.
“It was in really good shape, it really was,” said Dustin Carter, who had steered them away from a 35-foot Cigarette Café Racer he had for sale that wouldn’t have met their needs. “For a 1995 Cigarette, it’s a great package and I think it’s going to work out really well for them. We didn’t do much to it, just some general service work, other than replacing the interior.”
To make the 38-footer more passenger and neighbor friendly, the Stuarts also had the boat’s dry exhaust system converted to a wet-exhaust version.
Six days after all the work at Carter’s Powerboats was complete, the 38-footer was in Homer. (An extra drive was included in the deal.) Sandy Stuart and a friend made the almost 4,000-mile haul “in amazingly short time,” he said.
Though they opted to stick with the boat’s original Dan Martin paintjob, they did add a wrap on the deck. The graphics play on the theme of Alaska’s state flag and are carried into the customized Marine Mat covering the cockpit soul.
Both Sandy and Kira Stuart are confident the boat will be busy this summer with charters, and to that end Sandy recently renewed his Coast Guard Master’s 100-ton captain’s license.
Available for hourly charter with the Stuarts as captain and first-mate, the boat can handle four passengers.
Kira and Sandy Stuart have worked side-by-side for most of their married lives.
“Homer has a become a crazy tourist destination,” he said. “Zach Brown even built a house here a couple of years ago. It’s a great place and there is plenty to do and see. The Upper Bay is very calm and beautiful, but I have a feeling we’ll mostly be ripping around Homer Spit. People will just want to be seen in it. There’s never been anything like this in Alaska. We’re pretty sure it’s the world’s most northerly Cigarette in the world, though we don’t know that for sure.
“In our entire life and business together, when we do something we think, ‘How can we make it outside the box and make it our own?’” he continued. “I wanted to have a performance boat—I dreamed of it for a long time. But we’re also going to do something to make money with it.”
Click the image above to visit the Nautycal Dreams website.
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