FrontRunners: Always On Call

  • James Gorant

In the summer of 1998, Donald Diamond was circling the globe in Queen of Diamonds, his 132-foot Feadship yacht, when the engine sputtered, then stopped, leaving him stranded off the coast of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania on the east coast of Africa.

Instead of abandoning ship and hopping the first flight home, or hiring a local mechanic to repair the engine, Diamond’s captain called someone he knew in Florida. “We made a call, and these guys started shipping parts to us from all over the world,” says Diamond, a 73-year-old real estate developer.

Those guys were Richard Manto and his employees at Richman Marine, a yacht support company in Fort Lauderdale. When Diamond’s captain called to request the engine parts, Manto tracked them down and had them delivered within 72 hours.

The crew of Queen of Diamonds was able to rebuild the engine, allowing Diamond to continue his cruise.

Last year, Wisconsin-based yacht builder Palmer Johnson bought Richman Marine and Global Yacht Fuel, Manto’s other Fort Lauderdale company, and formed a new division named On Call (954.763.2221). Available to anyone who owns a yacht, not just Palmer Johnson clients, On Call can provide boating supplies, store fuel for you at marinas worldwide, contract a boatyard to make repairs on your yacht, and help you hire crew members.

There are no membership fees, and each service is available at slightly higher than cost. If you need an update on weather conditions, On Call will read the latest report to you on single sideband radio. If you’re hosting a party off the coast of Peru, the company can send Champagne, caviar, and servers within 48 hours. On Call even secured bird food for one captain’s parrot. “It takes a lot of hassle and worry out of owning a yacht, so you can just enjoy it,” says Diamond.

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