Bruce, an architect by training and a boater by birthright, has logged thousands of miles at the helm. A native New Yorker, he was raised in Stonington, CT., where he started in sailing dinghies and moved through the traditional "shoreline kid" stages to competitive racing locally and then internationally, including three Newport to Bermuda races.
At 26 he was called upon to sail with the commodore of the Cruising Club of America to the Azores and Spain before heading to the Caribbean by way of the Canary Islands. That gig lasted for two seasons until marriage and a career in England designing museums and museum exhibitions took him away from any helm for some 20 years.
Upon his return to the states and a new life, however, he earned his captain's license and open water diving certification. He uses both regularly while delivering boats between New England and the Caribbean, relocating boats all over the Northeast for winter storage and as a charter captain escorting New England families to the islands for the winter.
Bruce has been sharing his knowledge with customers of the Defender Warehouse Store since 2011, where he enjoys the customer interaction. He notes that many customers are do-it-yourselfers who are looking for more than just a product.
"I call it the ‘new old boat syndrome," he said. "They got a deal on a great boat that needs work and now they want to put it back together the right way and safe and sound. We’ll hold their hand and give them options."
He added that because everyone in the store is an experienced boater, they can also provide customers with options when it comes to meeting a budget for projects that quickly escalate.
"I think they come here because they know we can answer their questions when they need help and we can answer them completely and with options."