Professional Licenses and Certifications
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
Yacht Brokers Association of America; Member
State of Florida; Yacht Broker License with Bond
Univ. of West Florida
Pensacola Community College
Continuing Education Programs
Pensacola State College Curriculum advisor
Gulf Yacht Association; former Offshore Council Executive Committee member
Pensacola Yacht Club; Member, former Fleet Captain & Director
Pensacola Beach Yacht; former Commodore, Vice Commodore & Fleet Captain
Lake Lanier Sailing Club; Member
Power Boat Experience
Rick grew up running powerboats of all shapes and sizes. He continues to enjoy power cruising on the Gulf Coast.
Rick was introduced to sailing as a child in 1967 in Okinawa, Japan. Upon moving to the Fort Walton Beach, Florida area in 1969, the sailing craze was just starting to catch on and he had the opportunity to sail in Optimist Dinghys, Sunfish and his first of several Lasers were purchased right after the design went into production. Rick and his family enjoy crusing along the Gulf Coast and beyond.
Monohull Sail Racing
Rick holds National, Regional and Local Championship titles in multiple one-design, multihull and PHRF classes as skipper & crew since 1973.
Rick attended the US Youth Championships in 1972 and in 1974 in the Laser and 470 classes, respectively. In the early 1970s, the Flying Scot One design class was the Gulf Yachting Association’s inter-club boat and Rick a good bit of time learning from some of the best sailors in the region. During the 1970s Rick attended many regional and national sailing championships in the Flying Scot and Laser classes.
1972 – 1974 – North American Yacht Racing Union Junior Championships – Association Island, New York
1974 – Championship of Champions – Represented the Flying Scot Class – 3rd Place
1991 – Championship of Champions – Northeast Harbor, Maine – sailed IOD’s representing the J/22 class with Pete Merrifield
1998 – Viper 830 – Key West Race Week / National Championship – “Extreme Measures”
2001 – J/109 – Key West Race Week – J/109 hull # 1, “Mariah” – sailed with Rod Johnstone – 2nd in class
2005 – Key West Race Week – First in Class/ helmsman – “Pretty Woman” Beneteau First 47.7
2006 – St Maarten Heineken Regatta, Gulfport to Pensacola Race, etc… – IY60 – “Belle”
2006 – 2009 – Melges 32 teams at Key West Race Week, Miami Melges 32 Winter series, etc… “Evil Woman, Wicked Woman”
2010 – 2015 – J/111 Nationals & Regional events, etc….. “My Sharona”
2017 – GYA Challenge Cup – Long Distance Race Winner in Fleet – J/80 – “Wasted Time”
2017 – Lost Bay Regatta – Overall Winner in Class & Fleet, Paul Mueller Perpetual Trophy – “Coyote”
The catamaran craze was just beginning in the 1970’s; Hobie Alter had designed the Hobie 14 in 1967 and in 1970 the first Hobie 16s were coming east and into the Fort Walton Beach area. The beach at the Fort Walton Yacht Club was the perfect venue to start to learn to sail multihulls so it was no surprise that the northwest Florida area became a hot-bed for multihull sailing just as it still is today. Rick competed in many regional and local events in the fledgling catamaran classes.
Rick Zern started selling Corsair Trimarans late 1990s until 2016. In 2014 Rick attended the 30th Corsair Anniversary celebrations in Sydney that year to become more knowledgeable on the product line.
Rick operates Zern Rigging and is known among the large catamaran owners as a “go-to” business for sail and rig upgrades by turbo-charging stock boats with “screachers” , “code zeros”, bow sprits, unique rig solutions, spar up-grades and similar projects.
Rick holds multiple National, Regional and Local Championship titles in multiple multihull classes as skipper & crew. Some hilights:
1985 – Dauphin Island Race – elapse time record for ~20 years in a Stiletto 27 with an Asymmetrical Spinnaker
1988 – G-Cat National Championship & Florida State Championship – “Dinah Moe Humm”
1989 – Round the Island Race Multihull record and elapse record time holder – G-Cat 6M – (no name)
1993 – 1996 – Mug Race “First to Finish” winner Super Cat 22 – “Carbon Copy”
1996 – Corsair 28R – National Champion crew
1997 – Corsair 31R – National Champion crew- “Ockam’s Razor”
2002 – Corsair 24MkII – Gulfport to Pensacola Race – “Mark Twain” – First in Multihull Class
2002 – Corsair 28R – Round the Island Race – 1st in trimaran Class – “Dealer’s Choice”
2009 – National Trimaran Championships – First Pace – Multi 23 with Randy Smyth
2015 – Gulfport to Pensacola Race Record on Corsair 31R – “Bellafonte”
In 1974 Rick went to work for Schreck Sailmakers near Pensacola, Florida. Paul Schreck’s father was a journeyman sailmaker in the German Navy during World War I and he passed on his knowledge to his sons which put it to good use here in the US. Several of the regional sailmakers in the central gulf coast states owe their success to “Papa” Schreck. In those days the sailmakers were also the riggers, splicers & boat captains so it was a very beneficial learning experience for a young person getting into a boating vocation. In the 1980’s Rick opened a Horizon Sails Sail loft in Fort Walton, that business was purchased by Alfred Schurr and Rick became a VP at Schurr Sails in Pensacola, FL. It was during this time that multi-hull guru, Randy Smyth, decided to move to northwest Florida from Huntington Beach, CA to have Rick manufacture Smyth designed sails at Schurr Sails in Pensacola, FL while Randy embarked in the Formula 40 ProSail circuit. Randy won Olympic Silver medals in 1984 & 1992 in the Tornado Catamaran class and was on the winning Anmerica’s Cup tean in 1988 aboard the catamaran, Stars & Stripes. His presence on the Gulf Coast served as a catalyst for “all things multihull”. Smyth’s Tornado Olympic Class sail designs evolved over 4 Olympic “quads” from the 1988 Olympics in Korea to the 2000 games in Atlanta. The bulk of the sail material that was used in this period was manufactured on the new looms and finishing facilities in Germany, then shipped to Pensacola where the sails were manufactured and then shipped to teams in France, Sweden, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Spain and, of course, to US teams, too. Much of the technology in these Olympic Tornado sails trickled down to the national, regional and local classes and sailors rather quickly; everyone involved benefitted.
What they say…
“I have never worked with a better broker than Rick. He is as sharp as they get in the industry and a credit to the profession.”
“I have found only one person, other than my mother-in-law, in the entire State of Florida that I trust to do business with and that is Mr. Rick Zern. Anyone then that Mr. Zern recommends or is associated with I feel extremely confident in utilizing their services. So to directly answer your question, yes, I do want to hire you and both my bride, Brenda, and I tremendously appreciate your openess and honesty. Please advise me if I need to send to you a deposit or any other contractual confirmation for you to conduct this survey for us next Wednesday.
Brenda and I will be flying in next Tuesday and returning home the following Saturday. We both look forward to meeting you next week and conducting the survey on Wednesday.
Prospective Brokerage Buyer
“I want to thank you for taking the time and meeting me…it spoke volumes to me about your committment…and educating me on purchasing this, my first boat…I got a good feeling about your committment and honesty to see me through a boat purchase, whatever the ” make
and model. Thanks”
“Murray Yacht sales is the benchmark for Yacht brokers and
should be the industry standard. You will get our business…
Under Rick: “Your personal attention and professionalism have been a refreshing experience.
“Thought I’d let you know how much we enjoyed meeting you and how much we appreciated the time you took to talk sailing with us. In the car driving away from the pier, Glenda said what I had been thinking! ” When we get our boat -it will be from Rick” And She is a great judge of people. Thanks again”
-TD (a future customer)
We are very pleased with the work that Rick Zern has done. He is an all-around good person to deal with; capable, reliable and pleasant to work with. -2003 Beneteau 311 owner
Without qualification, I heartily recommend Rick Zern to anyone considering a purchase or listing. He has proven that he understands the meaning of service before, during, and after the sale. Having been in professional sales for many years, I appreciate dealing with a person of such high quality, and it speaks well of your company that you have such a member of your team.
– SM, happy MYS customer
Great news about your new location and sales force in Mobile. I have known Rick Zern for many years, and believe that he will be very good at selling yachts. He is so knowledgable about all aspects of boats. He is one of my main “go to” guys whenever I need help of any sort with my boat. What a wonderful addition to your MYS team.”
– 05/02 – note from a gulf coast sailor