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Issue No. 9  April/May 2003

Editor: Joshua Radon


Super-Spectacular Pre-Summer Double Issue!

More Radon Boats

Than You Can Handle!

     After over a year of keeping the public intimately acquainted with the activities at D.R.RadonBoatBuilding, we are finally going all-out and releasing this ambitious double issue!  The experience of updating the world on the happenings of our little business has been fantastic thus far; the responses that we get to this newsletter are flattering and astounding.  For example, one customer came into our office with every issue printed out and organized in a folder!  We are so appreciative of this support and interest, the only way we could think of to live up to these extraordinary responses was with an extensive, tour-de-force issue. So thank you for reading and enjoy the new issue!


Here it Comes: *The Finale of the Radon 29’ Saga*


     For those of you who regularly read our humble newsletter, you have probably been following the development of one of the most exciting new products to come out of our boat yard. Naturally, we are talking about the new Radon 29’, which has now officially entered the Radon Boats family. After working on the design and development of the new model for several years, the program is finally up and running. After building a prototype 29’ about five years ago (ostensibly a one-time-only project) the results were so pleasing that we decided to design a brand new model to better fulfill the needs of the boating population. Now that we have come to the end of the process and the 29’ is a full-fledged Radon boats specialty, it is wonderful to see how well the project has culminated. As usual, the quality and performance of the boat has exceeded our expectations (see article below). Even Don said jokingly, "Perhaps our expectations are just too low."

Don Radon with new 29'
Above: Don poses, pleased as punch, in front of the prodigiously produced Radon 29'


right arrowFeatured Boat:

John Cuccia’s Radon 29’

Brandywine II”left arrow

Brandywine II

     Named for a mythical river featured in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, John and Vicki Cuccia took delivery of their new Radon 29' last week. During the very first sea trial, the boat easily hit 35 knots, impressing everyone aboard. After a series of initial tests, we took the Brandywine out for its final sea trial. The test run was a complete success with all systems working properly.

     As for hardware, Cuccia's boat is powered by twin 280 horse-power Volvos with duel prop outdrives, also made by Volvo. Among the amenities adorning the new boat are a Bose stereo system (which I personally tested and approved), extensive teak work, a custom built table featuring a map of the Channel Islands, and on-demand hot water. However, perhaps the most exceptional features of the boat's interior are the stove top/oven and the two-person Jacuzzi. John owns a restaurant in southern California and loves to cook; hence the stove and oven. As for the Jacuzzi…who wouldn't want one on their boat!

     John is a life-long admirer of Radon Boats and he previously owned a Radon Craft 22'. In addition to his interest in cooking, John is also a licensed sea captain. In fact, John built a sail boat in the mid-70's and sailed around the Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, while living in Hawaii, both he and his wife Vicki encountered numerous Radons. John had close contact with Radons while fishing on four different models during this era. It was during this time period that he first developed his interest in Radon Boats. It was wonderful working with John and Vicki on developing their boat and we hope the feeling was mutual!

Brandywine II in action
Above:  The Brandywine parting the waters of the Santa Barbara coastline.

Brandywine II at dock Brandywine II kitchen

Above Left: Vicki and John pose on the front of their new pride and joy.  Above Right:  The custom-built oven/stove top where John flexes his culinary muscle.


Employee Interview: Gregory Franks

Greg Franks


Greg Franks, retainer of the title head rigger, has offered his valuable dedication and unfaltering work-ethic to our company for over three years now.  He has worked on boats his entire life, but took time out in his twenties to complete two degrees at UCSB, one in Political Science and the other in History.  Before coming to our business, he worked for the renowned marine mechanic Dave DeLorie for two years and was a commercial fisherman for three years.  With his extensive experience with boats and skilled labor, he has been an exemplary employee for us.  When I asked Don about Greg, he told me that Greg was “Honest and meticulous, and as head rigger, he has been particularly adept at relating to his co-workers.”  I decided to sit down and have a talk with Greg about his life on boats and the best way to fend off giant mythological sea creatures.


Josh Radon: So, a degree in political science, eh?  Applicable to boat building?

Greg Franks: No. *Short pause followed by laughter* There’s politics in every business I guess.  I took poli-sci to become a lawyer, and lawyers are very closely related to boat building!

JR: Tell me a fish tale.

GF: Well, once I was on the backside of Santa Rosa Island and I spooled my reel on the rod that I brought with me, so I borrowed a freshwater pole that only had six pound test line on it.  But I still managed to bring in a 33” Halibut.  With my eyes closed.

JR: Impressive.  But tell me, how does it feel to be so vastly admired by your co-workers?

GF: Are you talking to me?  *Looks around confused*

JR: I guess not.  Never mind that, let’s return to political science.

GF: Great. *said with plenty of sarcasm*

JR: How do you feel about the current socio-economic status of developing nations struggling to overcome crippling debt and integrate with the world culture and economy?

GF: *blank stare followed by nine seconds of silence* Is that for here or to go? *laughs* Actually, it’s like these developing nations are a friend that you know can’t pay you back, but you are still friends nonetheless.  At this point they can’t afford to pay us back without destroying the infrastructure of their countries.   The debt cripples their progress, so we have to just let it go and give them a chance to enter the world economy.

JR: The Stones or The Beatles?

GF: Now that’s a hard one!  They are both totally awesome!

JR: What’s you favorite movie that takes place on a boat?

GF: Well, um, I guess Jaws.  Some of it takes place on a boat, right?  Some of it takes place on just half a boat actually!

JR: How many riggers does it take to attach a dome light?

GF: *Greg turns to fellow rigger Matt Reid* Hey Matt!  How should I answer this?  As many as I tell to.

JR: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Owen Wilson?

GF: Do I?  No. Who’s Owen Wilson?  I haven’t seen his movies.  God, I need a life!

JR: I know you’re a poli-sci major, but have you ever REALLY read the Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes?

GF: Yes, yes I have.

JR: Then what the heck is it about?

GF: That was many moons ago, young brave.

JR: Fair enough.  How would you defend yourself if an actual Leviathan attacked you?

GF: Well, you need an old whaling boat with a harpoon.  Or, these days you would use one of those…what are they called…oh yeah, a bazooka.  A surface to Leviathan missile.

JR: Finally, a serious question.  Why do you like working at Radon Boats?

GF: I’ve grown up around boats and I’ve always loved working on them.  I couldn’t ask for a more understanding, compassionate, and knowledgeable boss than Don; or better co-workers for that matter.

The Youngest Member of the Radon Team!

Alfredo Cruz

When Freddy, one of our fiberglassers, walked into the shop on May 8th, he was a changed man.  He announced that his long-time sweetheart, Bridget, had given birth to Alfredo Issacc Cruz, their new baby boy.  The baby was born on May 7th, 1:08 am, after Bridget spent 19 hours in labor!  The newborn was twenty-two and a half inches long and weighed in at 9 pounds, 14 ounces.  Mother and son are both in good health after being released from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, where the baby was born.

            On the new addition to his family, Freddy explained that it was a great experience to witness the birth of his new son.  He called the experience both “Breathtaking and weird at the same time.”  An understandable sentiment, considering he’d been up for 19 hours straight!  Alfredo already has a big sister to look up to, the one and a half year old Monét Victoria Cruz.  Freddy admitted bashfully that he was hoping for another girl, explaining that he likes headaches.

Freddy is a valuable worker to our company and we are extremely happy for him and his family.  His co-worker, Ralph, explained that Freddy is a “Nice guy who’s great to work with.” Rene, our assistant shop foreman, had even higher praise, exclaiming “Freddy has a good tan!” He has been working with us for over a year, and he enjoys the hands-on experience that he gains from working on the boats.  He also acknowledged that he likes seeing the finished product and going out on boat rides when we sea trial the boats.

            Freddy was born in Lompoc, where he now lives; he has spent much of his life there.  However, he did travel and live in other areas, such as WashingtonState, Fresno, and Los Angeles.  In his free time he likes to play basketball and watch sports, as he has a passion for the subject.  He’s a particularly avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oakland Raiders.  Like many of us here at the yard, he is still recovering from the Lakers defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Another one of his co-workers, Ramon, noted that Freddy is “A cool guy to talk with about the Lakers and the Raiders.  I can always count on him to discuss the sporting world every day when we come into work.”

Money Victoria
Above Left: Freddy's daughter Monét Victoria.

Above Right:  Freddy stands imperiously on the bow of a Radon 29'





Shop Tip: Taking Care of Your Radon (or
other boat, I guess, if you must really own another type of boat).

            This month for the shop tip, we are going to focus on a particular boat and use it to generalize about how you should take care of your boat.  John Ziegler, who works at Radon boats as a rigger, owns a Radon Sport from 1986 and it is still in great condition, so we decided to ask him how he has maintained his boat throughout the years.  John’s boat is called the Terra Firma, which translates from Latin into solid ground; a particularly fitting name for a Radon.  John’s Radon Sport 21’ was the first of its kind out of the mold and he is the original owner.  John enthusiastically proclaims “I’m still as excited today to get on my boat as I was the first day that I got it!”

            So here are some of John’s tips on keeping your Radon in tip-top shape year-round. 


  • Keep accurate and thorough records:  It is extremely important to keep track of the amount of wear and tear that your boat accumulates over the year.  At the beginning of each year, organize your records so that you can easily access them in case of a problem that could arise.  Specifically, at the beginning of the year, check the hours on your engine, belts, hoses, hose clamps and all other items that require replacement after a certain number of hours.


  • Practice working on your own boat:  By familiarizing yourself with basic boat                        maintenance, such as changing the oil in the engine and the outdrive; you will have a better knowledge of your own boat and how to work on it in an emergency. 


  • Always check emergency equipment:  This is probably the most important equipment on your boat; it could save your life.  So naturally you should always make sure that your flares, life vests, fire extinguishers and other safety gear are in working order.  Also, John strongly recommended the use of an E.P.I.R.B. (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), which has become fairly inexpensive.  The E.P.I.R.B. is a small transmitter that sends out an emergency signal to rescue services.  Finally, check your radio every time that you leave port.  Staying in communication with other boats can be critical.



  • Make sure to bring your boat in for maintenance:  You should bring your boat in at least once a year, so that we can change the fuel and oil filters and provide more complicated services and detect problems of which you may not be aware.



  • Don’t ignore your boat in the off-season:  During the winter months, people tend to neglect their boat’s maintenance because they aren’t using it as much.  Despite this lack of use, your boat still needs to be taken care of during the off months.  If there are any leaks on the top of your boat, they will become evident during the rainy season.  As John says “Follow the happy trails of water to the find the leaks.”

Terra Firma
Above: John on the Terra Firma, with shop mascot, Foxie the dog.


Featured Boat #2: Jim Short’s 26’

Jim Short's Radon 26'
Above:  What can you say about this picture without taking away from its pure                  beauty?

Devoted Radon Team readers, at this point you are probably thinking “Two featured boats in one issue!  That’s crazy talk!”  As I warned, this is a double issue, so this month we are featuring Jim Short’s 26’ Radon along with the previously featured Cuccia’s vessel.

            Jim’s boat is tailored for use in sport fishing and surfing, two of his favorite pastimes.  As such, the boat features custom surfboard racks, a custom swim step with dive ladder, and a permanently mounted on-deck live bait tank.  As for the gear under the hood, the high-performance vessel is powered by a 375 horse power, big block Mercruiser engine with a Bravo II outdrive.  Since Jim enjoys fishing so much and often likes to go trolling, the boat is also equipped with an auxiliary 9.9 horse power Yamaha outboard engine.  Since trolling is usually done at approximately 1 knot per hour, it is difficult to troll under the power of the standard engine since its minimum speed is 3 and ½ knots.  So the Yamaha solves this problem.  Jim and his wife, Lori, enjoy bounce-balling for halibut or trolling for salmon and the Yamaha comes in handy in both of these situations.  In keeping with the dog theme that seems to be pervasive in our business and with our customers, Jim loves to take his dog Scruffy on his boat trips with him.

The Short’s are wonderful supporters of Radon Boats and they are based out of Santa Barbara just like us.  In fact, they have a coveted slip in Santa BarbaraHarbor.  They frequently use their boat to traverse the Santa Barbara Channel, and their previous boat, a Boston Whaler, wasn’t always up to the challenge of the rough waters between the coast and the islands.  With their Radon 26’, this is no longer a problem.  As well as being a life-long surfer and fisherman, Jim also spends a great deal of time volunteering at his church and is a well respected member of the community.  Jim is also on the cutting edge of technology as he works as a software engineer!  A renaissance man indeed!

Jim Shorts Radon 26'
Above:  Jim, Lori, and Scruffy enjoy the beauty of the Santa Barbara coastline.



Ongoing Project: John Maddox Hull and Cabin Remodel and Restoration


            John Maddox brought us his 24’ Radon bare hull with the simple request of turning it into a fully functional Radon 24’.  We, of course, were happy to oblige this request and got right to work on this complex project.  When he brought us his “boat,” the cabin and the decks had already been removed.  So it was up to us to turn the hull into a boat.

     We started by raising the sides and the bow of the boat as John had requested.  Since our 24’ Radon mold no longer exists, we used parts from existing molds to complete the puzzle.  Some of the bulkheads are already completed and the process of building the boat from the ground up is continuing at a steady pace.

     When the boat is finished, it will have a new custom cabin: a California style cabin with an enclosed wheelhouse.  We are also going to install two 80 gallon tanks for extended voyages.  We are tremendously excited about the challenges and opportunities that this project offers us.

     We enjoy working with John and he follows the newsletter closely (which, of course, I like tremendously).  John sent us a very nice e-mail in which he said, “So good to see you yesterday, I enjoy meeting with you and I am very impressed with your crew and how they are always friendly and helpful around the customers.  You can see that they like what they do.”  Thanks John, we appreciate the compliments.

Maddux Hull #4 Maddux Hull #1
Maddux Hull #3 Maddux Hull #2

Above: Note the clockwise progression of John Maddux’s Bare Hull (From upper right to upper left)


The Cinco De Mayo Party!


            On May fifth (For those of you who don’t speak Spanish) we had a blow-out, spectacular, party event for the entire Radon Boats staff and Crew.  This party was in conjunction with Ralph’s Fiftieth Birthday, so the event was particularly important for all of us.  Ralph has been working with us since the 80’s and declared the party a monumental success.  “It was a great lunch,” he gushed “I was very happy, it was a double celebration!”

            We held our celebration at Pepe’s Mexican restaurant, which is really the unofficial Radon Boats eatery.  For almost every major event, we go there to enjoy their outstanding food, service, and atmosphere.  Don and Linda, in fact, have been frequenting Pepe’s since the 70’s.  The party itself was a total success, with a good time had by all, and more importantly, an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.  Of the holiday, Don noted “We all look forward to it every year because it is an important celebration for many of our employees.”

            John noted that the party served a higher purpose, creating “Family fellowship that is an important factor in the workplace!”  Greg soberly added, “I couldn’t be there!  I had to take care of my parents’ dog!”  And finally José spoke the words that were already in many of our minds, “It would have been better with beer!”


Party On!

Party On!

The Radon Team newsletter is finished (thank goodness, I’m tired, are you?) but as always, we’ll be back soon with more tips and photos from D.R.RadonBoatBuilding.  If you have any questions, comments, pictures or ideas regarding the newsletter, e-mail us at [email protected].  We are always grateful for any contributions!



Don & Linda's Wedding Day
Don and Linda on their Wedding Day, September 11, 1978


 Last Updated 5/19/13