By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
After a year in business, Duffy Electric Boats of Lake Norman owner Tom Textor has high hopes for this “busy season,” which should run through October or November, he said.
Mr. Textor has a small fleet of electric Duffy boats available to rent from his office at 200 North Harbor Place, just downstairs from the North Harbor Club at Davidson Landing. He also has models available for purchase.
“It took a while to educate people and get them aware of our presence,” Mr. Textor said, “but business is definitely growing now.”
A southern California native and former controller at his family’s Ford Truck dealership, Mr. Textor moved to the area in January 2010 and opened his business at Davidson Landing May 1 of last year. His original intent was to sell Duffy boats, he said, but there was a demand for rentals too.
He has five boats available for rent and three models for sale on-site, as well as models available for purchase through special order.
Duffy boats are designed for cruising, not for speed, Mr. Textor said. “They’re like golf carts on water,” he said – they’re electric, easy to drive and the engine always starts. And their flat, wide hulls are designed to minimize wake.
The boats are great for small groups looking to head out for a day of sun and swimming on the lake or a dinner cruise at sunset, he said. And for the latter, he partners with Trudi Zangardi, owner of the Lake Norman Cottage, in the same building.
For interested groups of 6 to 8 people, Mr. Textor will provide a boat and a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, and Ms. Zangardi will provide a 4-course meal with wine. The wine cruises cost $40 per person for the wine, food and two hours cruising on the lake.
“No, you’re not going to go fast, but you’ll have a great time and enjoy the company,” he said. “It’s like sailing but without all the work.”