As a long-time consultant for the commercial aerospace business, Dan Lewis knows a thing or two about the importance of getting repairs done right and done fast. That’s why he was so pleased with the service he received from Caterpillar and Cat® dealer MATCO in 2014—support that ultimately helped him reel in a one-million-dollar-plus prize.
Now retired, Dan owns and captains Sporty Game, a 63-foot Bertram sport-fishing boat with two Cat C32 ACERT™ Engines. It’s the fourth Bertram boat he’s owned and the third powered by Caterpillar.
“I’ve been a Cat buyer for a long time, and I’ve been very pleased with their performance,” Dan says. “For Sporty Game, Cat engines provided the horsepower-to-weight ratio I needed, plus a relatively compact package that gives us more room to move around the inside the boat.”
Those Cat engines also provided the speed and power Dan needed for the 2014 Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, an event he’s participated in since 2000. Held annually in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, this five-day competition known as “the world’s richest fishing tournament” covers a 50-mile area and some very deep water. It attracts talented crews from around the world, all in search of big fish and an even bigger payout. On the final day of the 2014 event, Dan’s team reeled in a 337-pound blue marlin—a catch that netted them a $1.682 million prize.
It was a thrilling moment for Dan and his crew—but getting there wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. Earlier in 2014, one of Sporty Game’s Cat engines experienced a piston ring seizure. Dan turned to the local branch of Cat dealer MATCO for support, and the team there called on experts at the main dealer store in Mexico City and at Caterpillar to help resolve the issue. Ultimately, MATCO installed all new piston packs in both of the boat’s engines, and a dealer service manager traveled from Mexico City to Cabo to make sure everything was in proper working order.
“When I was a consultant, Caterpillar was a long-term client of our firm, so I had a general understanding of the size, complexity and breadth of the organization,” Dan says. “I was amazed at how much technical power they were willing to bring to help one person and one boat.”
That level of service not only impressed Dan—it also gave him plenty of confidence entering the Bisbee’s tournament.
“It took a number of people pulling on the oars together to make this happen,” Dan says. “Caterpillar and MATCO did a spectacular job, to the point where I felt like I was going out there with two brand-new engines.”
Brig Harris, a territory support manager for Caterpillar who works closely with Dan, traveled to Cabo before the tournament to make sure Sporty Game was ready to run.
“Dan was overjoyed at the service responsiveness and the quality of the work the dealer performed on his vessel,” he says. “He called me hours after his big win to tell me again how grateful he was for Caterpillar and MATCO.”
While Dan has no current plans to replace Sporty Game, he says he’d absolutely choose Cat engines for any future boat. In the meantime, he’s preparing to head back out on the water for the 2015 edition of Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament.
“There have been 12 one-million-dollar winners in the 34-year history of the tournament, but no one’s ever done it back to back,” he says. “Our chances are pretty slim, but we’re going for it.”
With Cat power and Cat dealer support at his back, his chances are better than most.