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Jerry Koch

The original Nimble Boats was the brainchild of Jerry Koch. Jerry was a multi-faceted personality with interests in photography, news, international travel and, of course, boats.

As a young man he lived for black and white photography, which he learned at the College of Marin (California) from Bill Current, a world class photographer, who became a lifelong friend. Jerry may have made his first mark photographing the land, but his heart was always at sea. He bought his first boat, a Cal 20, in his early twenties and a few years later fell madly in love with a downtrodden Lapworth wooden racing sloop that had seen much better days.

By day Jerry was the head of the photography lab at KTVU, but by night he was a one-man boat repair shop, lovingly sistering every frame and restoring “Sayonara” to racing grandeur. After owning a half dozen sailboats, Jerry realized that the “perfect” boat didn’t exist and would have to be designed and built. He sought out Ted Brewer, who designed a 41 foot motorsailer for him, and a life long friendship commenced.

Meanwhile, in the “real” world, Jerry got the opportunity of a lifetime to be the first director of field operations for CNN. From his new home base in Atlanta, he plied both trades: building boats and bringing news to the masses. Through the years Jerry spoke endlessly with Ted Brewer about boats, boat design, and boat construction. Ted designed the numerous boats for Jerry, including the gorgeous Rob Roy in 1982.

In 1984 Jerry moved to Florida to devote the rest of his life to the boating industry. He started Nimble Boats in Clearwater in 1985, building the Nimble 20 and 30 sailboats. 

One of the proudest moments of his life was standing on the pier at Plymouth, England in 1986 watching a Nimble 30 commence a singlehanded race across the Atlantic. Jerry continued to partner with Ted Brewer to design a multitude of “perfect” boats including the Nimble Nomad, Artic, and Wanderer.

Jerry struggled with an array of physical maladies which culminated in a massive stroke and he died on October 6, 2003. Ken McCleave, whose company built the fiberglass parts for Jerry, couldn’t bear to see the Nimble line die. So he pulled together a consortium of partners who are dedicated to keeping these unique designs alive.