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Alaskan Element

When your cabin is beyond the reach of roads but you still need a boat, you call in a chopper.

Jamie Dittrich had a problem. His awesome Alaskan getaway on Red Shirt Lake was far enough from the concrete world he couldn’t tow a boat there…not that he had a boat yet. Their cabin there has been in the family for 40 years. It’s where he learned to waterski and he wanted the same experience for his young sons.

Fortunately, flying boats in by helicopter is a proven Alaskan solution, so his only remaining problem was the specific boat. He needed an outboard to meet local regulations, sporty performance to thrill 9-year-old Paul and 7-year-old Joey, enough space for his family and the friends who come visit during summer vacations, and he wanted it in time for this summer. Enter Rod Nau, salesman supreme from the Seattle area’s Lake Union Sea Ray dealership.

Rod was able to get Jamie the Element XL he wanted at a great price and arrange to get it delivered by barge to the right helipad near Anchorage. “I wanted a new Element with the outboard because I needed something reliable and low maintenance since there aren’t any mechanics on Red Shirt,” Jamie explained. “The closest is a 15-minute helicopter ride away. When I saw the original Element, I thought it was almost perfect for us, but I wanted a little more room and little more horsepower. When the new Element XL came out, I knew I had found the boat I was looking for.”

Once the boat reached the 49th state, Northern Pioneer Helicopters cabled the boat below a Bell UH-1H (the famed “Huey”) and did the dramatic part of this delivery story.

“It may seem like a little bit of a production, but many things are a production up here,” Jamie said. “But everything went as planned. I even managed to fit 900 pounds of lumber in the boat during the delivery that I will use to build a boat house.”

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