Alberto Torruella, an 80-yr-old retired attorney and businessman and former sugar cane farmer, lives on a beach in Puerto Rico. And he comes from an interesting background: “Initially our business was sugar, but my great-grandfather started producing rum. After Prohibition, we set up a distillery and went into the rum business, which was kind of a secondary business at the time.” Alberto’s “secondary business” became the Serralles Distillery, the maker of Don Q Rum - and not only the largest producer of rum in Puerto Rico, but the second largest producer of quality rums in the United States.
After he retired last year, Alberto was “… looking for something to keep me busy. I get the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog and saw your golf cart there and I looked Neoteric up. I didn’t contact Hammacher Schlemmer because I didn’t want to go through an intermediary; I wanted to go to the source.”
Alberto wanted a hovercraft to fly him over the beach and sea, but he also had business in mind: “Ten years ago we went into the hotel business; we purchased a hotel and added a golf course. And I thought it would help the golf course. Puerto Rico has 12 or 13 golf courses – lots of competition for attracting golfers – so we can offer rides.”
Before he purchased his HoverGolf Cart, Alberto (left) completed a hovercraft pilot and maintenance course in November at Hovercraft Training Centers “to see how it works out, whether I can handle it.” …
Even though Alberto is a pilot and has vast experience operating motorcycles and boats, his training course was his first experience on a hovercraft – and he particularly enjoyed the unique features of the Neoteric craft – such as reverse thrust, which allows the craft to fly backwards, brake and hover in place: “It was very enjoyable – and different. I used to drive motorcycles so I’m used to speed and crazy things – but not this crazy! I mean, you’re going 30 mph and all of a sudden you can spin and go backwards! Being able to fly backwards, etc. – it adds to the fun!”
Alberto is eager to introduce his hovercraft to Puerto Rico: “You can use a hovercraft in Puerto Rico all year round. I think Puerto Rico would be a good market for your hovercraft because we have good weather all year round and we have lots of areas where it could be used.”
As all you Hoosiers know, the weather in Indiana is not quite as good. But that doesn’t stop Neoteric or our hovercraft! Here are photos of Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald conducting performance testing on Alberto’s craft in January on the icy Wabash River …
Want to take a ride in a hovercraft? Take a Test Flight!