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A romantic, a boat and the perfect proposal

Capt. Rob Newsome pilots Formul350 FX6 he turned inLove Bocouple weeks earlier when he proposed his now-fiancee. | Dale Bowman/For

Capt. Rob Newsome pilots the Formula 350 FX6 he turned into the Love Boat a couple of weeks earlier when he proposed to his now-fiancee. | Dale Bowman/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 16, 2013 6:36AM



Guys like Capt. Rob Newsome make it tough on the rest of the male gender.

He’s a well-built, good-looking guy; even more, he has a romantic heart fit for a sonnet.

I’m talking a marriage proposal down on a knee in an impossibly perfect setting.

Let me digress.

For many summers, staff at the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association have taken me on a boating outing to hear the latest on boating trends and hype. It has become a comfortable part of the summer.

Well, after several weather-related delays, we finally got out after Labor Day. It was four of us — Newsome, director of engineering standards for Discover Boating; Colleen Richardson, NMMA public relations; and my wife and me, who met at DuSable Harbor.

The lake was just laying down after yet another northeasterly blow. Newsome looked over the breakwall at Monroe Harbor and said, ‘‘I see a couple of boats. It looks OK.’’ So he took us out of the harbor, and we rode around off downtown.

And I learned about the boat. Every year, NMMA gets a boat for the summer. This year, it’s a Formula 350 FX6. Or, as it soon should be known, the Love Boat.

‘‘This is a fantastic boat for the Great Lakes,’’ Newsome said. ‘‘It has been a delight. We have a ton of compliments when we go out.’’

It comes with the latest in GPS, Skyhook (really cool GPS-related technology that allows a boat to hold position without an anchor — soon to be have-to-have technology for savvy fishermen) and Joystick docking.

Newsome said the boat is heavy and well-built enough to handle topping out at 60 mph on Lake Michigan.

We caught up with each other. Newsome, who grew up in the south suburbs, just completed his MBA after going back to Notre Dame.

Then it came out that he had just proposed on the boat last month.

Now there’s something different.

The glorious moment came east of Northerly Island for a reason. The first date for Newsome and Kathleen Clickett was to hear a Tom Petty concert from the water at Northerly Island seven years ago.

‘‘I hatched an elaborate lie. Then so many pieces of the puzzle had to come together,’’ Newsome said.

It took days of watching the weather and lake conditions to coordinate everything.

He needed a light east wind so the boat could handle right, the back end could be seen from shore and David Turner Photography could capture the moment from shore. Then he had to figure a pretense to get Clickett to the back of the boat.

When that all came down, he went completely romantic: getting down on one knee and pulling out the ring.

The moment came with a good result.

‘‘She screamed,’’ Newsome said. ‘‘People on shore stopped and cheered. Then we cruised around for two hours, I don’t remember where, and she was on the phone telling everybody.’’

They ended up 10 to 15 miles off shore.

‘‘I love the view out there, and we watched the sun set,’’ Newsome said.

‘‘So perfect,’’ Richardson said. ‘‘So you. Boating is for lovers.’’

How do you top something like that? Especially when my wife had to hear the whole tale.

It was time.

Back at DuSable Harbor, Newsome assured me even I could handle Joystick docking. So I played with the Joystick system and docked the boat on the outside relatively well.

At least I could handle that moment.

Email: straycasts@sbcglobal.net

Twitter: @BowmanOutside



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