3.28.2009

Homemade Birthday Card

My sister Pat sent me a homemade card along with a poem that I just had to share. My birthday was earlier this month but the poem was cut from a newspaper on July 26, 2007. She must have been saving it for the perfect moment. It is precious.





I also got a big package of fudge from Daughter Shannon.
A fantastic Fein Multi Tool from the Admiral.
I also received cards and calls from too many to count.
It was a great Birthday!

My Dream Ship

I sailed upon a ship one time
With it's sails so clean and bold;
There is nothing like a sunset
From a ship while sails unfold.

Hear the whisper of the wind
As it glides across the sea.
Nothing on this earth
Is quite as wondrous to me.

Darkness descends around us
And the sky is midnight blue.
The stars are like diamonds
With their glittering, silver hue.

These memories I hold dear to me;
Even in my dreams they play a part.
I will always keep my dream ship
Forever in my heart.

Author Unknown

Anchor Rode Marking - Reasons and Method

Marking your anchor rode at specific spots will allow you to make sure you let out the proper length of rode to get the required scope.










For my land lubber friends I will give a few quick definitions of these nautical terms.
Anchor Rode:
The line or chain attached to the anchor and secured to the boat.
Anchor Scope:
Technically, the ratio of length of anchor rode in use to the vertical distance from the bow of the vessel to the bottom of the water. Usually six or seven to one for calm weather and more scope in storm conditions. It is critical to let out the proper length of rode so that you will not drag your anchor.
We have two CQR anchors on Mary Rose.
Anchor number One configuration consists of the anchor attached to 75 feet of 3/8 high tensile grade galvanized chain which is attached to 150 feet of 5/8 inch, three strand nylon which is attached to 100 feet of 3/8 inch polypropylene rope. The poly is tied to the Sampson posts at the base of the anchor locker. This anchor locker is lined with 1/8 inch vinyl to protect the hull from the chain. The polypropylene is not strong enough to hold our boat and the reason we have polypropylene at the boat end, is because it floats. If we ever have to cut our anchor loose from the boat then we will be able to take a GPS position and we will be able to find the polypropylene rope floating on the surface if the depth is less than 100 feet. We use anchor Number One in high wind conditions or if there are bottom conditions that will chafe or cut a nylon road.
We braided each end of the three strand nylon around a stainless steel thimble to prevent chafing.



Anchor configuration Number Two consists of a CQR anchor, 15 feet of 3/8 high tensile grade galvanized chain attached to 250 feet of 5/8 inch, three strand nylon which is also attached to 100 feet of the floating poly. We use this anchor as a day anchor, or in light to medium wind and sea conditions, shallow depths and where bottom conditions are safe for nylon rodes without chafing hazards.
We marked both anchor rodes with strands of poly tied through the chain and nylon strands. The method we used is one poly strand at 25 feet, two strands at 50 feet and increasing the strands each 25 feet up to 150 feet of depth. After we reached the 150 foot mark we started counting down with the strands. So at 175 feet there are 5 poly strands. This photo indicates 75 feet or 225 feet if we have passed the 150 mark.


The very last mark on each of the nylon rodes is a weave of yellow poly approximately 24 inches long. There is also a weave of poly near the end of the 75 feet of chain on anchor #1. The reason for these weave markers is to let you know that you are literally at the end of your rope! This will give plenty of notice so that the rode can be made fast before the poly exits the chain locker through the bronze chain pipe.

In extreme conditions we can attach the three strand nylon rode from anchor #2 to the nylon rode on anchor #1. This arrangement would give us maximum scope and the nylon stretches well which diminishes the shock of high winds and waves when at anchor. In very extreme conditions both anchors may be attached in line on the chain with anchor #1. The nylon rode on anchor #2 will also be attached to our sea anchor when conditions require us to deploy it.

Please leave your comments and questions.

3.24.2009

Woodworking, Boats and Mentors - REAL Hope and Change For the Future!


I had a unique opportunity this past weekend to witness an ambitious young man about nine years old working with an ambitious older gentleman in the 70+ range. I had met the older gentleman before and knew his well founded reputation to be that of a "Marine Genius." Dick is retired form the US Army, has a US Coast Guard Masters License and is a walking encyclopedia on boat systems and repairs. I hold him in high regard and have a great deal of respect for him. He has some gestures that remind me of my Father, also an Army Veteran. I made some immediate assumptions regarding the lad that had joined him on this beautiful spring day. I assumed this was a grandchild and was visiting/working with grandpa. I watched them work together on a sport fishing boat docked to my stern and east of me. Dick was busy working on a large port light replacement while TJ hand sanded the combing for a final application of protective finish that Dick would mix and apply later. I watched and admired how TJ worked diligently with little or no encouragement. I caught Lana watching with a gaze of admiration and I could tell that she was also touched by the silent camaraderie that joined these two gentlemen as they worked on their own private project. TJ was so into his work that there was a fine layer of sanding dust resting on his face and he looked as though he was in the middle of a makeup application for a large stage production. Dick worked steady and determined on the port light and kept a watchful eye on his apprentice, without his apprentice ever noticing. This went on for several hours before they took a lunch break at the local Yacht Sales Cafe. They sat outside and enjoyed freshly made deli sandwiches and soda pops just like Grandfather and grandsons should do on such a lovely day. I gave pause several times and thought about the times that I had enjoyed working on projects with my children. The decks that Shane and I built, the times that Shannon and I fed and watered livestock, the nature projects at camps with Shelly and the rusty fenders that Jeff I repaired with bondo. Except, lately the projects have turned into the "Daddy Do" list when I chance to visit my wonderful children. And by the way.......I love the "Daddy Do List." It feels great to be of assistance and leave a part of me behind. There always seems to be one or two projects that require the assistance of one of the grandchildren. I reminisced of the time when I would visit my "Grandaddy's" tool shed and marvel at his neatly arranged assortment of tools and he would spend time explaining them and teaching me to use them. I also had thoughts, hopes and dreams that one day in the future, I would be able to share extended time with my grandchildren and work with them on labors of love. The two "dock workers" returned and took up their tools to continue there respective projects. I approached Dick and commented on how wonderful it must be to have his grandson working with him on such a fine spring day. Dick chuckled and informed me that he was a not his grandson but a neighbor. He also told me that that TJ had approached him about working with him and make some spending money while learning new skills so he too could work on yachts and boats. I thought I was impressed that a grandson would be doing this work but now I was blown away that nine year old TJ actually wanted to do this with a 70+ retired grandfather. What was wrong with TJ? Didn't he know that there are video games to be played? Didn't he know that he was too young to work and someone should give him spending money? Didn't he know that these are tough economic times and there was no work to be had by anyone? Why did TJ give up his Saturday morning sleep in and cartoons? What was wrong with this picture???????? Nothing was wrong and a lot was right. This whole experience gave me a renewed hope for the youth of the future. As long as there are TJ's in this world, there will be true hope. TJ's work ethic is at the very core of what made this country strong and we need more of it. As long as there are gentlemen like Dick that will mentor the youth with desire, there is hope. My hat is off to TJ and I salute you Dick for you are both fine gentlemen that I hold in high regard. My challenge to the reader is.......... if you are young....find a mentor! If you are old.......find someone that wants to be mentored! You both have gifts to exchange with one another. This is the REAL hope and change that Will make a difference in the future.

3.06.2009

New Vinyl Boat Name Lettering and Font

While in Miami at the International Boat show we saw the booth that offered vinyl boat lettering by the name of http://www.myboatsign.com/ and http://www.gulfstreamgear.com/ At their booth we saw an old world font that the Captain and I absolutely loved.




<-------Stern (before)




<------Stern (after)




We have wanted to update the font on Mary Rose for quite some time but it was one of those items that we kept bumping to the bottom of our list.




<------Bow (before)




<-------Bow (after)




Well.... since I was Sharon Stone (long story) and the Capt was a vendor... they made us an offer that was kind of hard to say no to... they performed some quick movements on the computer, typed away on the keyboard, changed a few things around.. adjusted the colors and size on the screen as we stood by, The whole process took less than 30 minutes then Tadaaaaaa! There on the computer screen was what soon would become Mary's new font.

I.. Admiral Nelson, went to work as soon as possible removing all the old lettering while Capt Don worked at his other job. Then on his day off... together we went to work scrubbing and cleaning Mary's hull preparing to make her even more beautiful than before.




Please enjoy the before and after pics and please ... please share your thoughts.. we love hearing from everyone! Peace, love and tranquil waters!!

3.05.2009

Miami to St Petersburg, FL - Night Sailing The Gulf Stream





This post will be a bit more technical and clinical of the Hanse 43 Yacht delivery than that previously written by the crew. I deliberately waited to write my post so that the judgement and opinions of the crew would not be influenced. Thanks to crew members Dr Bill Smith and Andy Smith for their colorful recount of the voyage as well as their "do anything" attitudes. Thanks to first mate, Lana Nelson for being there with her dedication and experience to help us all make a safe passage.

We were in a bit of a dilemma as to when to leave the Miami City Marina which hosted the Strictly Sail portion of the Miami International Boat Show. Our first port of call after leaving Miami would be Boot Key and the city of Marathon, FL. We estimated it to take 12 - 16 hours to reach Boot Key from Miami via the government cut channel. Marathon harbor has a very narrow channel and is not a good approach in the dark. If we wanted to make Boot Key before sunset then the latest we could leave would be 0300. I consulted with the crew, Phil Crane (Yacht Owner), the National Weather Service and my own comfort level as to the best time to depart Miami. The weather service was calling for 4 - 6 foot seas and 10 - 15 knots of wind from the northeast. I also looked at weather patterns for the rest of the trip and knew we would be racing a cold front to St Petersburg. A quick check of the extended area indicated gale warnings in the Atlantic but far from our expected course. Collectively we decided to leave as soon as possible after the closing of the show and head for Boot Key. This would give us a good cushion of time to make a daylight landfall.

We had an obstacle to our departure before we left the dock. Just a mere 25 feet off the bow was a multi million dollar luxury catamaran tied along side the other dock. There was little room for error as we had to swing the Hanse 43 out of her slip. Another sailing yacht had a mooring line tied to our port side which had to be manipulated over our bow as we shoved off and backed past the catamaran. I felt more comfortable in directing dock hands and line handlers than manning the wheel as we slipped our lines from this unusually tight docking configuration. I asked Hanse the boat owner, Phil Crane, to take the helm while myself, the crew and others managed the dock lines and made a very controlled departure from the dock. A short distance away we dropped Phil off at a finger pier and we were off to glide through Government Cut to the open Atlantic.

Now remember that just a few days earlier I had delivered a Jeanneau 50 foot deck salon luxury sailing yacht for Yacht Sales of Florida through this very same channel. I headed for the exact previous track using dead reckoning navigation and soon discovered that the previous trip though the channel was at high tide and I could feel we were dragging on a mud bottom during our low tide departure. We were going slow and did not have any problems backing out and continued safely as we honored the navigation markers and stayed in the channel.

We passed dozens of small shrimp boats in the shipping channel next to the docks and soon we were a couple of miles away from our point of departure with the Government Cut marker beacon in sight. Our planned route was in the Atlantic, outside of the reef that marks the southerly boundary for the Hawk Channel. Here is a link for a map of the Hawk Channel.
www.encarta.msn.com/map_701535448/hawk_channel.html

The Hawk Channel is between the reef and the Florida Keys which would have been our preferred route. However, sailboats and the Hawk Channel do not mix well after dark. The channel is dotted with thousands of crab traps that have lines attached to floating buoys. Invisible lines at night are like magnets for sailboat keels and propeller shafts. Thus, we were forced to stay well to the outside of Fowey Rocks light and sail in the Atlantic against adverse effects of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is not always in the exact same place and varies a bit in speed but the general location, direction and speed are highly predicable. Another attribute of the Gulf Stream is that the waves get very large and very steep when the wind direction opposes it. The stronger the wind the larger and steeper the waves. The waves take on what is referred to as a "square wave." configuration. Close your eyes and visualize a graceful sensuously swept sailing yacht attempting to make way through square waves. I think you get the picture.

We were within ten miles of our point of departure when the waves and wind began to increase well beyond our expectations based on the forecast we received. At one point Lana said, "look at that, Miami just disappeared." I turned around and it was there. I told Lana she was silly and she said "no way" look again. I turned and sure enough the Miami Skyline was absorbed by the cresting waves that were now following us in the Atlantic. It is difficult to make an exact gauge of the wave heights in complete darkness but I am certain that these waves approached over 15 feet from trough to top. I made sure that everyone knew that it would be a bit rough and repeated that no one would be topsides without a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) aka life jacket and tethered to a jackline to prevent a Man Over Board (MOB) situation. I think that anxiety levels raised a bit and soon we had some crew members that were being hit with bouts of sea sickness. I am extremely fortunate that my constitution allows me to endure some wicked conditions and remain nausea free as long as I stay task focused and do not go below deck.

I remained at the wheel as the most experienced helmsman on board. It was very dark as the moon would not rise until about 0230. Steering under power was not too difficult as our course put the waves on the starboard corner of our stern. The auto pilot was useless due to the height and strength of the seas so it I knew I was in for a long watch of hand steering until conditions improved. The greatest danger we faced was broaching or pitch polling but we never came close to losing control. At times we would catch a wave and surf down it's face and bury the nose under the wave ahead of us only to have the following wave catch up with us and ship some water over the open transom. We altered course to a more westerly direction as we made progress along the keys. The further we got away from Miami the more the conditions improved. It appears that the gale that was blowing in the Atlantic was the cause for the big waves setting on us that evening. As we made way along the keys they worked as a block to shield us from the huge waves and give us shelter. There were several times that a rouge wave would slam us midships on the port side and cause us to pitch and roll to the point that Andy was rudely ejected from his cockpit nesting area. There were more than a few times that we met other traffic that was headed for Miami. I thought to myself....we are the lucky ones tonight as we are not pounding head on into these enormous seas. We watched as the other boats disappeared into the trough of the waves only to reappear through a spray as they burst through the onslaught of waves over their bow. Andy and I had a good discussion on ships navigation lights and judging their speed, distance and direction of travel.

Andy and I were chatting around 0230 when we were treated to a spectacular moon rise that blazed a crescent orange on the horizon as it emerged through a bank of high thin clouds. By then the seas had calmed to the forecasted 4 -6 feet and the moonlight gave depth and dimension to the waves. The winds were steady at 12 - 15 kts with minor gusts and remained consistent in direction.

I choose not set sails until daybreak for several reasons. This was the first time I had sailed this boat or one like it. None of the crew had any experience on this boat or one like it. Fifty percent of the crew suffered from extreme sea sickness. There was no good reason to subject anyone to the hazards of leaving the safety of the cockpit in the dark in marginal conditions. We had plenty of fuel and the engine was performing well. By sunrise the conditions were favorable and we sailed and motor sailed the rest of the way to Boot Key. We charted a course that allowed us to cut through the reef and head into the Hawk Channel about 15 miles Northeast of Boot key. This saved us valuable time and also placed us right in the middle of the most beautiful turquoise tropical water you will ever see in the good ol' USA. The dolphins came to great us, the flying fish danced for us and the crew had regained their composure and we were all discussing dinner plans at Porky's BBQ in Marathon.

My sincere compliments to the crew on their performance as we squeezed the Hanse 43 into a slip that left very little clearance for her broad beam. The crew worked in unison and brought her to rest for the evening with grace that would make any professional delivery crew envious. Captain was beat and headed for a hot shower before dinner.

On the way to dinner, I noticed a big "yeller dog" that had been at the same marina on the trip down to Miami a week earlier. Only this time the dog was headed straight for me with a determined gate and a plastic lunch box style cooler in it's mouth. The big "yeller dog" had it's lower jaw through the hand hold and was headed right for me. I paused as the dog approached and said, "hey big yeller dog whatcha got there?" I joked to the crew how he must think that he is a St Bernard and carries cold beer in a cooler to save tired sailors. Just ahead was a dockside open air cabana with a TV, bar, fridge and all the necessary stuff to keep a dockside sailor entertained. It was occupied by a sole male working on a small wooden project. He confirmed that this was indeed his "yeller dog." I inquired as to what was up with the plastic cooler and he invited me to open it up. I opened the cooler and inside was a note that said......."Please Feed Me A Treat!" The bottom of the cooler was laden with gourmet K-9 treats. So big yeller dog scored again! I still laugh when I think of this event and the yeller dog carrying the cooler to greet me.

We headed out the next morning with intentions of docking in Key West for the night and then on to St Petersburg the following day. The Hawk Channel is deep and wide between Boot Key and Key West and with daylight we could run the gauntlet of crab pots as we made way. We took turns on watch so everyone was able to get some much needed rest and recovery as we sailed. Along the way, Phil Crane called and updated the forecast for the St Petersburg area. As expected a cold front was steaming toward St Pete with breakneck speed and we would be sailing in cold wet weather for the duration if we spent the night in Key West. With little discussion we decided to keep the sails up and sail through the channel that leads from the Atlantic to the Gulf on the west end of Key West.

We established watches for all crew members and set a course for Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay. The rest of the voyage is well documented by Bill and Andy Smith. We had a wonderful time together and only a bit of a sail plan modification as the front rolled through. I will be writing a post in the near future on the subject of "How it all began!" You will learn more about Bill Smith, Mike Degeorge, Shane Montgomery, Admiral Nelson and others as I revisit the birthplace of the dream that I am now living.

My night watch was with Lana and we had a memorable time as we skipped along watching the starlight dance on the waves. It caused each of us to pause and recap our first night voyage across the Gulf of Mexico just fourteen months earlier. We enjoyed the star filled sky, talked about our future voyages, shared some thoughts on family and friends and then the Captain entertained with some sea shanties and classic country ballads.


I am proud of Bill, Andy and Lana as each one did what was asked and never once was there any overtone of disagreement or argumentative attitudes. Those of you that have sailed multi day passages know that this is not always the case and can appreciate this description. I hope we are all able to do this again in the near future and share more stories of wanderlust on the high sea!

3.04.2009

Miami International Boat Show Experience - Dr. Bill Smith

The following excerpt is written by Dr. Bill Smith (Andy's Father) regarding his view of our voyage from Miami to St Pete via a 43 ft Hanse sailboat as crew for Capt Don Montgomery. We asked Bill to write about this experience from his unique perspective. Bill and I have a long history of sailing together in the National Sweet Sixteen Sailing Association. We have raced as a common crew and as fierce competitors. We intend to have other guest writers in the future to help give the readers of this blog a more complete picture of our journey. Thank you Bill for assisting with this delivery and you vivid recount of the event.

Captain Don


My week with Skipper Don and Admiral Lana Nelson, 2/13—2/21/09

I know, Don, I said, I have threatened to come to visit you and Lana’s Boat Child Mary
Rose for over a year now. It seems that this career in medicine always gets in the way of
yet another Skipper Don sailing adventure. While racing our Sweet 16’s Don and I often
spoke of what it would be like to experience an extended offshore adventure. What we
lacked in experience might be easily made up for in Don’s profound do it yourself skills,
his unusual interest in sailing gadgetry of all sorts, Lana's astounding compatibility factor
along with her general hardiness and Skipper Don’s nonstop thirst for adventure. Cheney
was windy enough, Jacomo sufficiently beautiful, the Quivira Regatta parties consistently fun enough but it was in St. Petersburg’s perfect marina that Don and Lana
ultimately set to work getting ready for the sail of a LIFETIME to God Knows Where.

For all those who have only read about Mary Rose , take it from me, she is a floating
monument to two people very much in love. This Westsail is built with one part Scuffy
the Tugboat, one part Home Depot, and 2 parts love nest.



The rebuilt circuitry panel looks more like something out of NASA.



The diesel engine, Mr. Perkins, sports a blue paint job of which any Mission Hills home would be envious.











And get this: at one point one of Don’s eclectic marina neighbors actually thanked the Skipper for working on his boat’s mahogany for free. Such is the high mark of a life surrounding cruisers and I am envious.

I agreed to meet Don and Lana in South Beach for the Miami Boat Show. We would pick up Andy, my 27 year old son, and immediately take him on an amazing airboat ride thru the swamp off Alligator Alley.




The attached picture should be self explanatory in regards to the local color.











We stayed in as gaudy a hotel as I have ever seen and enjoyed the sustained South Beach street chaos as well as possible. Best orange juice, ever.

After the boat show we would return a Hanse 49 ft. German built sailboat to its new owner in Clearwater. The “sold sign” erected immediately following the first day at the show only served to put pressure upon us to consider a scratch free existence for the next week. Can you say pristine?





The crowd at the boat show smelled like money and I could never get tired of walking through high dollar sailboats I can only dream about ( how could anyone not fall in love with the Morris M29 daysailer, www.morrisyachts.com ?).







For better or worse the four of us left Miami at 2000 hours Monday night 2/16/09. The National Weather Service called for 2-4 ft seas with winds 10-15 knots, sailor’s paradise. I had brought some seasickness tablets & Thera-flu, for soon to be green Andy but we did not take them. What happened next was frightening. The night Gulf Stream changed to 20 ft swells blocking the views of Miami. The boat motored all night long while poor Andy explored levels of dehydration previously unthought-of. At one point Skipper Don, realizing the full extend of the situation, held onto Andy’s newly purchased tethered, self-inflating life jacket and allowed him to vomit over the transom.


The Brazilian hardwoods were less impressive at that moment. Parent that I am, I retired below and slept soundly for 7 hours. I am told the collective retching continued in my absence. When I awoke the seas had calmed and Tierra Firma was welcomed with terrific overnight at Marathon Key. It was there I witnessed a huge manatee sucking off a freshwater garden hose.

I asked woozy Andy if it wasn’t time to dial Hertz and he said “ No way, dad, I stay on the boat. Don’t ask again “. Memorable.

From that point forward things improved. The boat performed up to my expectations, we slept well and food stayed down. At one point we sailed over acres of flying fish, my
favorite creature. Don and Lana taught us many things and we arrived in Tampa with a Hanse any Puerto Rican ophthalmologist would be proud to own.

I am proud of this trip. I learned that those of us who dream of an offshore experience need to realize the inherent danger.

I learned of the toughness of my son. I saw Don really in love. But most importantly, I gained another level of appreciation for my beautiful home waters of Jacomo/Tapawingo in the Kansas City Metro area..

That said, Don and Lana did mention that they would be taking the boatchild Mary Rose thru the Panama Canal in 2010 . . .

3.03.2009

Guest Speaker.. Mr Andy Smith

The following excerpt is written by Andy Smith regarding his trip from Miami to St Pete via 43 ft Hanse sailboat as crew for Capt Don Montgomery. We asked Andy to write about this experience from his perspective and we appreciate him doing so.

Now Andy is not one to blow his own horn... but "a toot toot!!"

My name is Andy Smith and I was fortunate enough to crew for Skipper Don on a Hanse yacht for 5 days in Florida. This is my best attempt to recount the epic journey that was my time with Don, Lana, my father Bill Smith, and myself. This is a story of survival, hope, and Chips Ahoy. Like many good stories, this one begins in a scary, foreign place and ends in one of safety and revelation.

I did my best to prepare for the trip, scouring the library in my current home of Seattle for books relating to the ocean. Big, heavy, expensive and unnecessary, it was with a thud that these books landed in the back of Skipper Don’s truck. My father greeted me at the airport in Miami, rambling off details about the sail ahead, but before we could depart, we took an airboat ride.

I found it interesting that we searched out the business with the smallest airboats, the most private ride. Fishtailing through Everglade grass rivers, finally learning the origin of the word hammock and encountering an alligator in a deep, boring, midday trance. The Everglades, once the worlds best water filter, still percolate with life, sunlight charging one of earth’s great photosynthetic playgrounds.









After the airboat ride we made great time in organizing our provisions (no blueberries Bill!) and loaded up the gorgeous Hanse yacht that was to be our vessel from Miami to Tampa Bay. Skipper Don announced that we were leaving that night, why not I said, lets get the show on the road!

We gingerly slipped the yacht out of the harbor and our journey began. The Miami skyline looked like neon lipstick as we cruised down the narrow ship channel. Once out in the open ocean, the waves quickly grew alarming. Humongous, deep-rolling waves rocked me into instant nausea, a puking epiphany, and seasickness as thick as the waves we rode. No pills could appease my condition, I just held on as we motored into the deep Atlantic Ocean. That night I hung on to my harness, wedging my arm under my back to stabilize myself, laying down in the cockpit of the boat. I would occasionally wake to confirm that it was incredibly dark, the waves still punishingly strong, the ocean, still not giving me any relief.

Now, many of you know Don, but this was my first time hanging out with him. While I was sicker than a dog, Don casually ate Chips Ahoy and stayed up all night. Navigational glitches did not phase him. I was so glad to have him guiding the boat through that scary night.

When the sun finally rose, it was glorious. With the light, came perspective and dimension, the ocean whispering its vibratory map, I felt much better.




We eventually made it to Marathon Key, where a manatee was loitering in our parking space to get more fuel. The gentle sea cow was a totem in my mind, saying, YES, you have survived the bad part, now enjoy Florida and mama ocean. We ate at Porky’s in Marathon, enjoying some live music. Skipper Don got a round of laughs at my expense, saying the corn I was eating would reappear as phosphorescent fish food once I got back on the boat and returned to my habit of constantly vomiting. Generally, it felt great to be in the tropical sway, far from chilly Seattle, alive in a new place.

We set sail the following morning, my father kindly administering as much seasickness medication as his son could hold. I remember the turquoise water off the coast of Key West, Lana tactfully using the navigation system, father and son doing our best to remember the menagerie of different colored ropes, known as sheets that allowed the boat to sail. I learned a ton, grooved out on my Dad’s Ipod play list and remained generally speechless at the vast ocean around me.

The final leg of our journey was in the relatively shallow, calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. For long stretches of time, we only saw the occasional shrimp boat. I hummed along to the sound of the diesel engine and ate turkey sandwiches. We maximized the available wind and I let some wind pass of my own.

On the edge of our return to land, my father made a feast of Ramen noodles and I watched dolphins play off the bow of the boat. Lana took photos and got excited at the prospect of seeing her and Don’s special home, Mary Rose.

“Is that a red triangle Bill, Andy what’s our depth, Lana, take the wheel, “ Skipper Don gave us orders as we entered Tampa Bay. Finally arriving at the familiar marina, we were greeted by friends and Mary Rose, a delightful boat, as cozy as a diner, as tough as a biker. I had the great fortune to sleep on her for a night and assert that she is bonafied, ready for the epic journey ahead of her.

I feel blessed to have gone on such a trip. I know that with Lana making crazin/oatmeal cookies for the locals and Don making sure the sails are fine tuned, everything will flow. Thanks Don and Lana for all the laughs and friendship. Thanks Dad for the opportunity, starry night conversations, and pushing the recharge button on his son’s soul. Safe travels!






Thank you Andy for sharing your time and thoughts with us. You gave me a blessing more than you will ever know by joining us on this adventure!! You are a great person and friend.

Yacht Delivery to Miami International Boat Show

Capt Don gets his first peofessional boat delivery job for Florida Yacht Sales!!
Don was sooooo excited when he received this offer as was I. It is a dream as well as one of his goals to get his US Coast Guard Captain's license and do boat deliveries. So yet another dream falling into place!!
We couldn't help but ask ourselves what Mary Rose would say if she knew Capt Don was sailing a younger, sleeker racing sailboat???? So we tried to keep it a secret.








Don had a crew of 3... including himself. It would take an estimated time of arrival of 3-4 days.

They set sail on a Sat as I left for work.

I never knew a person could miss another so deeply.
I will be driving to Miami in 5 days to join him . Woohooo