September 2015 – The Crossing

The logistics of this move dictate that we meet Captain Geoff in Fort Pierce, park his vehicle at Harbour Isle Marina (our new winter home) and drive our rental across the state to Fort Meyers.  Then when we make it back, Captain Geoff will have his wheels!

2015-09-14 Geoff, Nick and IAfter spending hundreds of hours on conference calls with Captain Geoff while he crawled over every inch of our new-to-us vessel, we had never met face to face until we drove into the West Marine parking lot in Fort Pierce, FL!  We bought a few last minute items and started our drive to Fort Meyers.

Bright and early the next morning, we provision the vessel and I go off to return the rental car.  When I return to the dock, Tracy is ready to cleanse the vessel of its previous name and ask the Gods of the sea for permission.  After we’re satisfied that it’s safe to leave the dock with the blessing of the Gods, and we’re about to shove off from the dock in Fort Meyers, a Florida thunderstorm hits.  Twenty minutes later the sun is shining, the roads are steaming, and Captain Geoff unties the lines.

First order of business is to top off the fuel tanks so we can start clocking runtime.  Captain Geoff calls ahead to insure they have enough diesel for us and they quote $2.45 per gallon, so we head for Caloosahatchie Jack’s.  By the time we get there the price has dropped to $2.10 per gallon so right away we save $0.35 on 300 gallons or about one hundred dollars!  Who says boating is expensive!!!

This crossing gives both Tracy and myself our first opportunities to handle the vessel.  Captain Geoff switches from a repair Captain to a Teaching Captain and quite simply, with his guidance and expertise, by the time we docked her two days later at Harbour Isle Marina, we had some real good experience on our resume(s).

Our first leg ends at Labelle Marina and Geoff lets me back her into the slip.  She doesn’t hit one pylon and I’m pretty proud of my docking job.  Day two and we take the cross-lake route.  Water levels are real good, but we want to make some time, so we decide against the rim route.  We get some more exposure to locks and how to maneuver in both up-river locks and down-river locks and we pull into Hutchinson Marina for the second night.  On the next morning, before leaving the marina, we fuel up and pump-out as we get ready for the last leg of our trip, Stuart to Fort Pierce.  I take the helm coming out of the marina channel and just as I’m turning the vessel into the ICW main channel, the bottom shutters and shakes as if we’ve either bottomed out, or hit a submerged log, etc.  The guys decide on the log theory. I decided we hit bottom and made the men throw the bananas overboard.   More about bananas on a boat at the bottom of this post.  -tc  A vibration starts at higher rpm’s, so we decide to back her down and limp our way north to Fort Pierce and Harbour Isle Marina.

We have selected Harbour Isle Marina for it’s superior design in terms of potential hurricane protection.  Basically, it’s designed in a circle, virtually surrounded by four story condominium buildings.  Our Insurance carrier has been very particular in our selections due to the fact that during hurricane season, we’ll be absentee owners all winter, leaving the vessel in Florida while we’re in Connecticut.  So we’re particularly pleased with our choice of Harbour Isle Marina, and it’s convenient to Captain Geoff as he works on additional projects including the new issue with the starboard propeller and shaft.

End of this chapter is that we arrive safely in Harbour Isle Marina, tie her up real well, hook up shore power and water, then return to Connecticut to let Captain Geoff work his projects over the ensuing months.

Banana_and_cross_section“There are many theories on why people believe bananas are bad luck for a boat. One superstition is that boats carrying bananas don’t catch fish. The origin of this belief dates back to the Caribbean  trade of the 1700s. The wooden sailing vessels of that time had to move quickly to deliver bananas before they spoiled, and fishermen had a hard time trolling for fish on such fast-moving boats. They also may have  traveled more quickly and less carefully due to the delicate nature of their cargo, compared say to ‘coconut’ boats.   This second belief developed after many boats never made it to their destinations, and most of the doomed boats were carrying bananas.

One of the creepier superstitions is that banana cargo could actually kill a man. In actuality, fermenting bananas do give off methane gas, which could conceivably get trapped below deck and kill any crew members unlucky enough to be working in the hold. Another popular theory was that venomous spiders hitched rides in bananas, and once those bananas were onboard, the boat would be host to any number of lethal critters. And then, of course, there’s the theory that banana peels cause crew members to slip and fall on deck!”   -tc






June to September 2015 – Dreams to Reality

Between March and June, we’re in contact with our Broker Michael Martin often as we agree to meet in Florida in June to visit as many boats as possible to size them up.  Michael advises us to window shop the yacht brokerage sites and give him a list of about 15 boats that catch our eye in one way or another.  Then we let Michael do his job setting up viewings and an itinerary for the week of June 6th to June 10th.  Tracy & I Fly from Connecticut and Michael flies from Ohio and we meet in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida on Tuesday, June 7th where Michael has set up viewings for the boats.  We go up and down the gulf coast for the next four days looking at, inspecting, climbing on and scoping out trawlers.

At the end of the week, we’re sitting down for dinner with Michael, and Tracy decides we should both write down our top choice to see if we already agree, or if it’s back to the drawing board.  As the napkins are unfolded, we both have the same vessel written down!  With the uncompromising help of Michael Martin as our Broker and Curtis Stokes as the Seller’s Broker we end up with a deal within four days of leaving Florida.  Next step is to set-up the haul-out, surveys and sea trials.

Tracy and Michael return to Fort Meyers in July after I arranged for a haul out, hired a hull surveyor and an engine surveyor.  Curtis and the Owner meet them at the vessel and they spend the day completing all the pre-purchase inspections and the sea trial.  With the surveys complete, we are notified of a few issues, which are all fixable, but the purchase price gets re-negotiated and we end up with a deal!

Closing is set for August 25th, 2015.

Once we are the proud owners of our first trawler vessel and some work needs to be done on her, I call Captain Chris Caldwell for help.  We discuss the work that needs to be done and since the vessel is in Fort Meyers and his schedule at the time is rather full, he gives me the recommendation to call Captain Geoff Gow for the modifications to the vessel.

There are a few items that must be completed prior to moving the vessel, (some electrical, some bilge pumps, etc.) and the previous owners are gracious enough to let us leave the vessel docked on their property with electricity and water hooked up.  They are extraordinary people and we send Captain Geoff over to Fort Meyers to complete the necessaries.  The goal is for him to get the vessel ready for the Okechobee Canal crossing before the hospitality runs out!  Geoff does a spectacular job and we make arrangements to meet him in Fort Meyers on the vessel in September to move her to her winter home in Fort Pierce.







March 2015 – The First Step

train tableI picked up Tracy  from her work as a PA at Mount Sinai Hospital in Hartford, CT at 11 pm on a Friday evening and we headed to Union Station in New Haven to catch the midnight train to Baltimore for the AGLCA Looper Lifestyle Seminar in March 2015.  The trip was full of anticipation and excitement for me so sleep on the train was a rare commodity on this early spring night.  We arrived at Baltimore and got the hotel shuttle straight to the hotel.   Read More