OPBs, or “Other People’s Boats”

Although I was fine with staying home this winter, Al missed cruising. What’s a guy to do??

Flashback #1 to late August, 2016 – We met Colin on our stop in Lake Tashmoo on Martha’s Vineyard.

Colin’s search for a trawler begins, with a little help from Al and his brother, Bill.

 Colin did find the trawler of his dreams, in Stuart, Fl through Al’s brother, Bill, the broker/owner of Stuart Yacht Sales.

Flashback #2 to late January, 2017 when we stopped in Stuart to visit Bill and Barbara, Al’s brother and sister-in-law, during our Mexico-Florida travels. While we there we reconnected with Colin (Colin and Lynn were there getting to know his trawler, Tortuga.)

Colin’s trawler, Tortuga, at the dock in Stuart, Florida

 Colin planned to bring Tortuga north from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in March. Can you see where this is going?? Yup, Al signed on to help with the delivery leg from Stuart to Savannah. I received occasional photos from the guys as they traveled north from Stuart, FL to Savannah, GA so this blog post is a somewhat cobbled together record of the trip. 😉
Towards the end of March, Al flew to Florida. First on the “to-do list” was a list of things to do for prepping the boat for the trip north. Al’s most unforgettable “to-do” was painting the anchor chain with the red-white-blue color scheme to mark the 25-50-75-100…. foot lengths.

The anchor chain is stretched out on the dock.

Al was carefully walking the chain out..towards the end of the dock……… when………. there was no more dock. Oops!  Splash down into the water!

Al on the swim platform, very wet with a very wet phone in his hand.

Of course his phone was in his pocket. This is why he still has an old flip phone. Next chore on the to-do list? A trip to the Verizon store, followed by a phone call to me explaining why I may not have been able to reach him. In case you are curious, his replacement phone was another flip phone, one of the few remaining of its kind. This is the second one that met its demise in water.

Sometimes everything  just works out nicely without planning. Our dear friends, Anthony and Annette, on Magnolia, were also in Stuart at this time.

Al, Colin, and Anthony decided to take a road trip to Fort Pierce to explore Marine Connection Liquidators, the mega marine outlet and salvage store. With the right store, even guys can enjoy a shopping spree.

Marine Connection Liquidators (http://www.themarineconnection.net)

Ahh, bliss! Surrounded by all things marine!

Is Al hugging that pile of teak? I am so glad that this store is 1,000 miles from us. Step away from the teak!

Shopping is exhausting, so it must be followed by a stop for nourishment.

Both Magnolia and Tortuga would be traveling together up the ICW for a few days, with the first stop at Vero Beach. What a great way to begin the trip.

Tortuga arrives in the Vero Beach mooring field. Colin at the helm, Al on deck.

Tortuga and Magnolia rafted on a Vero Beach mooring. (Colin on the bridge, Al and Annette on the decks.)

The two boats traveled together from Vero Beach to Coco Beach.

Tortuga on the ICW

Scenes along the ICW

 In Cocoa Beach, the crews of both boats celebrated Al’s birthday at a local restaurant.

Happy Birthday, Al! I missed sharing it with you, but I am so glad you were able to celebrate it with friends.

Ice Cream! It’s not a celebration without ice cream! But wait…. Al usually gets a cup, not a cone, and he doesn’t eat blue ice cream  What’s the story here?

The dolphins seemed to like Tortuga very much, swimming alongside.

Colin sent me photos of Al so I wouldn’t feel too lonely without him. 🙂 Here he is in various locations on the boat — at the helm, having breakfast in the aft cockpit, relaxing on the bow.

After crossing the border into Georgia, Tortuga stopped at Cumberland Island, a must see on our list of stops on the  ICW.

Al and Colin on Cumberland Island

And that’s all the photos I have for Al’s mini-cruising adventure from Stuart, FL to Savannah, GA. He loved it!

Later in May, Colin and his next crew member, Willie, arrived here in Connecticut at Shennecosett Yacht Club.

Tortuga passing UCONN’s Avery Point campus and entering our little mooring field.

Al provides personalized mooring service and is ready to hand the line to Willie.

We really enjoyed visiting with Colin again. After his stop at SYC, he finished the last leg of his trip home to Martha’s Vineyard.

Next on the list of OPBs (“Other People’s Boats,” remember?) is Alacrity, a Selene 46. We met Laurie and Peter in Hope Town on Elbow Cay on our first trip to the Bahamas. We continue to give them credit for solving the “what type of trawler would suit us best” problem – a sedan or Europa style similar to their Navigator, an Island Gypsy 36. As beloved as Navigator was, Laurie and Peter decided to make the move to a larger boat. They found Alacrity in Virginia and brought her home to Maine in late May, which meant that our paths would cross again here in Connecticut, in Stonington.

The Selene – what a boat!

Not only did we have a tour, but breakfast was included! Chef Peter in his awesome galley.

Al with Laurie and me in the salon, while Peter does the cooking.

Wishing them well and Bon Voyage! You can see the happiness all over their faces. 🙂

Next, and final, OPB for spring 2017 is Magic Moment, a Mariner Orient 38. In January,  there was a comment on the blog from someone in the process of purchasing a Mariner Orient 38 in Annapolis. Also sailors who were transitioning to a trawler, Joe and Ann had found our Kindred Spirit blog. Even better, they are from our area, just down Fishers Island Sound in Westerly. Al and Joe became email boating buddies as they traded information and ideas about their Mariners. This blog is primarily for us, not for any real or imagined audience; but it has proved to be an avenue for making new friends. We never expected that and what a delightful outcome it has been.

It took a while for us all to meet in person, but finally in late June, both boats were in Watch Hill at the same time!

Magic Moment coming towards us in the Napatree anchorage. Wow, that boat looks familiar.

Magic Moment and Kindred Spirit, Mariner Orient 38 raft up

Captain Al and Captain Joe

Ann and Joe on the bow of their Magic Moment. We know they will love their Mariner as much as we love ours.

After months of procrastinating, it feels good to finally get this blog post finished. It has been gurgling around in my head for a long time, but life just wasn’t giving me the time or inclination to sit down and pound it out.  Truthfully, this spring has been more challenging than usual.  At 91 years of age, my father’s health deteriorated this winter and we knew he would not be with us much longer. I made more frequent trips to spend time with him and my mother, and feel grateful that I was there to say good-bye in person to him on Easter Sunday. I miss him.

With my Dad  on the day I married Al, 23 years ago. Love you, Daddy.

Around that same time, Al was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which seemed to come out of the blue. After healing from the outpatient surgery, he began immunotherapy, 6 rounds, every Friday from June through the end of July. He tolerated it very well and feels ok (not like chemotherapy.) The doctor informed us that bladder cancer has a high rate of reoccurrence and Al will need to be monitored carefully, especially in the first year. The doctor also said “no” to another  8-months of cruising this year. That was the worst news to Al. We will beat this one, too.

Stay calm and carry on, as they say…. or…. Stay calm and sail on.

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