Hello everyone.* After a long hiatus from pursuit of the liveaboard "dream"*(divorce, kids to college, recession etc)*it's now time to re-focus and*create reality.* A little older,*hopefully wiser and certainly*with a*greater sense of urgency.**
The new woman in my life (Amy, can you still say "new" after 4 years) and I are*now officially both empty nesters.***With that event she is now paying a lot more attention to her physio-therapy patients when, after a debilitating stroke, they tell her*how they worked all their lives with the plan*that they would "see the world" AFTER they retired at 65.* But when that milestone was reached*they found themselves with physical problems that prevent the fulfillment of that life long goal.* Time to get serious about this while we still can is now her thinking and I agree.*
Back in the mid-90s I was an early subscriber to PMM, attended one of the first TrawlerFests and did 3 charters (can't believe this but my write-up on*one is still on the internet - http://www.his.com/~vann/KrgStuff/K42chrtr.htm
*- anyone know whatever happened to a Krogen 42 named Toucan?)
To put the dream back on track the first thing was to get Amy up to speed on trawlers in general and get her hooked.* She grew up*spending*summers at the cottage*so was always around boats but didn't know what a trawler was.* To fix that*I tried to piggyback an instructional day on the water around a*trip to see family*in*the PNW this summer.* Despite some great recommendations from*members of this board*I* just*couldn't find anyone offering that service in the Bellingham area.**Too bad.* Only close trawler encounter was*on a sea*kayak outing in Nanaimo BC ...we*slowed*to admire a good looking pilothouse in the marina and the proud owner stepped out*to educate us on his new Canadian-built North Pacific*43.* My dream boat (with almost affordable older models) has always been the DeFever 49 so this 43 got my attention.* *
Then fate stepped in and got us going.**It was*6 pm on Friday July 1 and we were trying to book a last-minute condo on the beach*in the Panama City area for the July 4th weekend.* Unbelievably in the worst recession in 50 years EVERYTHING was booked solid at any price.**
Frustrated but anxious to get away for the weekend I took a flyer and left a message for Capt'n Jerry Chitwood of Chitwood Charters in Sarasota.* Remarkably he called back at 7 pm, had a single engine GB 36 available and by 9 pm we were*packed and on the road for the 8 hour drive from Atlanta.* After a checkout Saturday morning and some practice backing a single into a narrow slip in the*tight little marina at the Hyatt we were "cruising" Sarasota Bay.**
What a perfect weekend - offshore*powerboat races (Amy loves those things) viewed from the flybridge 200 yards from*the first turn, incredible fireworks viewing anchored off the city's waterfront park, a little "offshore" cruise the length of Longboat Key, anchoring and swimming to*the beach*in Sarasota pass, an incredible squall followed by*a double rainbow*and just one minor stick in the mud at low tide in an anchorage.**Mission accomplished.* Amy caught the but and*is on-board the*dream express.*
Next up - read all the books, re-subscribe to PMM,*attend a*TrawlerFest, maybe PMU or an instructional charter.* However I must confess after having read David Lavigne's advice in "Island Hopping to the Caribbean" about how much easier it is financially to cruise when you own the boat outright, that I'm thinking a better use for the $6,000 fee for P101 and P102 courses*offered by Southwest Florida Yachts would be to put that cash towards the boat.* Yes? No?
Cheers and we look forward to learning so much from all of you who so graciously share your experiences and lessons in this online community.* Something is gained from every visit.
Ken Ferguson and Amy Griffith, Atlanta GA*