Road Trip HOME

…boat is there, we are here…

With our boat trucked to the Island Packet Yachts Refit program in Largo, FL, we hit the road to drive home! Lucky for us, we have great friends and family along the way home, so we leaned on them to take a break, enjoyed their kindness and hospitality, and began life on land in a BED, in a HOUSE, with unlimited water and power! WOW, we have been out of the “normal land life” for a bit and these simple aspects of living on land are a real treat.

One of the reasons we decided to move home was the fact that our terrific house sitter was moving out and our beautiful home would be available to us. We had moved out of our house two years ago and the thought of spending a SUMMER at home sounded great. This would be a first in 22 years, as we are usually sailing the Chesapeake or New England! So, off the boat we moved, rented a mini-van, and drove home! What a dream….six months living in our house!

Larry, Gerri, Radeen and Hayden

Along the way, we were so fortunate to have a lovely lunch near Charleston, SC, with fellow Island Packet Yacht owners, Larry and Gerri. owners of IP37 Galileo. It was so kind of them to go out of their way to intercept us on I-95 as we were passing by. This is the great aspect about our IP fleet of owners. We are so connected and we all love to meet up to share stories and visit.

Greg, Kate, Radeen and Hayden on the Beaufort waterfront

Our next stop was at our great friends and gracious hosts, Greg and Kate, who are located in the Beaufort, NC area. Arriving late at 9:30 pm, Kate presented us with hot chicken picatta, green beans, spaghetti and red wine! OMG. did we die and wake in HEAVEN? No, we were at Greg and Kate’s home!

After dinner, we moved into our beautiful massive bedroom suite on the second floor where we passed out on a king sized sleep number bed. That night, we did not even move. I awoke the next day in exactly the same position I feel asleep in. It was great to be in a home with endless water, power and light. We lounged around their beautiful home for a few days, enjoying great meals and loving their Doodles, Gracie and Lucy.

Even Radeen, who is not a great animal lover, enjoyed having Gracie climb up on her lap. Lucy and Gracie are Australian Doodles and they are really wonderful pets. each so different and very fun to play with, walk, and simply pet. If we ever get a dog, this would be the breed. They are lively, well-behaved and so very smart!

The van, loaded with stuff to move home


You will notice we were living out boxes in the mini van as there is no room for luggage while living on a sailboat. When we moved off the boat, we simply packed our clothes in liquor store boxes. This required going to the van for changes of clothes, shoes and socks, and simply trying to find our stuff. This was not part of the plan, but it was how it all worked out. Life on the road in a mini van is NOT for us, that we have learned. Living on a cruising sailboat?  Now that is EASY.













Here is a great photo of Kate and Radeen, enjoying a class of Champagne

There it is….the mini van leaving Snead Island Boat Works, loaded with stuff going home. We lived out of this van for 7 days as we meandered our way from Florida to Pennsylvania.
Life on the road….in a mini van….WHAT THE HECK are we doing?

After leaving Greg and Kate’s, we were driving right past our “DC COUSINS” in the Springfield, VA area, so we were excited to stop for a family visit. What a fantastic time to see everyone! We were blessed with the entire family gathering together – thank you to the young adults who came to see us, especially on a holiday weekend. It was great being introduced to the three newest members of the family, too. Thank you to Sherry and Paul and Diane and Tim for hosting us for a wonderful stay!
Here are some great photos of our DC FAMILY

Radeen, Baby Brea and her proud aunts, Heather and Allison

Hayden, Baby Brea, Aunt Heather and Aunt Allison
Radeen, Allison, and Sherry, who is Norah and Brea’s Grandmom
Brea’s big sister, Norah, with her mom, Kristin, and Radeen

 Thane Hayden with his Grandmom Diane and his Great Aunt Sherry

Diane and Thane Hayden (a family name used for many generations!)

Norah teaching school

Thane Hayden, Norah and Baby Brea…the next generations of cousins!

Paul, Radeen, Sherry and Hayden

The next day, we sadly departed the DC Cousins, excited to move back into our own house!

Saltbox 13….there it is…what a beautiful home. We designed and built this in 1984.
It is cozy and simple, with passive solar, and it is our very own design!

Radeen gives a “WE DID IT!” We moved HOME…..at least until Oct/Nov, when we set sail again

Welcome to the JUNK MAIL, a table full of mail

So….good bye to the cruising life for a break. Hello to land life for several months. We are so looking forward to this time where we can live in our home, relax, drive a car, have barbecues and share some dinners with the friends and family we have missed so much. We can also run all the water we want because WE HAVE A WELL with 38 gallons/minute capacity! This may spoil us, but I doubt it. We already miss the boating life a bit….the peace, the calm, and the friendships. We will return to that in late October, when we rebuild the boat after the factory refit is complete.

Radeen says goodbye to the Gulf of Mexico at Bradenton Beach

Trucking to Island Packet Yachts Refit Program

…there is our boat as nearly as big as an auto carrier…

Today we hauled the boat at Snead Island Boat Works and loaded it onto a Joule Yacht Transport Tractor Trailer. The truck driver drove it up to Largo Florida via route 75 then route 4 and 275 because the boat was too wide to truck across the Tampa Bay Skyway Bridge! This was really an exciting process and a relief after months of planning, emails, and this massive final week of offloading.

Now, Island Spirit, our 1994 IP-35, is back where she was designed and built! Imagine if you loved a classic car and you could send it back to the car manufacturer 20 years later and ask then to refurbish and upgrade the car to modern standards. If you can imagine that, then you have an idea of the excitement we are experiencing!

Many IP owners do not know that the factory has started an extensive refit program. If you are interested in this program, please contact the Vice President of IPY, Bill Bolin, for your refit needs. See this page for the email link.

Here are photos of the delivery process….

At 0830 am, we moved the boat into the haul out slings

Terry is driving the lift via a remote control which gives a better visibility

The travel lift is driven over the special yacht hauling trailer

I wore my HOPE TOWN shirt…hoping that next year, we will sail her back to HOPE TOWN

That is an IP-35 (39′ 6″ plus 5′ dinghy davits) on a 53′ yacht transport trailer

We followed the truck onto the road…the dinghy davits are hitting the trees!

Notice the width of the yacht, 12 feet on the road

Driver takes route 4 to Tampa because the boat will not fit the Skyway Bridge

Several times, it looked like she would clip the bridges, but she was just close…..maybe a foot

Next we took route 275 where they were doing road shoulder work 

SAFE ARRIVAL at 1979 Wild Acres Road, Largo, Florida
The Island Packet Yachts Facility

The truck driver did a GREAT JOB, here is his co-pilot and navigator

Island Spirit is backed into “Assembly Building #5” where she will live for 5-6 months!

Great Friends and IP 420 owners of TRUE NORTH, rented a car and met us at the factory!
Hayden, Debi (aka BLONDIE) Dennis, Radeen and Bill Bolin
Photo Credit: Captain Horace, friend and frequent crew on TRUE NORTH 

Hayden and Radeen turn their yacht over to good friend and VP Bill Bolin
Mission Completed…..we DID IT…..we trucked our yacht back to the factory for Refit !

Now, it is time to refine the work order list and the scope of jobs for our factory refit. We will take the summer off from boating and drive home to our house in PA.  In late Oct or early Nov, we will truck the boat back to the water for our third winter exploring the Bahamas.

Thank you Bill Bolin and Island Packet Yachts for creating the factory refit program!

Email your REFIT needs to the Factory
See this page for the email link

Pull the Mast final prep for Island Packet Yachts Refit

…there she is empty and with no mast…

This has been a monumental task, requiring 8 days with two of us working all day off loading our 35 foot Island Packet Yacht. We thought we had a fairly empty boat, and when people visited our boat, they always asked “Where is all your stuff?” and we would say, we really don’t have that much stuff. …. WRONG on THAT….we have tons of stuff loaded on this boat, or at least we HAD tons of stuff. It is all now in a 5′ x 4′ climate controlled storage space. Now we know exactly what we have and how much of it there is.

5′ x 4′ storage, filled

I challenge anyone who lives aboard their cruising sailboat to try to empty it. You will be amazed at how much you have stored. We are now at 24 boxes plus items in bags, plus a mini van full. But then again, this is our home, we have lived here for the past two years. Imagine if you could store your home in a 5′ x 4′ closet…if you could, then you really don’t have that much stuff.

Steve, the yard manager rigs the crane lifting point

After 5 days of work, we were ready to have the mast pulled. We wanted to pull the mast as it has been 11 years since she was last removed and inspected. The Snead Island Boat Work employees had the mast off in 45 minutes and taken to their storage yard. While there, we will rewire the lights and install new standing rigging and replace the sheaves. We plan to rebuild the boat in November after her factory refit.

Craig, Debbie, Radeen and Hayden visit at Pier 22, Bradenton

The most fun aspect is that we are near our great friends, Debbie and Craig, so we were able to have dinner with them for one more visit before we follow the boat on the truck to the factory.

Here are some random photos of the mast removal and our preparation.
We rentedI a mini van and it is filling up with stuff to go home, like our clothes, etc.
First step, we removed the mast collar at the deck and accessed the pin

Below the base of the mast, I disconnected all the wiring runs in their junction boxes

All the electrical wires were pulled from the side of the mast below the floor

A crane mounted on a truck lifted our 50 foot mast up and out, while Terry guided the bottom

Once lifted clear of the boat, the crane swings the mast to the ground cart

The yard workers help to guide the mast onto the cart as the crane operator lowerd it

There it is, our sailboat mast on the cart, ready to be wheeled to storage

Next job….wash all bedding and towels and store in sealed bags for November
Dinner…nothing left but a sip of Stoli

Island Spirit on the bulkhead at Snead Island Boat Works….ready for the truck with no mast

Impressive Florida clouds billowing late in the afternoon 
Next adventure…..load our 17,500+ lb boat onto a tractor trailer and drive it 34 miles north to Largo, FL, and then off load her into a building at the Island Packet Yachts facilities. The factory refit program will make her like new. More on that later!

De-Rigging for Island Packet Yachts Reft Program

…this is what a sail locker can hold…

It has now been 4 days of work de-rigging our boat and we are amazed at the amount of stuff we have moved into our 5′ x 4′ storage unit…10 boxes and about 5 large garbage bags of lines, life jackets and gear. We have made 6 runs with the mini van to storage and now are down to pulling the mast and boom. On Wednesday, May 22, we are trucking to Largo returning our yacht to the Island Packet Yachts facility where she was built in 1994!

A van full of dock lines and life jackets

With nearly 20 years of continuous use and 25,000 nautical miles on her ship’s log, we feel it is time to have the factory give her a SPA treatment. We also have not had the mast pulled since 2002, so we will rework the mast with new standing rigging and wiring and a full inspection. The factory recommends that owners have their structural chain plates replaced after 15 years. The chain plates are the point of steel where the mast rigging connects to the deck. These are fiberglassed to the interior structure of the hull. We feel that no one is better skilled than the Island Packet Yachts team for replacing and rebuilding this integral part of the yacht. That is the key reason we are trucking her back to the factory.

We live here….while we are packing up…this is our HOME

Here is a current SHORT list for our refit

  • Replace chain plates
  • Replace all hoses
  • Inspect all thru hull fittings
  • Replace exhaust hose and muffler
  • Replace coolant vented loop
  • Replace the water heater
  • Replace the stern tube and add dripless packing system
  • Inspect and fix all grounding wires
  • Inspect all wiring runs and wiring fittings
Optional Items to think about…..oh boy…..now we are going overboard!
  • New corian counter tops
  • New fiberglass water tank
  • New fiberglass holding tank
  • New sewer lines and toilet
  • New overhead hatches and screens
  • Varnish the interior
  • New swim platform
  • New companionway ladder, stainless steel
Van full of seats, boxes and cockpit cushions
OK, we need to STOP…..this Island Packet Refit program can really get carried away. Yes, they originally built this yacht, 20 years ago, but we do not need to fully rebuild it again! We really are trying to just focus on systems that are worn out or hoses and fittings that could sink the boat if they would fail. We are also looking at items that, once in the factory, would be a good item to upgrade or refit. After all, it is a monumental task trucking your boat back to the factory, so, we might as well make it as good as it can be.
When you look at the cost to move up to the next model, for us, that would be the Island Packet 40 foot model. The cost to move from our 35 footer to the 40 footer would be $75,000 more than our yacht. Then you have the sales tax of 5%. Then you have the yacht broker’s cost of 10%. For all this cost, we get nearly the same boat, with a second head and about 5 feet longer. A 40 footer will NOT take us anywhere our 35 footer can’t take us. So, we have decided to keep this 35 footer as our last cruising sailboat and refit her so she is good for the next ten years of sailing. That is our plan.
Here are some photos of this crazy work known as “de-rigging”

Hayden in the 5 x 4 climate controlled storage space

The first 6 boxes, tools, spare parts, safety locker and cushions
The whisker pole and battens do NOT fit in a mini van at 10 feet long
At Snead Island Boat Works, we can park the van next to the boat
This is a 4 panel solar array on top of a fixed bimini….it must come off for clearing bridges while on the road
Canvas off and panel one off, 3 more to go
All solar GONE….next, remove the SSB antenna and stainless steel frame
Stainless steel frame off and solar panels on the ground
Solar panels safely in storage along with snorkel gear and grill!
Whisker pole, canvas, sunshades, battens, dinghy gear….so glad to have a 16 ft. high storage unit!

Really crazy when you think about taking apart your “home” and placing it on a truck to send it back to the people who built it. This is the Island Packet Yachts Factory Refit Program and we are taking full advantage of upgrading our wonderful “home” ……today……pull the mast and boom….

Prep for Island Packet Yachts Refit Program

We have decided to send our yacht back the Island Packet Yachts Factory in Largo, Florida, where she was built 20 years ago! We will have the factory upgrade her and refit her with newer fittings and better systems. But first, how we got here…

Our last days on anchor for this second year of full time cruising were in Sarasota Bay and then at De Soto National Memorial. While in Sarasota, we spent another great night with good friends, Debbie and Craig.

Then we moved on, as scheduled, to Palmetto where we planned to prep for trucking to the factory. That is right, we will be hauling out our boat onto a tractor trailer which will then drive it over the highway 34 miles to the factory. This is no small feat, but first we need to prep it for trucking. That will be another blog post…

So, off we went from Sarasota Bay to ….HELLO TAMPA BAY with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge off in the distance.
We then anchored in the Manatee River off De Soto National Memorial site and explored the visitors center and trails. De Soto was CRAZY as his quest to find GOLD had him land here and walk to GA, SC, NC, AK, then to TX and eventually bail out down the Mississippi to the Gulf and then to Mexico. Along the way, he and his men were killing anyone and everyone that got in their way searching for Gold. This beach is where some historians think he first landed in Florida. 

That is Island Spirit right off the beach, enjoying our last night at anchor. Moving off your boat…IN MAY….seems odd, but that is what we are doing…
While here, we popped our last bottle of Champagne to celebrate our wonderful year aboard. We went from Rock Hall, MD to Long Island, Exumas, to Abacos to Florida to Lake Okeechobee to here on the Manatee River. What a great year it has been!
Yes, we may have gotten a little HAPPY that night, as champagne hits us hard 🙂
The next day, the work began. We moved to the docks at SNEAD ISLAND BOAT WORKS where we began to tear down the boat. Notice all the sails and canvas and dinghy, etc., are in place. 
It all has to GO!
We boxed all the lockers: Tools, Spare Parts, Safety Locker, etc…This took about 6 boxes.
This is the van loaded for trip #1, boxes and cushions and seats. Off to storage.

We always flake our sails on the deck, just like you would have to do if you were at sea. This is a good skill to learn, plus the sails do not get grass or dirt on them as when done on shore.

All boxes were hoisted to the deck then offloaded to the ground then loaded into the van and driven to the storage unit, a climate controlled unit that is!
This is what your boat looks like when you empty the SAIL LOCKER into the cock pit. WOW, that locker really holds a lot of stuff. All empty, since the factory guys will need to work in this locker.

This is the van with all the dock lines, 10 life jackets, water jugs, fuel jugs, etc! This is load #2 to the storage unit. We rented a 4 x 5 space for all this gear.
We knocked it out on Day One and busted our tails. Look, all sails, and the canvas enclosure are off. All sheets, lines and the stack pack are also off!

Tomorrow, we have a surveyor arriving at 0900 to give us a condition and value survey and to point out any and all items that should be addressed by the factory refit team. This also was needed as we will be picking up a Florida Insurance policy since we will, this year, be in Florida DURING hurricane season which is June to November.
After this, we have the dinghy to derig and the mast to pull, then the yacht will be hauled and power washed and placed onto the truck. We truck out on May 22. Wish us continued good luck!

Sarasota Florida

Good friends, Debbie and Craig met us at Marina Jack’s
IP440 CHARMED former IPY owners

I may begin to sound like a broken record, but…..THIS PLACE (Sarasota, FL)  IS GREAT! We really like this town and the waterfront facilities. Sarasota has worked hard to create a beautiful waterfront center based around Marina Jack’s and O’Leary’s. Up the hill from the waterfront, you will find a really vibrant main street with cafes, pubs, investment houses, salons, Whole Foods, library, public transit hub and more. Radeen and I always say that if we move anywhere, then the town must have a nice town center and a massive modern library.

The Selby Public Library of Sarasota

Ever since we earned our new master’s degrees online via Drexel University, I gained a new love of and respect for public libraries. We worked on these degrees from the boat, as we traveled up the AICW in the spring of 2008. Along the way, we spent many full days in public libraries from Vero Beach, FL to Rock Hall, MD. We really enjoy spending time in nice public libraries and Sarasota has built one of the best.

The Mooring field and the no anchor area, Sarasota, Fl

Sarasota has also worked hard at ridding the harbor of derelict boats that ruin a waterfront. To accomplish this, they have installed a large mooring field (phase 1 now) and they have marked off a no anchoring section in the rest of the harbor. The remaining area for anchoring is far away and is in 4 foot to 7 foot water depths. If you ARE anchored, you have a very rocky shore line for landing the dinghy.You are not allowed to dock at their dinghy dock because you are NOT on their moorings!

So there are a few challenges to the cruising boater if you want to anchor. If you move in and take a transient mooring, of which there are only four, then you are directly up against the high speed channel leading boats into Marina Jack’s. The obvious solution to this, is to move the NO WAKE ZONE out beyond the mooring field.

Town Center and the Whole Foods Market

Overall, Sarasota is really a great town, even with these small cruising challenges. Marina Jack’s is a top notch facility with a beautiful waterfront restaurant.

I can see spending much more time exploring and learning about the Sarasota area…..

…Sarasota Dolphins and Water Fountain…
Our view from Mooring Ball #1 with Jack’s Marina and Island Park off our stern
Jack’s with the Dolphin Sculpture and Water fountain
Those palm trees are on the BOAT….a big tour boat
The No Wake Zone needs to be expanded! 
Where we anchored in the center of the harbor, before we were asked to move
Radeen handled this officer’s notification of our anchoring error FAR BETTER than I would have.
I was working in the bilge on B&G wiring issues….
So, we have had a wonderful and a diverse time here in Sarasota. We have really enjoyed the town, the waterfront, and most of all, visiting our friends Debbie and Craig, whom we will continue to see as we move on 20 nautical miles to Bradenton and Snead Island Boat Works…

Cabbage to Sarasota

We motor-sailed 52 miles from Cabbage Key to Sarasota, Florida, by going out Boca Grand Inlet to the Gulf of Mexico and then back into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at Venice Inlet. The Waterway above Venice is interesting and easy, so this was a great section to enjoy. The homes along the waterway here are beautiful and some are almost “New Englandish” looking with peaked roofs, cedar shakes and colonial style shutters.

Along the way, we had a tiny green bird take a break from flying the ocean. He landed on the dinghy and then walked all around our deck. Once he saw land near Venice, he took off. It was nice to give this bird a much needed break 4-5 miles offshore!

It was a surprise to find an unusual type of swing bridge at Blackbyrn Bay, where the bridge tender must walk out onto the bridge to operate it! In the photo below. look for the bridge tender wearing her bright yellow and orange safety vest. During the opening or swing, the bridge tender is actually “stuck” in the middle of the bridge while running the controls. Very interesting to see this for only the second time in all the bascule bridges we have traveled.

We reached Sarasota after a 10 hour motor sail and dropped the hook near several other sailboats in what we thought was the approved anchorage area of Sarasota Bay. Well, the next day, we were visited by the marine police in a very large boat with twin 300 hp motors. The officer was wearing a different kind of vest – a bullet proof one! We were told, very politely, that we needed to move because were were encroaching on the mooring field. WHAT? So, we moved to the other side of the anchorage area, which is further away from the fast fishing boats. All in all….Sarasota is a beautiful location and a great place to visit….

Time to explore Sarasota and spend time with our good friends Debbie and Craig. Then it will be one final push up to Bradenton, Fl where we will take a dock at SNEAD ISLAND BOAT WORKS.

Video Port Mayaca Railroad Bridge

Here are 360 GoPro still photos turned into a 2 minute video. This video represents 30+ minutes of time as we passed under the Port Mayaca 49 foot railroad bridge and entered into the lock and then out onto Lake Okeechobee. We hoisted the GoPro camera up a halyard and set it to take a photo every 5 seconds. These photos were then imported into Movie Maker and played at 0.25 seconds each. A title and credits and a song were added and here it is….enjoy…

To Watch the video on YouTube, use this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnpfGiuZgY

Onward to Sarasota and Bradenton…..next

Okeechobee Waterway…Check

…Map of the Okeechobee Waterway by the US Army Corp of Engineers…
Click on image to enlarge
Source: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/cameras.htm

Three days, 134 miles, 6 bascule (opening) road bridges, 5 bascule railroad bridges and 5 locks…… we DID IT! Day 1: Stuart to Indiantown; Day 2: Indiantown to Moore Haven; Day 3: Moore Haven to Ft. Myers. These photos are in chronological order, showing the images from our path as we motored through man-made canals, several rivers and two lakes.

The Okeechobee Waterway consists of the St. Lucie River, the St. Lucie Canal, Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Canal, Lake Hicpochee, more of the Caloosahatchee Canal and then the Caloosahatchee River, ending just beyond Ft. Myers at the Sanibel Causeway Bridge.

Would we run this route again? We might run it again. We do prefer being at sea and SAILING over motoring, but this was a really fun trip and we may use this waterway to return.

Locked Up St Lucie

…Radeen the Island Spirit Lockmaster…..

After the RAINS finally stopped in Stuart, Fl (Tue, Wed, Thur) we were able to move on to the St. Lucie Lock and access the St. Lucie Canal, where were were lifted up 14 feet in preparation for crossing Lake Okeechobee. But first the rains. It rained, and we had thunderstorms and we waited, because we did not want to get into a narrow waterway, and then have to deal with a storm, or hail, or high winds with no place to anchor or dock. So, we simply enjoyed Stuart, Florida, and had a nice relaxing time. We were delighted to be found by John and Honey, previous owners of our IP 27 Cinnamon. Through them, we were lucky to meet John and Julie, owners of the famed IP 485 Island Chariot. We had a great time meeting and connecting with other IP owners and their friends. They all seem to enjoy their self-described status – Stuck in Stuart!  It IS a great town!

Here is a great photo of the rain as it is finally leaving the area and the sun is setting out our galley porthole…

As we progressed into the canal, we came upon a new bridge being built over the waterway.
 Look at the scale of this crane and the workers on the bridge surface!

Next we had the joy of crossing UNDER I-95, you know, the crazy interstate that runs the entire East Coast of USA. We have driven this many times to Florida,
but it is far better to drive UNDER it on your boat.

Here is the view looking up at I-95 from the St. Lucie Canal. Very cool!

Welcome to the Army Corp of Engineering project, the St. Lucie Lock. In this photo, you are looking into the lock and those far doors are holding back the entire canal which is 14 higher. 

Once inside the lock chamber, the lockmaster tosses his lines down from above while you hold your boat up against the lock wall. Your own fenders are in place to keep you off the lock wall and from taking any damage as the water rushes in. 

 Radeen is such a great boating girl. Here she is as we prepare to exit the St. Lucie Lock.

All locks have signs listing the distances to the next point of interest. We are headed to the Port Mayaca Lock which will take us into Lake Okeechobee and across to Clewiston.

There are plenty of cows along the canal. They are usually above you as the sides of the canal are raised with a slight berm.

The Railroads are big in Florida! This swing railroad bridge had to open for us to pass by. After passing the bridge, is rotated back into position so trains can cross the canal.

Tight fit between a railroad bridge because the bridges have to be strong to support a fully loaded train so the spans are kept small. This railroad swing bridge is similar to the one we pass in Cape May, NJ. 

The greatest challenge of the Okeechobee Waterway is the Port Mayaca Railroad Lift Bridge, with a published clearance of 49 ft. Today, it is 49.35 ft. Monday it was 50.99 ft, but there has been a lot of rain since then. The final study of our masthead looks like this:  Our yacht is reported to have a 48 foot mast height off the water. That is real close. But then we have added items to the top of the mast. wind machine, a TV antenna and a tall, but flexible VHF antenna.We are still good to go! Here is our latest masthead summary….
——————–THE LATEST BRIDGE REPORT–—————–
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Lake Okeechobee and Navigation Depth Report
Data Ending 2400 hours 02 MAY 2013    
Today’s Lake Okeechobee Stage =  13.53 (Feet-NGVD29)
Today’s Route 1 Navigational Depth ≈  7.47 Feet
Today’s Route 2 Navigational Depth ≈   5.67 Feet
Bridge Clearance = 49.35 Feet
S-308 Tailwater Elevation = 14.15   (Feet-NGVD29)   
Report Generated 03MAY2013 @ 15:38  ** Preliminary Data – Subject to Revision **
————————————————————————————
so….
Today, we are docked at Indiantown Marina, about 9 miles before this Railroad bridge. We plan to get under this bridge tomorrow AM and cross Lake Okeechobee. If we have to heel the boat over, then we will hang the 185 lb AB dinghy and motor off a halyard to lean the boat over a little bit…..some how….some way….we will get under this and onto Lake Okeechobee…..