Off to Miami

Off to Miami!

Of course, a cruise ship passes us as we sail in.

We never leave Florida and go to the Bahamas without first spending time sailing Biscayne Bay and enjoying “The Grove” and Miami Beach! I have said many times that Biscayne Bay is the second-best sailing and cruising area on the entire USA East coast after Block Island Sound which to us is #1. So, after departing Stuart Florida, our first destination is always Miami. Many people pass right on by this dream sailing area on their race for Marathon Key or Key West.  We love boating around this area! Upon arrival at Government Cut we were met with a cruise ship heading out. But first our route…

Stuart to West Palm

We ran down the ICW inside on the waterway from Stuart to Peck Lake, to Hobe Sound to West Palm Beach where we always head south one bridge past the inlet and anchor between the bridges. West Palm Beach is a dream spot to anchor, except for the reversing current and some boat traffic. We spent a few days here and enjoyed the famous ROCCO TACOS. 

Queue Up to Depart for Miami

We left the town and moved up to the Lake Worth inlet where we anchored just inside the inlet and to the south. This spot is perfect for heading out the inlet at 0500, which is zero-dark-hundred. Being anchored here makes it so much easier to simply get up, brew some coffee and up anchor and set your main sail to a double reefed main and go. This Lake Worth Inlet is short and very easy to navigate. This was a first-time run of the inlet for our buddy boat, 35 JUST DUCKY and it was simple. Still very nerve-racking when you have never done this, but it was a great day.

0500 the view out the galley port

Before nightfall, Steve Job’s yacht motored on by with a route to the Bahamas as the weather was fantastic.  We were planning a direct run to Miami where we could wait for the next weather window to cross on the FULL MOON on March 7th, 2023.

Our Buddy Boat, 35 JUST DUCKY with Steve Job’s Yacht, Lake Worth Inlet

The OFFSHORE run to Miami

Heading out to sea at 0500 it is DARK, and there was no horizon except for the city lights to the shore to the west. That was comforting as we simply headed out the inlet and, at the 35-40 foot water depth past the jetty, we turned south and pointed towards south Florida.  Within an hour and a half,  0630 the sun rose and we had a spectacular day of motor sailing down the coast.

Sunrise is always a joy at sea. This one was great as well.

Hello South Florida

By keeping the beach to starboard and staying close in the 30-40 foot or less water depth, we avoided a south-flowing counter current to the north-flowing Gulfstream and picked up 1/2 a knot of speed closer to shore.

Motor Sailing because the winds were calm, 5-8 knots

Hello MIAMI Inlet, (Government Cut)

Arriving at the inlet we were early with the ebb tide coming out and the east winds blowing in so you know about wind against current. YUP, it was crazy rough going in. Then add to this the insane 50-60 foot sport fishing boats doing 30knots as they pass you on port then another on starboard and they hit your beam with their 4 foot waves, your boat is going midship cleat to midship cleat water to water. Plus all items below deck have now hit the cabin sole and your boat is trashed. Yup, welcome to Miami. Oh yes, add in a cruise ship and this is typical.

Cruise Ship coming out as we are going in

South Beach Hotels and condos as we navigate the inlet

Fishermans Channel to the left

You are not allowed to enter the main channel due to the cruise ships, so you have to turn into Fishermans Channel to the south. This takes you by all the container ships and their cranes busy loading and offloading the containers. Look at the size of these ships!!!!

Miami in the distance as we pass the container ship terminal
19 across and 10 high, that is ON TOP of the deck. There are more below the deck. These are tractor-trailer boxes, and containers. It is how all imports arrive in the USA!!! No, we do not own a single ship. We just allow them to use our many ports in USA. ????

Biscayne Bay Fun #1 BOCA CHITA

With our first anchorage off Virginia Cay and watching the Miami City lights come on, it was a very peaceful night. After a few yacht services at Crandon and a tour of Dinner Key, it was off to Boca Chita for a night. Linda and Mahlon wanted to see this island, part of Key Biscayne National Park and the beautiful building that is NOT a lighthouse. It is a simulated lighthouse built by Honeywell because he could.  Lucky for us a park ranger/tour guide was there and we all got to climb up the lighthouse and take a tour. We really enjoyed our time at Boca Chita.

Hayden, Radeen, Mahlon, Linda atop Boca Chita Lighthouse
Our two Island Packet 35s at the Boca Chita park

Our hero sails by, Jeffrey and family

While we were running south for Boca Chita, our dear friend Jeffrey Cardenas and his family were sailing south to Key West on their new catamaran! So, we all decided to meet up at Boca Chita and enjoy a bottle of bubbly to celebrate their new yacht. We followed Jeffrey for the past few years as he solo circumnavigated the globe on his Island Packet 460 named FLYING FISH! We first met him in person a year ago in St. Croix.  His blog is a fascinating and a wonderful read. Jeffry is the best of the best writers. Please see his worldwide stories here

Flying Fish Sail

Hayden, Jeffrey, Ginny, Radeen, Mahlon, Lilly and Linda. This is a lifetime photo here. What are the chances of this?

Good Bye Boca Chita, you are one special place

Sailing out of Boca Chita, I am reminded of the many, many fun times we have shared with great friends here. Thank you, Honeywell. Thank you, National Park Service.

Next….Miami Beach…OH NO!

From here, we sailed back up to Dinner Key where we enjoyed “THE GROVE” and then…..oh yes….then we moved over to Miami Beach. Well, that is the subject of the next post update, as I try to catch up on this blog……

Meanwhile, please see my menu link for all the great places to explore in the Biscayne Bay area.

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Update from Stuart FL

We have been here in Stuart Florida since Nov 14, 2022, and as we have always posted and said: “This is the BEST Place in the USA to winter your boat!” So here we have been here for nearly three months! We have no complaints.

svIslandSpirit on mooring ball #20 at Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL.

What have we been doing?

That is a very good question, and the answer is, simply living on our boat in one of our favorite towns and upgrading and working on yacht systems. We had thought that all of the refit work we did this past summer in Rock Hall, MD, would have made our boat totally ready for her 5th winter in the Caribbean. Our destination was Bonaire this year, but with a busted KBW10 transmission, we lost a good month or more just with that issue

When you rip out your transmission and it is on the counter….not good.

So, let’s work on da boat!

With the transmission ripped out and sent back to Schooner Bay Marina for Alfred Holzer to review why his repair in June failed, we decided to focus on what else we could rip out. Ha Ha. Well, that led us to…..why not the sewer hoses, as we have not ripped them out in 7-8 years. Oh, that sounds like fun, yea, let’s take the Dremel tool and cut the sewer hoses out. Well, we did, and it took us 6-8 hours, one day only and we had all new sewer hoses and a new head. Now that was a quick turnaround.

New vented loop installed into the head cabinet.
Radeen and the 30 feet of new $$$ odor safe head hoses. KaChing

Well that was fun, what next?

Once the head and sewer were rebuilt and all brand new we decided to look into the water heater which was rusty and leaking. Nothing lasts in the saltwater, salty air of the yachting world. This water heater was installed in 2013 by the Island Packet factory when we gave them our yacht to explore the brilliant idea of creating the Island Packet Yacht Refit program. Well, after 6 months and a full refit yacht, the IPY factory said, NO THANKS, and shortly thereafter they went out of business.  Next, I present the idea of the IPY Refit program to Colin Mack, and being a smart businessman, he decided to go after the work. Today, 2023, I bought my new water heater from Colin because he has now built the ULTIMATE Island Packet Yacht service company. Every Island Packet Owner can no benefit from his work.

Radeen and her new water heater gift delivered by Colin…. also notice those new block!!!

So, with a newly delivered water heater, we went after that job and now we have a new system there:

Why Stop???

With the transmission still not back, and with it getting lost in the mega snowstorm over Christmas, I decided to take Colin Mack up on his new upgraded deck hardware. YUP, we bought all new deck hardware and removed our old 1994 blocks, and installed all new MYS blocks which are made by Garhaurar Marine custom for Mack Yacht Services. This Island Packet Yachts Refit program really seems to be a great idea I outlined back in 2013.  Colin was smart enough to take it up when the IPY factory said no. Great job Colin! Check out these new custom blocks.

Bling Bling $,$$$ new deck hardware for the yacht.

Who wants White sails? I do!

Again, since we were not going anywhere, we dropped the jib and the staysail and sent them over to Mack Sails for upgraded WHITE sun covers. I really do not like the color on the sails, we had blue for many years. I prefer white sun covers, so we had them changed up to white. I know, the white will not last as long as the blue, but I like white sails and so now we are back to all white. Thank you Travis.

White sails, Jib and Staysail now match the code zero.

We test sail the transmission!

Well, the transmission was found lost in a trucking center in Michigan, and it finally made it back to us at the end of December. It took me 3 hours to reinstall the transmission. I then hired Simply Yachts #1 mechanic Chris, to do an engine alignment, and off we went for a test sail.  On  Jan 1, Team Island Spirit was back on the launch pad ready to make her run for the Caribbean Sea…

All systems check out, and the transmission is back up and running.
Radeen is one happy sailor girl. She love to travel and she loves to sail….

Wait, did I tell you about the welded lifelines?

While waiting for the transmission in Nov Dec, we decided to hire the most creative and artistic metal fabricator and welder in the Stuart area. Alexander and his team replaced our top and bottom lifelines around the cockpit with custom hull-matching curved solid stainless steel bars. WOW, I never expected these to be curved to match the hull shape, and he said if they are straight, they do not look as good. Well, he is right. These curved hull matching bars are a work of art, and he is very proud of his work. We are thrilled and we love the added safety of these bars around the cockpit. Look at this work!

Top and bottom lifelines replaced with solid curved welded bars.
Alexander and his team are true artists, and I really admire their work

Did someone say STARLINK?

Well ok then, let’s add StarLink satellite high-speed internet to the boat.  Elon Muck and his company SpaceX have been launching 2 rockets a week with 55 satellites on each launch for a long time now. He has placed these Starlink low earth orbit satellites to provide internet around the world. Well, guess what? It really works and it works very well. It is not cheap, as the antenna and router cost $700 and the mobile RV service is $135/month. The RV version allows you to relocate and move to a new location.  Reports are that this works down the island and nearly everywhere, so we will give it a test run this March and April. We installed this into a standard fishing rod holder and clamped that onto the bimini frame. The power consumption is about 4 amps 12v, but it runs on 120-volt AC, so we have to run the inverter to power the outlets. 

Our Starlink antenna is mounted over the side of the Bimini. I plan to move to an aft location to prevent it from overlapping the solar panel.

So, here we are….on the launch pad

With all systems upgraded yet again, and with some new systems, we are once again on the launch pad and will be heading out soon. We always like to move to Miami and sail Biscayne Bay testing all systems.  There we will also fire up the Spectra watermaker and get that system running before sailing over to the Exumas. We plan to simply sail the Exumas this remaining season and then for a new process, we will store the yacht in-water at Brunswick Landing Marina, May 15-Nov 15. When we return we will set sail ASAP and as fast as we can to return to our Caribbean challenge. For now, Sunset Bay Marina is a dream stop.

Sunset Bay Marina, is our favorite winter home in the USA.

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West Palm Beach Aground then onto Miami

We made ourselves leave Stuart, Florida, and that is a very difficult task to do! Down the ICW we went for two days to West Palm Beach, Florida. The ICW is a real dream as it is calm, easy, and very safe. Our first night we dropped the anchor where we usually do, at the south end of Hobe Sound right off Tiger Woods’ home. No call from Tiger, so we did not stop in. We simply enjoyed our first night on anchor since Nov 15th and it was now Jan 10th! Our boat was running great, which is always a concern after a yacht sits because the best thing for any boat is to keep it moving and to push it hard.  Island Spirit was back in action with all systems running well.

Hobe Sound, near Jupiter, Florida is a dream location

Arriving West Palm Beach, the 1%er area

We are always amazed at the enormous wealth of so many people as we arrive in the West Palm Beach area. Massive waterfront homes have even larger yachts that block the view from the house. These houses are probably second or third homes. The owners might only be here a few weeks a year. The rest of the time, the landscapers and property manager all take care of the estate.

Aviva – Yacht Length: 98 (323 ft) – Guests: 16 in 8 cabins (est) – Crew: 25 in 11 cabins (est) – Yacht Value: US$ 150 million: Joe Lewis a UK Billionaire with 200 companies!
Typical winter home with a little fishing boat.
Steve Wynn’s Yacht Name: Aquarius – Yacht Length: 92 m (302 ft) – Guests: 14 in 7 cabins (est.) – Crew: 30 in 15 cabins (est.) – Feadship – 2016 – Yacht Value: US$ 215 million

Yup, that is how the Billionaires roll with mega yachts, massive homes, tax write-offs, and wealth that they can’t even begin to spend.  Steve Wynn is worth 3 billion dollars and his yacht only cost him 215 million dollars. So let’s move some decimals around. $3,000,000,000 vs $215,000,000, what is that like to a normal person? Take off 5 zeros and you have $30,000 vs $2,150. So a person worth $30K buys a used car for $2K.  Or a person worth $300K buys a $21K car. NOT a big deal, right? It is all numbers. The super-rich should have much bigger toys, don’t you think?

Anchored in West Palm Beach, FL

We stopped in West Palm to hire a diver who would clean our prop and bottom before sailing off to Miami and then to the Bahamas. We had been sitting in Stuart for 2 months, so we expected the bottom to be dirty. The public dock at WPB is perfect for this. The diver walked down the dock, jumped in and an hour later he was finished. We left the dock to anchor out. What a great public day dock this is.

Waiting on the WPB dock for the diver, what a great town!

Martha and Robert connect

Boat Buddies from Massachusetts spend the winter in WPB and they drove over to the harbor to visit with us for the evening. Martha and Robert sail Island Packet 420 ENTROPY. Professor Rose is a Materials and Engineering Science expert at MIT. What an interesting couple and what lively conversations we always have, whenever and wherever we connect.

Martha and Robert Rose. Emeritus Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

OH NO, We Found the OYSTER BAY

We were anchored a few days in West Palm with the winds blowing from the east the entire time. Of course, we were waiting for the front to arrive so we could sail south on the new wind from the Northwest. Well, that wind shift combined perfectly with the morning tidal change and poor Island Spirit spun 180 degrees around on her anchor and was pushed aground onto the well known OYSTER BAR. This shallow area is right off the Henry Flagler Museum home that we toured the day before and now we were nearly inside the building. This was the oddest experience as it was 0600 with the engine running, ready to pull up anchor and head out. Depth was showing 7 feet. Then all of a sudden, the new winds arrived and we swung 180 degrees on our anchor and onto this bar. When 20,000 lbs are moving sideways and slide onto a ledge that is sloped perfectly to let the boat lay over, it all happens very quickly. I nearly fell off as I was standing on the deck, wiping down the windshield and next we were leaning over 45 degrees. The side deck was nearly in the water. Here are a few photos.

On the WPB Oyster Bar in front of the Flagler Home
There was no way we were getting off of this until the tide came back up
Radeen on the side watching the tow boat

TowBoatUS to the rescue

We have paid for unlimited towing with TowBoat US for 18 years. This is the second time we have called for a tow. They knew the spot well, they told us to wait for the tide, but they would come out and see what they could do. With 600 hp they tried to budge us, but we would not move. Good thing as we were on hard surfaces. So they hooked up to our bow and they ran the engines “dredging” us out as the prop wash pushed material away from our bow. With my 55 lb Rocna and our strong Lofrans windlass, we tried to kedge and be pulled free. Not working. So, we agreed to simply wait. Deep water was 15 feet in front of us, 1/2 a boat length, but 20,000 lbs was aground. So we waited.

TowBoat US arrives on the scene, he knows this spot well
He hooked us and tried to budge us, but decided his best bet was to dredge and blow material away. They came back in 2 hrs and then pulled us off. Great job!

How did this happen?

We had East winds for days and all was fine, with the boat west of her anchor. That morning, new NW winds came in so the boat swung to the EAST and laid right up onto the bar. Now I see and it all makes sense to me.  Mitzi and Alane of the IP38 formerly named Holiday met us on the dock and warned us about that area, but we thought we were fine. The frustrating aspect is a local boat knew this would happen and said nothing UNTIL we were on the bar, THEN they dinghied over and said, “we wanted to warn you…but….” Oh well!

This is how wind and current swung us onto the bar

Free at Last, Off to Miami

Once we were pulled off the bar around noon, we moved down to the Lake Worth Inlet and decided that it was too late to set sail. So we dropped the anchor at the inlet and relaxed. We needed to start up the watermaker and this was a great place to do that. The next day we set sail for sea and made it to Miami and south to Biscayne Bay for sunset. Of course, we entered Government Cut at 1700 right when the cruise ships were coming out, how exciting. Then we passed a container ship and went into the ICW. After turning south passing Brickell Point, then motoring under the Rickenbacker Bridge , it was WELCOME to Biscayne Bay!  Anchor down, we watched the city lights come on and popped the bubbly. This is one of our happy places!.

A fun leg south using the Code Zero, sailing with Larry & Hera of IP32 THE DOVE
We entered Government Cut with several cruise ships going out
We also shared the channel with container ships, always so colorful
Welcome to Miami and Biscayne Bay, our happy place
Watching the city lights come on from anchor off Virginia Key
We popped some bubbly to celebrate -we love it here in Biscayne Bay!


Stuart Fl Christmas Time

After Thanksgiving, our time in Stuart now extended into Dec and thru New Years as we help new Island Packet Buyers evaluate the IP 350 to IP 38 market. Radeen and I are always very excited to be representing new clients as their “buyer’s broker” and we love introducing them to the product and to our wonderful Island Packet community. Welcome to the “family” to Dave  and Dianne. We are so happy to help you find and buy your dream Island Packet 350!

Welcome to Dianne and Dave, new members of the IP Family.

We Evaluate the Market

Dave and Dianne decided to retire and start their cruising dreams right away. They focused on an Island Packet 38 and actually had a contract on one when we all realized that the 38 was too big for what they were planning to do. So, we returned to the market to evaluate 350, 35 and 37 MLS listings. With their stated goals, they decided the Island Packet 350 would be perfect. We shopped the 350 markets east and west in Florida and settled on the best one, MATIMA.  With a successful sea trial and survey, Dave and Dianne made the big step and bought their dream cruising yacht. We are so happy for them and are enjoying guiding them forward, as we do with all our clients.  Congratulations, you have a beautiful yacht! Insider tip: Look for all four of us in an upcoming edition of Cruising World magazine.

Dave and Dianne’s new Island Packet 350

Chrismas Party With Mack Yacht Services

Our dear friend Colin Mack has spun off a new company, expanding  Mack Sails. The new spin-off is  Mack Yacht Services, Inc. and adds full yacht commissioning and yacht refit services going beyond sails and rigging. Mack Sails and Rigging, headed by Travis and Mr. Mack, will continue focusing on sails and rigging with their skilled team. Colin and his amazing team are rapidly building a full yacht refit company. They are well known in the Island Packet Yacht fleet as the “Go to Team” for chainplate replacements, a well-documented issue with older IPs. Mack Yacht Services, MYS, bought a waterfront yacht yard with space for 8 yachts on the bulkheads and with plenty of room to build service buildings and even put in a travel lift. This is a big draw for us in Stuart, being involved with Colin and Travis. We really admire these guys and their family.

How exciting to meet Mr. and Mrs. Mack, who created Mack Sails!
My dear friend Colin Mack of Mack Yacht Services, Inc.
Colin with his team, building Mack Yacht Services, Inc.

While Driving Across Florida, We visited Friends

December found us driving across Florida about 8 times. Some trips were to look at yachts at Whiteaker Yacht Sales and in Ft. Myers, one trip was to the IP Factory, one trip to the pick up new sofa cushions and one was for an IP Mini-vous. Lucky for us, we rented a great car and hit the road, with fun friends to see along the way. It is about a 2.5-hour drive from coast to coast in Florida. Here are some of our great buddies…

Dear Boat Buddies, Julie and Rev Dixie, formerly IP32 MORNING GRACE, connected with us to send us off with a beautiful gift and a blessing. Thank you so much!
Our gift is a beautiful wine cork of  ISLAND SPIRIT with our Code Zero flying. This treasure was made by Julie’s cousins who are traditional scrimshaw craftsmen. So special!
Our other home away from home with Craig and Liana, always fun times.
John and Nancy IP420 ADVENTURESS  invited us for a few great days at their new home. What a festive time!
More Bahamas Boat Buddies Kathy and Alan (with their IP420 FLATLANDER) gave us a tour around Burnt Store Marina. Always a fun visit!
With Dr. J. B. Smith, on a swing thru Epcot. Thank you to Mary Fran and JB’s daughter, Shannon! The Festival of Lights was very special!
Radeen’s fun college friend, Annie, shared her beautiful timeshare with us! Thank you!

Merry Christmas to Radeen, new sofa cushions

On one of our trips across Flordia, we met with Peggy St. Cyr, who taught the factory how to make cushions. She has made custom sheets and beautiful pillows for us, too. We hired Peggy to make new sofa cushions for Island Spirit. Ours were getting flat, so we ordered only the bottoms. Peggy did a fantastic job. Here is happy Radeen unwrapping them as we made it back to the boat very late on this trip.

Radeen unwraps the new sofa seats
Perfect fit, great job Peggy
We love our laptop desk and our 32″ Samsung smart TV works great.
Radeen’s new Gooseneck Pin for Christmas 2018! Merry Christmas 🙂

Back at “Home” Sunset Bay…

With time in Stuart quickly wrapping up, we prepared Island Spirit and provisioned up. It is difficult for us to sail away from the safe harbor where we have great friends and where we feel so involved and where we are helping others. It is really hard to say goodbye and to make ourselves sail on. Before we did, we were lucky enough to visit a few more buddies….

Boat Buddies Linda and Mahlon IP35 JUST DUCKY and us enjoying TooJay’s!
Good times out with Tommy/Tracy IP40 SAILIN SHOES and Greg/Sharon IP40 DREAMCATCHER at Sailor’s Return.
Molli and Reuben, dear friends and parents of some of the smartest children on the planet, came to visit looking for a possible winter home for IP380 PRIORITY.
Boat Buddies Jim and Loretta formerly IP380 PLAN SEA met us at Jim and Vanessa’s home for some great food and flying stories. They are making plans to sail New England again together this summer aboard IP420 WINDRUNNER.

The Little Island Packet Mini-vous
(5 of us became 27 sailors?!? YIKES!)

While driving back and forth across to SW Florida, the idea came to us… let’s have a little IP Mini-vous and get maybe 5 of us together for pizza. Great idea! Next thing you know, we posted a Facebook announcement one week in advance and the party took off. We had 10 people, then 15, HELP! Then 20, OH NO! Then 25, and we stopped counting at 27. Sally and Conrad formerly IP38  IT’S ABOUT TIME had offered to host this event when it was at 5-10 people, but then things went out of control. Sally and Conrad did an amazing job under pressure and the food was outstanding!  Friendships are so wonderful within the Island Packet Fleet and everyone had a wonderful time. YOUTUBE superstar, Tinsley IP27 SALTY ABANDON joined the party. She produced a video interview of the owners and their stories. Thank you, Tinsley!  Her video is embedded below. Thank you, again, Sally and Conrad, hosts of the year!!!!

Sally and Conrad hosted a “little” Island Packet MiniVous (27 people!)

Island Packet Mini-vous Video by Tinsely

Happy New Year 2019

With the rollover of the New Year, we were invited to enjoy a wonderful meal and a really good time aboard the mothership, IP45 NORTH STAR owned by Sharon and John. Sid of IP40 QUEST joined us for the fun as well, while Kate made a quick trip home. We all had a memorable evening. Sharon made a traditional Southern New Year’s Day “good luck” meal, including pork, black-eyed peas and homemade cornbread. We brought wine, bubbly, chocolates and homemade brownies. Here are two fun photos of that happy night:

Happy New Year 2019
Sid and John raise a toast to a Happy New Year 2019. Notice our new Swarovski crystal champagne glasses. (Oh, the joys of the free pile at Sunset Bay!)

Time to sail on and head to Miami

With all these great times and wonderful friends in Florida and the Stuart area, it was time for us to push on south or we may never get back to the Caribbean Sea. We had thought we would leave soon after Thanksgiving, but as you can see, we got involved and really enjoyed ourselves.  Stuart feels like HOME…

Onward we go….Miami here we are, with an interesting adventure in West Palm!


Stuart FL Thanksgiving time

We arrived Stuart Florida on Nov 16th, 2018, planning to stay here thru Thanksgiving and then move south in prep for sailing back to the Caribbean Sea to resume out Caribbean adventures.  Sunset Bay Marina is our most favorite place to stay between Maine and Key West. Stuart is a dream town, the Marina is run with the best team, and the owners go far out of their way to make customer care #1.  We have never been anywhere where we feel more welcome. Add to this wonderful marina our good friends at Mack Sails and Mack Yacht Services, makes it a perfect place for us. We call it HOME!

Our typical sunsets as seen from HOME!

What we like about Sunset Bay Marina

We count this location as “HOME” and there are many reasons for this. First of all, the owners of this marina, Pam and Jay. go so far over the top, doing everything they can to make their customers feel at home. They provide a fully catered dinner for Thanksgiving, they set up a large screen and projector for movie night twice a month complete with lots of pizza. They host cocktail parties.  They added a beautiful coffee bar complete with wine and local craft beers! They fully support their management staff and make sure they have all they need. Next is the terrific marina staff. Everyone is so kind and so focused on customer service and on maintaining the property.  Sam manages his outstanding team so well, and everyone works together:  Matt, Nichole, Jason, Edward, and Dennis each do an amazing job.

Another reason we like it here is because of our host Terri who lives on an IP38 SAILBATICAL. Terri makes everyone feel at home here and we all lean on for local help and support.  The final reason we like Stuart is because of Mack Sails and Mack Yacht Services, Colin and Travis. These brothers and their parents have built a great business here and they have helped us refit our IP for Caribbean adventures and then they rebuilt our boat after hurricane damages. We really like working with Travis and Colin. This is our third year at Sunset Bay and we really feel it is the best run, best-built marina on the entire East Coast.

Sunset Set bay Marina at Sunset. Beautiful

Good Times at Sunset Bay with Friends

Delighted to share the good news that our host, Terri, has joined the Whiteaker Yacht Sales team. Terri holds a USCG 100-ton captain’s license and is an ASA sailing instructor, plus she is an English teacher at a public middle school.  Here we are with our “Welcome to the team, Terri!” photo with Ed and Debbie Whiteaker.

Our Stuart Fl team of Whiteaker Yacht Sales Brokers

Thanksgiving Day Reflection

Every day we take a walk around town via the Stuart boardwalk. Here is the Happy Thanksgiving Day photo we sent to Dr. Kevin Fox at the University of PA. Radeen and I owe her life to his breast cancer research. Dr. Fox cured Radeen of Stage 2B triple negative breast cancer in 2001.  It was during this very difficut time that we bought Island Spirit and set our sights on the dream of crusing. This is why we appreciate every single day to the fullest. Thank you, Dr. Kevin Fox!

Thanksgiving morning on our walk around the Stuart waterfront.

Thanksgiving at Sunset Bay

The owners, Pam and Jay, host a catered Thanksgiving Day meal for the marina guests. Black linen table cloths, hundreds of chairs and an endless buffet line had the staff working very hard to prepare for us.  What a joy to attend an event like this with our boat buddies at such a beautiful facility. I did not get many photos but here are two of the setup.

The guests bring all the side dishes and homemade desserts.[/caption

Island Packet 380 PLAN SEA transfer to new OWNERS!

While here at Sunset Bay Marina, we were fortunate that buyers discovered our listing of IP380 PLAN SEA. After promoting PLAN SEA for 18 months, a couple walked into the WYS office and almost immediately bought this MINT yacht without ever seeing one ad, one email, my photo album or even knowing much about Island Packet Yachts. Preston, the broker in the office that day, created the offer and we quickly negotiated the sale. We attended sea trial and survey in Palmetto, FL with the new owners, Kim and Charlene, and welcomed them to the Island Packet Yacht Owner’s community. Here are the happy photos of this day. It is never easy selling a yacht you love. We are happy as now everyone can move onto their next adventures. Jim and Loretta now have PLAN D, and have hit the roads for some southwest exploration and spring skiing in Utah. Congrats!

380 Plan Sea’s new owners, Kim and Charlene

Dear Friends in Florida

While at Stuart and while driving back and forth across the state of Florida for many reasons, we really enjoyed catching up with boating friends in each of the areas. We are so lucky to know so many diverse people and we treasure each and every friendship. Thank you all for making time to visit as we flew by…

We found dear friend WENDY to celebrate her birthday with Paul

Bob and Cast of IP370 SEA LION heading to the Caribbean

Super Star TINSLEY of YouTube fame IP27 Salty Abandon

At home with Tom and Lesa of IP35 PANACEA,

Yacht Broker Car

And finally, we had to rent cars during Nov and Dec as we drove back and forth to Whiteaker Yacht Sales looking at boats and working with customers. So, we rented this beautiful car which made driving much more fun.

That is a wrap

Our time here always flies by! Between yacht services, yacht sales, helping others and visiting with friends, we had lots to do and much to be thankful for as we live aboard in Stuart FL.

Stuart FL Yacht Brokers

..We sailed back from the Bahamas on April 28, 2018, and returned to this dream marina and wonderful town of Stuart, Florida in Martin County. This place more than any other place we have travelled has our attention. We even rank this location above Annapolis Maryland and you all know how much Radeen and I like Annapolis. Why do we like Stuart, Florida? First, Sunset Bay Marina and the way it is managed. The staff focuses 100% on customer service and take great pride in the facilities, from the coffee bar, wine bar, varnished teak furniture, gas grills, patio furniture, captains’ lounge with sofas and TV, air-conditioned laundry and bathhouse and the many special events they plan. Add to this a boardwalk around the water’s edge to the old town of Stuart and we have a dream boating location. Mooring balls are $175/week or $400/month. Where can you live for $400/month and have all this? Sunset Bay is our #1 USA marina location.

Hayden and Radeen at Sunset Bay Marina

What are we Doing?

The other question we are hearing is, “What are we doing” waiting in Stuart? Everyone thought we were sailing home. We usually do sail north the first week of May. One year, we waited until June to sail north and that put us in crazy thunderstorms and severe weather and we said never again. This year, we came back to Stuart because while we were in the Berrys we were working on yacht sales. We had three active deals we were working on. So, we came back, rented a Chevy Impala and drove north to Brunswick, GA for a survey on one boat, then back to Stuart. Then we turned around and drove to Palmetto Florida, on the west coast to show our listing there. Next we drove back to Florida East coast. In all, we drove 1,150 miles in 6 days! During this same time, we were working a yacht closing in Nanny Cay, the British Virgin Islands. These deals were difficult to secure from the remote Berrys and we knew they would be impossible to continue to service. So, we sailed back to Stuart for our yacht broker work. We work as “buyer’s brokers” and only focus on Island Packet Yachts. We fit best with anyone looking to buy an Island Packet Yacht. We will help buyers decide on a model that best meets their cruising goals and then we will shop and evaluate the market helping to find the best yacht. We will write offers and counter-offers, attend sea trial and survey, and we will help our customers buy their dream Island Packet. This is why we are back in Stuart and this is what we have been working on for the past 3 weeks.

Our Hertz fun ride, Chevy Impala, yacht broker car

Hayden and Radeen, yacht broker team at survey for our customer

We work with Ed and Debbie Whiteaker our of their office in Palmetto, Fl

Having some Fun

While working on these three yacht broker deals, we also have been working with Mack Sails on our new Code Zero sail. This new sail was fitted last week and we have sailed it in the creek here around Stuart. Last Saturday, Colin Mack and his photo and video man, Ed of Starboard Films wanted to get photos and video of our boat at sea with the new code zero flying. Out to sea we went. The winds were 12-15 knots true and Colin and Ed came out on their chase boat with cameras and a drone. As we sailed, they shot photos and video. Ed will be using this for marketing of the Mack Sails company. How exciting, Team Island Spirit is a new advertising yacht. This will be great when the post-production work is all finished. Here are some photos of the sail.

Dolphins arrive every time we hoist this sail, they love it

Sailing the code zero in 12 knots on the beam doing 6.5 knots

We are told this will be our most used sail

Crazy Weather in Florida

While we have been sailing the new code zero and working on these yacht sales, emailing and supporting our buyers, we have been dealing with crazy weather. There is a low pressure developing in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa area. This low has been spinning counterclockwise, as lows do in the northern hemisphere, and with that spin, it has been pulling in tons of moisture from the south and driving it to north. We actually thought about sailing north on this great SE 20-knot wind, but the unstable weather brings with it thunderstorms, waterspouts and high winds nearly every day. Small craft advisories offshore are calling for seas 6-9 feet and 5-6 seconds! If you know the ocean, that is ugly boating. So, we are simply waiting here til we rent a car and drive back up to Brunswick GA, 5 hours to survey a boat with our buyer. We thought we could sail there, but with this crazy weather, no way, we will drive I-95. Look at these WX photos.

Waiting out weather in Stuart, FL

Trying to sail to Brunswick for survey and sea trial

Sun Halo over Island Spirit

If there is a good sign, this has to be one of them. While out daysailing with new Island Packet buyers on board and sharing the cruising life with them, this sun halo appeared over our yacht while under sail. How cool is that? This happens when ice crystals form in the atmosphere and the sun refracts thru the ice. Very interesting image.

Sun Halo over Island Spirit

Our Plans to Sail Home

We are still planning on sailing back to the Chesapeake Bay so we can enjoy our boat this summer and sail friends aboard. We hope to make the run as direct as we can, departing this area Mon, Tue or Wed and sailing for Cape Lookout, NC, nonstop if possible. Then if weather allows, we will sail around Cape Hatteras and up into the Chesapeake Bay. One option sail would be to divert offshore to Cape May NJ to see friends there, and to go fishing, but, first, we need to start heading north. For now, we are enjoying helping others with finding their dream yachts and taking in the sunsets here at Sunset Bay. Look at these two photos…..:-)

Island Spirit in calm waters with the sun setting behind us

Hayden and Radeen strike a pose at sunset, too cool!

Remember, LIVE tracking when yacht moves

Thank you for sailing along…..

Fernandina Beach, FL Architecture

A photo essay and tour of the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Home of the American Shrimping Industry.

A different kind of Architecture, French Ships sailed into the harbor for a two day visit

Tonight we depart Fernandina at the St. Mary’s inlet and we will sail north 120 miles to Beaufort, SC via Port Royal Sound. This leg will take 20 hours anchor to anchor and we plan to be offshore by sunset running the leg at night. We will arrive the Port Royal sea buoy at 0900 for the flood tide up the sound. Fernandina Beach FL is a great town and like all great towns we hate to leave….but on we go…