Captain Chris Yacht Services Captain Chris Yacht Services
More Loopers Are On Their Way aboard a Golden Star 42   Trawler Training Texas Style   Nordic Tug 32 + 2, Learn to Do It Yourself   DeFever 47 POC- Florida to Orange Beach, AL
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AGLCA Loopers Begin The Adventure Aboard A DeFever 47 POC

Captain Chris Yacht Services
AGLCA Loopers Begin The Adventure Aboard A DeFever 47 POC
Nancy & Ed are living the dream aboard DREAM FEVER!
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Dreaming about doing the Loop? Is your dream giving you nightsweats... with more systems and more boat than you thought it would be? With Captain Chris Yacht Services you値l wake up to a bright new sunny day aboard your DREAM BOAT. Our specialty is teaching new owners all about their new yacht - docking techniques, learning about on board marine systems and getting you comfortable caring for everything in your engine room space.

Meet Ed & Nancy Hamilton. We first have that pleasureツat Cruiser Expo in Stuart where theyツexperienced all the latest and greatest about cruising life. Next stop, Trawler Fest in Fort Lauderdale where we reconnect once again at our booth in between seminars and trawler crawls.

This is a well informedツboating coupleツwho attend all cruising venues, boat shows and rendezvous, researching for almost three years before they locate their perfect cruising trawler, a DeFever 47 POC. Their broker, Curtis Stokes always bends over backwards to match the right boat with the right owner and this is truly a perfect fit.ツ Prior owners of a 51 foot Bluewater Cruiser on a Texas lake, the Hamiltons are now ready to start the Great Loop in their DREAM FEVER.

At Trawler Fest we chat up all the reasons for hiring a professional Captainツthen we agree to schedule training aboard their new boat inツ a few weeks.Uh-oh. You know what they say about schedules? On a boat, schedules are dangerous but SNOW??ツWeツpatiently wait until the USCG offices up North can dig outツfrom aツsnow storm before all the paperwork can be completed on this wonderful cruising yacht.

When the snow melts we arrive in St Petersburg to hop aboard this 8 knot trawlerツand immediately start reviewing onboard systems, making a shopping list of groceries and spare parts for the cruise across the Okeechobee Waterway- from the Gulf coast to the Atlantic coast. After juggling where to stow their vehicle, fueling the boat and determining that this marina has no working pump out, we cast off around 1:30 PM and head south along the ICW.

It's official!! Another Loop Adventure begins and as lieutenant sponsors of the AGLCA, we help this excited coupleツcelebrate, cruising under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into Santa Maria Sound. Dark comes early in the wintertime so we arrive at Marina Jack痴 in Sarasota just before closing time. A wonderful place to visit, the Sarasota downtown area is very artsy and full of smaller restaurants.We'll cast off bright and early tomorrow and try to make up for theツtraditional first day delays. (NOTE: Never tell your friends and family an exact date to shove offツon your first cruise until you are actually ready to untie lines. Then be sure to file a float plan. Nothing ever goes according to schedule and Neptune just laughs at our foibles.)

While underway we introduce these Intracoastal Waterway neophytes to the shallow areas in between the red and greens known as 鍍he magenta line. Lake boating has its nuances but never have they driven a yacht past a working dredge, across sand bars in the middle of the channel with temporary buoys, through the Miserable Mile which is really about 3 wonderful miles and into variousツstrange marinas all in one day.

Our second day starts before the roosters cock-a-doodle-do and finishes atツCape Coral. We are advised to turn at ICW marker #78 into a canal where they promise we will find a working pump out. Hip Hip Hooray!ツ Who cares if we must dock first to fuel and then again for the pump out. Practice makes perfect, right? It痴 the little things in boating that excite us but heads are a priority when you池e on the water.

Day three begins before sunriseツwith fluid checks and preparing charts that we were too tired to look at last night. An early start means we won稚 lose precious daylight. Bright and early...roosters crowing...ツbefore sunrisenotice a theme here? Our 5:30 a.m. alarm clocks are not music to the ears ofツthis recently retired couple but after a caffeine fix they come to life with chipper smilesStill, mutiny always lurks around the bend so we keep them busy learning new things all the time.

Our rise from sea level through the first three locks is perfectly timed and we cruise past our planned stop in Moorehaven moving further ahead to Clewiston. Neptune is pleased and we are tied up at Roland & Mary Ann Martin痴 Marina before the band stops for the evening. Dinner with the local bikers, one other cruiser and a relaxing sunset overツLake Okeechobee -aah, the cruising life!

Our last day we are off the dock before the sun peeks over the horizon once again, crossing Lake O to Stuart. Only two locks to go, the Mayaca Lock is open at both ends. Whoo-hoo! But before we get too excited we learn there is a work barge inside the lock itself, making repairs. We will have to squeeze between the work barge and the opposite lock wall, fenders at the ready. According to the barge crew it痴 an estimated 35 feet of space but our eyes tell us differently- we only have about 2-3 feet on each side. Whew!

The St. Lucie Lock drops us about 8 feet back to Atlantic Ocean sea level and we can put the fenders away for a while. The Roosevelt Car & Railroad Bridges open, welcoming us down the river, through the Crossroads where we finallyツhook up with the AICW. Another 20 miles and we are all tied up at Harbour Isles Marina inツFort Pierce FL.

This shakedown cruise not only allows us to review the fundamentals of navigation with this fun crew from Texas but also provides the Hamiltonsツwith a great opportunity to determine what items they really want to customize, making this boat their own. A planned stop over in Fort Pierceツforツa few upgrades to be completed and thenツthese excited Loopers head north to Myrtle Beach for the AGLCA Spring Rendezvous if you池e in the neighborhood drop by for a visit, just make it after 9 a.m. 祖uz DREAM FEVER is cruising on island time.

Big smiles as Ed prepares the pump out.
Most times you'll find Nancy at the helm. As Ed towers over her small frame this arrangement makes so much sense. He can handle the lines, fenders and anchoring while she uses the strength of the engines to do the work. Smart thinking!
Captain Chris climbing back in from the roof deck. Until we pass under a few bridges he likes to get a bird's eye view of the air gap between the bridge and the highest point on the boat. We made it by a few feet this time!
Sometimes we can barely read the fine print on the paper NOAA charts. It helps to have a magnifying glass.
Captain Alyse shows Ed how to plot a course in the event that the electronics give up and you only have a compass and paper chart to rely on. It could happen!
This bridge tender personally greets every boater who crosses through the Fort Denaud Bridge in the Okeechobee waterway
Dolphins everywhere! This DeFever seems to attract more of these wonderful mammals along the side decks instead of the bow like most trawlers. Better for viewing from the flybridge, we enjoy their antics every day at some point along the waterway.
Ed gets ready for the locks to open, letting swirling water float us up about 8 feet.
Here it comes!
Waterway signs tell us how far we must go to the next set of locks.
Cocoa is nonplussed by the engine vibration and gentle rocking but tries to ignore us anyway. Piper is hiding.
Always time to scout out the local flavor after a tough day on the water. Nancy & Ed horsing around in downtown Clewiston.
Ed prepares to toss the bow line on our last lock of the OWW. We can almost hear the roar of the Atlantic Ocean!

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