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Learning About Locks, The Great Loop and Living the Dream!

Captain Chris Yacht Services
Learning About Locks, The Great Loop and Living the Dream!
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This Georgia couple have plans that include looping aboard something other than a sailboat. They needed to know if a trawler was for them. So Sherry and Alan joined us for 5 days of training to see if locks, looping and living aboard was in their future.

(NOTE: We no longer charter our boat but are pleased to come aboard YOUR boat anywhere for personal training with you and your mate)

Before we headed out we were able to introduce these fledglings to some key cruising couples: First there were very recent Gold loopers aboard a North Pacific trawler, then two very NEW loopers starting out on their Jefferson 42, a Nordhavn 47 owner planning for some coastal and down island adventures and of course, we have lived aboard for over 15 years. So together we had an interesting dessert party on our aft deck which allowed Alan and Sherry to ask a million and one questions.

Next we set out to get in some hands-on skills practice before we tackled the locks of the Okeechobee Waterway. So much to learn but all in good time.

When we finally returned to our home dock with all the new skills they had learned, Alan and Sherry were sure of one thing: Locks, Looping and Living the Dream are CERTAINLY in their future!

Two other smaller boats headed into the locks ahead of us. The boat closest to us was single handed and had a few false starts before getting all lines secured.
Large fender balls make locking through much easier with less worry for scraping the lock walls. These balls deflate easily and stow away in a very small space.
Another handy tool is this fender hook which allows us to quickly change the length of the fender line without tying and retying knots. Fits right over our handrail even under the canvas.
Sherry checks the fenders for proper placement.
Alyse and Sherry adjust the bow line as we change height with the rising waters.
This time we'll lower down to sea level- 14 feet!
See how TWO AERES fender balls become so compact when deflated. Perfect for storing in a small space.
Alan will take his turn at the bow line, adjusting longer as we lower down in the lock.
Almost done! Time for a photo op!
It is exciting to take the helm, even more exciting to get comfortable with close quarter maneuvering. Sherry's goal was to dock pretty and she met the challenge!
Picking up a mooring ball was more difficult in the 25knot winds but we did fine using clear arm signals to direct the helmsman.
We practiced anchoring a few times and tried out a kellet to decrease the scope even though the conditions didn't require it. Best to practice in perfect conditions so you know what to do when it's less than perfect.
We cruisers are a social bunch and meeting other boaters can be a terrific learning experience as you start out.

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