Kong & Halverson Island Gypsy 32 with a Stern Thruster!

Vessel type/length – Island Gypsy 32 feet
Engine type/horsepower – Ford Lehman 120 HP
Cruising speed – Economical 7.5 knots
Starting point – St. Lucie River, Stuart, FL
Final destination – Jacksonville Beach, FL

This is a classic boat with the original Ford Lehman diesel and an after market hydraulic stern thruster…That’s right! A stern thruster. Pretty nifty once you get a feel for it and much less intrusive to install.

A week before heading north we sea trialed the Island Gypsy  in the St. Lucie River. All systems were AOK so we did not anticipate any problems but we did stock up on a few spare Racor fuel filter elements – just in case.

While boarding the night before departure we bumped into another delivery crew we have worked with. They were moving a 44 foot trawler south as we were cruising north. You can always learn something from another seasoned captain so we swapped sea stories before sleeping aboard for the night.

Our first obstacle was having to wait forever for a multitude of trains crossing the Roosevelt Bridge Rail Road Bridge. Finally we were able to get moving down the river, past Manatee Pocket and into the “Crossroads” of the ICW.  The Crossroads are a very shallow intersection where the ICW and the St Lucie River meet, an area that must be navigated with care. If you miss a floating marker you are suddenly in 1-2 feet of water and hard aground. Turning north we stop at the Marriott Marina for fuel then continue on to Melbourne for the evening. The next day we get going at the crack of dawn meeting the marina security guard to drop off the shower keys. That slowed us down just in time to watch a satellite lift-off from NASA at Cape Canaveral. Spectacular fireball as it rocketed skyward seeming to pull the lazy sun up over the horizon. What a great start to our day! Onward to Daytona for the night.

The third day we planned to meet the new owners in St. Augustine, FL to complete the delivery with us. As we near the city marina the current is ripping. I had warned the owners about this so they met us at the end of the face dock. This allowed us to come in and leave without any problems.

The Island Gypsy is their first power boat and the new owners wanted some wheel time to learn the characteristics of a trawler. We spend the rest of the day traveling the ICW showing them how to dock and maneuver the boat. When we arrived at their condominium they had a crowd waiting to see their new boat. A homecoming of sorts with plenty of oohs and aaahs. Clean the boat and sack out.

Bright and early the next day we start formal training on docking, fueling, pump out and more docking and more docking. Remember the audience last evening, well they started grading us on docking technique! After the new owners got used to the stern thruster and the walk of the prop they easily mastered docking. Next we tackled anchoring. New adventures with a windlass, sure beats lifting the anchor by hand as they did on their old sailboat.

We left a very happy couple with their new trawler. We followed up with a few phones calls until they became comfortable with the onboard systems.