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Preparing to head south

It has been many moons since I posted here, but work has continued apace on Steel Magnolia. I had a setback when I took it to a boatyard about a month ago only to find my boat would not fit in their lift. It needs to be hauled out to clean the bottom, clean out the intakes which are fouled with barnacles, and apply some fresh bottom paint. I moved it to another yard which was booked up and could not haul it out until next Wednesday. However, they promise to haul it and the work should only take about four days. Meanwhile, the electronics have been getting finished up and the new bar is just about complete.

If all goes well with the boatyard, I plan to depart Savannah around January 13. The first destination is Palm Beach which should take about a week. From there, I’ll cross over to the Bahamas at West End on Grand Bahama Island, then south to Nassau and on to the Exuma Islands to the south. A friend from the Ford Plantation near Savannah, Bryan Duck, will travel with me to Palm Beach. Crossing to the Bahamas I’ll have Captain John Fortenberry and his wife Judy along. In Nassau, I’ll be joined by Early Uncle Randy. And finally in Georgetown, Exuma, the lovely Laura Lee will join me.

Although I’m not on a tight schedule, the plan is nevertheless ambitious. The boat has not really been used since June and has had a lot of work done, a recipe for problems on a long trip. And, as always, the weather can become an issue and cause delays at any point, especially crossing over to the Bahamas. However, we will be well-stocked with good food and necessary beverages, so any layovers should be pleasant.

A friend from Birmingham, Pete Sloss, is planning to travel south with us on his beautiful sailboat, Snowhawk. Now that I own a seven-knot trawler, I fit in more with the blowboat crowd than with faster motor yachts. I’m looking forward to his good company as we head for warm waters.

Stay tuned and look for postings on our trip starting around mid-January. 

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