My First Delivery Request: a 1992 Catalina 28

“You are not writing about this,” was his only caveat, when Phillip and I agreed to do the delivery.  I knew I shouldn’t have given him a copy of None Such Like It when he was boat-shopping.  But, after the entire saga went down, he knew it was well worth telling the tale.  And, after an agreement to change some names to protect the … bold and brave, I was granted a writer’s exclusive.

Friends, followers, I’m excited to tell you about my first delivery!  And, I say mine, because while Phillip and I did help our buddy, Mitch, bring his Nonsuch from Ft. Myers up to her new home port of Pensacola back in June of 2015, I would easily say I was ranking First Mate at the time, nowhere near Captain.  Not that I am an official USCG Captain … yet (I’ve got just a few more documents to wrestle up before I can send my application to the Coasties), but the boys on this trip were kind enough to let me take more of the lead this time and humor me the title, Captain Annie, for this delivery.

And what a doozie!  As it seems they all are.  And, by that I don’t mean we were battling six-foot waves and thirty-knot winds in the Gulf (this time), because that’s not the kind of experience you have to have every time for it to be a good salty sea tale.  Besides, we all know what my biggest fear is anyway and it’s not out there in the big, open blue.  Say it with me … yes, docking!  That’s sh*t is scary for real.  What was important about this passage, and every passage we go on, is that Phillip and I encountered some situations we had never experienced before, learned some good lessons from it and found ourselves, as we often do, inspired by those we sail with.  In this case, we’ll call him Wild Phil Hickok!

Cue the Old Western whistle and cracking whip sound  *Whoo-psssh*

Wild Phil has been a long-time friend of Phillip’s and had been shopping for a few months for a good, reliable boat he could leisurely sail around Pensacola and to take the family (his wife and two boys) out to spend weekends on the hook.  He had focused on Catalinas as his boat of choice because he knew they were a trusted name and he liked the build quality, design and feel of the cockpit.  What he found was truly a gem.  A 1992 Catalina 28, reportedly in complete working order, down in Tampa (for less than $22k, I might add).  The boat was brought up to Carrabelle for the survey/sea-trial and when our very own Bob Kriegel with RK Marine Services here in Pensacola deemed her “above average condition,” we knew Phil would probably pounce on it.  Wouldn’t you?

It wasn’t long before Phil was inking the line and calling himself a proud new Catalina order and Phillip and I were soon enlisted to help deliver the boat from Carrabelle to her new home port of Pensacola.  Just as we did for Mitch when we were preparing to help him with his delivery, Phillip and I put together a pretty extensive provision and supplies list for Phil for the trip:

Yeah, I know.  A little over the top?  Well, there’s no harm in being over-prepared, right?  What did Phil think of mine and Phillip’s impressive  fore-thoughtedness?

Love that guy.  And, I really can’t tell you why booze is highlighted there.  My Mac must know we pretty well …

Following the recommendations of the surveyor, Phil had the marine service guys in Carrabelle do some work on the alternator and change the fuel filters while the boat was going to be there for a couple of weeks before he could come back to make the delivery. It was actually the same “Mechan-Eric” Phillip and I had hired to put in our new transmission after our first famous failure to deliver our own boat all the way home on the first try, and (way more importantly) he was the guy who approved my duct-tape and Dasani-bottle “catchment bin” to capture our leaking transmission fluid and pour it back in.


Ironic?  Not really.  There’s only one mechanic in Carabelle.  But it did bring back some very fun memories when we pulled up to Phil’s new boat and found it docked in the very same place ours was, just four short years ago, trying to make her own way home to Pensacola.

Phil’s Catalina, 2017:

Our Niagara, 2013:

It seemed Carrabelle was a rite of passage.  And while mine and Phillip’s adventure getting our Niagara home from Punta Gorda, FL—which included hacking off the flailing dinghy in the Gulf, having the old transmission eat itself alive, enduring a six-week separation while the boat was in Carabelle having the new transmission put in, only to have the new one leak little red tears into a Dasani catchment system that had to be dunked back into the engine every hour—was quite the experience, it honestly seemed like a little bit of nothing when we saw what Wild Phil had to go through before he finally got his boat home to Pensacola.  In just a few short days, Phil had already accomplished more feats and suffered more failures than many boat owners do … well, ever.  Phil was adamant about holding the helm, handling problems and getting as much experience as possible, good or bad, and I can easily say he’s now (just a week into boat ownership) done more than I have at the wheel.  So, kick back, buckle up, and let this tale begin.

The boys and I—Phillip, his buddy Keith, and our fearless owner, Wild Phil—set off for Carrabelle around 2:00 a.m. Friday, August the 11th.  These working stiffs had so much to do on Fri-DAY (and evening), we only had time to rest for a few hours Friday night before waking at 1:00 a.m. to drive straight to the boat and shove off at dawn on Saturday morning in hopes of getting the boat back to Pensacola by Monday mid-day at the latest so they could go back to work if possible.  Work …  At an office … Who does that anymore? ; )  A 5:00 a.m. Wal-Mart run to pack out the car, a nice sunrise drive, then a pack-out of the boat and we were ready to shove off around 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

What this did not leave us (and it was something I was little worried about when they told me the plan) was time to assess and scour the boat to really get familiarized with her and go through our spares inventory.  A lesson to myself later: I should have done this on my own right out of the gate.  On my next delivery I will, and I will probably make a “yacht delivery” checklist, so I am confident I, personally, know where all the sea-cocks and thru-hulls are (as well as the plugs), how to locate, check and fill all the engine fluids, whether there is water in the bilge (and note the level), etc.  But this time, I didn’t.  I unpacked the food, oohed and ahhed over the condition of the boat, chatted with the guys and took a selfie.  I’ll get better at this delivery Captain stuff, I promise.  Or hope, at least.  It really was an impressive boat, though, for the age and price.  Definitely Annie-approved!

Phil and his lovely wife, Pam, who was nice enough to shuttle us down to Carrabelle in the middle of the night.  As far as making the delivery with us?  She said: “You guys have fun!  I’ll see you in Pensacola.”

Little did she know, we wouldn’t quite make it that far … On the first try anyway.  Black crud, thick mud, and a sea tow stud are in store for you.  Stay tuned, friends, the tale of my first delivery will soon begin!


#93: Cuba Voyage Finale: Gulf Stream Crossing and Landfall in Cuba

The current of the Gulf Stream is no joke, particularly when it is pushing you into head winds.  Watch as we reef up and cross a pretty kicked up sea state across the Gulf Stream, sing to our first Cuban sunrise, deal with an issue with the furling gear on our headsail, navigate the entry to Marina Hemingway and make landfall in Cuba.  HaveWindWillTravel is traveling this year!  There’s a great Patreon update for you as well in here as we will soon be getting a video update from each of our previous Gift of Cruising winners and get ready to give our 4th gift away — a 100% free offshore voyage on SailLibra at the $500 reward level.  WHOA.  Become a Patron to be eligible to win and help us create cruisers out of each and every one of you!  Hope you all are enjoying the journey to Cuba.  We can’t wait to share that beautiful, culture-rich country with you.

#91: Cuba Voyage III: Power Management Underway

Follow along as we are mesmerized by a jumping pod of dolphins at the bow, monitor the power situation (and show you our cool below-decks inverter), and make our one BIG tack of the trip.  We had some great wind that allowed us to hold a pretty steady rhumb line all the way to Cuba.  Hope you guys are enjoying the vicarious Cuba voyage.  Enjoy!

#86: How to Provision & Prepare Your Boat for Passage

Provisioning for passage.  Stowing goods on the boat (according to weight).  Power conservation while underway.  Watch schedules.  Sleep arrangements.  You name it.  A ton of good, hopefully helpful info for you all while we are preparing our boat to shove off for Cuba in just SEVEN days.  Feel free to add any of your own offshore preparation tips in a comment below and follow us along on our voyage on our HaveWind Facebook Page where we will post MapShare updates and our GPS location via the Delorme.  Become a Patron for personal messaging capabilities so you can talk with us during the voyage, get up to date photos and video posts as soon as we get wifi and join us in Key West for a Patron Party when we get back from Cuba.  Oh the stories we will tell!

April 12, 2013 – Purchase and Pork; Planning and Provisions

No surprise here. We bought the boat. The closing, in and of itself, was quite uneventful. Just some signing of documents, exchange of papers and emails back and forth. But, our broker was excited (not in that I just made a sweet commission kind of way), but in a genuine, yet even more selfish, I just got another friend with a boat kind of way.) Through the boat-shopping process, we definitely made a friend out of Kevin, and it came out that he and Phillip shared an equal appreciation for all things pig.  Chops, ham, bacon, oh my!  He gave Phillip and I a great “Congrats on Closing!” gift:

BBQ Bible

BBQ Bible note

In case you were wondering, we did try the chop recipe. The book calls them “Sweet and Garlicky Pork Chops” (page 191). We more appropriately named them Kick-ass Asian chops and gobbled them right up!

Asian chops

The BBQ Bible is fab – get you one:

So, with the closing behind us, we were now faced with the daunting task of planning the trip to sail the boat back from Punta Gorda to Pensacola. I, in my infant, virgin, sailing days (I reflect back on those now with affection and a little chuckle, thinking, “Awwww, Annie … tssk, tssk”) I thought it was going to be a glorious vacation. Beautiful, sunny days, the wind blowing through my hair, while I lay basking in the sun on the main deck, not a care in the world. What a grand excursion this would be, I thought. What should I wear? Which bathing suit should I bring? The sporty one? The string bikini? Decisions, decisions! It was like Legally Blonde sets sail!


(In case you were wondering, to my surprise, it appears that has already happened: Yes, they made Legally Blonde into a musical. It was that good.)

Now, you all, who know me well, know I’m far more rough-and-tumble than frills-and-lace, but I simply had no idea how volatile sailing could really be. I didn’t know it was completely, and I mean utterly, inescapably, dependent on the weather. Hence the name of this fine editorial: Have Wind Will Travel. Translation: no wind means no sailing. Extreme wind means extremely rough sailing. Bad weather means bad sailing. On and on. And, I can assure you, sailing, while at times can be just what I envisioned, a pristine sunny day, the wind dancing through your hair while you lay, stretched out like a Brazilian supermodel on the deck (I don’t know about you , but I always look like a supermodel in my daydreams – always), the remaining 68.4% of the time, it’s work. Hard, manual labor. Up and down the companionway stairs, holding the helm against rolling waves, cleaning, scrubbing, cooking, adjusting the sails, coiling the lines, closing the hatches, opening the hatches, cleaning, scrubbing, cooking, folding, packing, docking, up and down the stairs. And, did I mention the cleaning? Scrubbing? And cooking? And, the HEAD, don’t even get me started …

You want me to clean the what?


Yes. With tiny tissues and Clorox wipes. Get to it. (And no, I did not pack the bunny ears for this trip. But thanks for asking.)

I know now what hard work it can be, but I did not know that then. Yet I can assure you every ounce of exerted energy is worth it. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, like being out there on the water. It is incomparable. But, while a hard worker and great cleaner/scrubber/ cooker, I was admittedly new to this whole sailing business, and Phillip knew he needed a good, trusty sailor (a.k.a., a “real salt”) or two to help us make the crossing. While many were interested – apparently, for some, crossing the Gulf in a sailboat is a real bucket list item – few could really take the time off to make the trip. It was going to be a 5-day passage, at least, longer if the weather did not behave (and, clever foreshadowing be damned, know that the weather, in no way, shape or form – behaved. She blew like a scorned mistress. That bitch!).


But, we finally lined up a second mate. (You may be thinking the more talented, knowledgeable bloke is the Second Mate?? You’re darn right. I had already started this blog by then and deemed myself First Mate so … too bad). With our Second Mate, Mitch, whom I will give a raucous, Chaucer-worthy rendition of later, on board, we started planning for the trip. This was going to be quite the excursion. Getting settled into a boat for the first time while simultaneously planning a 5-day passage across the Gulf is kind of like … like packing for a … Or moving into a … No, it was just as it sounds, like moving into a boat, sailing it 150 miles off-shore then crossing the Gulf of Mexico in it. There is nothing I can compare it to. (And believe me, as a writer, I tried, first with a camper trailer trip cross-country, then in an RV on a safari … ). Nothing worked. Nothing could compare to prepping a boat for this passing. There’s sails, rigging, lines, an engine. The galley, stove, saloon and head (I mentioned the head). A life raft, flashlights, flares, emergency provisions. A radio, electronics, batteries, etc. And we had to make sure all of that worked, could be fixed, or could be done without, in the middle of the Gulf. For us, it was a new boat and a new crew, and we were going to give both a massive shake-down right out of the gate. We spent weeks trying to think of everything we were going to need. From paper towels and soap to flashlights and flares, and food. My God! We were going to have to stock a whole kitchen from scratch. It was daunting.

But, thankfully, it resulted in a finely-tuned, every-trusty Provisions List. We created this especially for the Gulf Crossing but we’ve vowed to run through it every time we leave the dock as it’s a great reminder of all the crap you’re going to need to make a passage on the boat (big or small):

As you can see, it was quite detailed, and thorough. And, I can assure you, we still forgot stuff. Plenty of stuff! But, we were definitely of the impression this was a work of art when we had finished it. We planned to drive down to Punta Gorda on a Wednesday (April 17th), set sail early Thursday morning and bring the boat into Pensacola late Monday night. That was the plan, anyway. It always starts with a plan …