Boating Articles by Tom

Starting with the little two-person inflatable raft I had as my very first boat, I have always loved the freedom and the feeling of being out on the water. With my father's help, I added a hard plywood floor to that little inflatable, and that was the beginning of a long chain of boats I have owned, loved, maintained, modified, fixed, enjoyed, and scared myself to death on over the past few decades.
A lot of boating time is spent fixing boats, maintaining boats, and upgrading boats with new boating equipment to suit our specific tastes and needs. Lots of salespeople at stores that sell marine boating supplies and boating accessories have learned to recognize me over the years. I have spent my share of time and money working on just about anything you could name on a boat, and made plenty of mistakes. I'm here to share the lessons learned.

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 7: We Make Port St. Joe

A heron taking flight A pine clings to the bank for dear life Winner of the junky boat contest — and there were a lot of entries on this trip! It was rough and crudely built, but this makeshift gangway did its job. Part Seven: Oct. 21, … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 6: To White City and the Alligator Hunters

Apalachicola is prettier from out in the river than it is up close. A sunken sailboat at the city marina. The spate of hurricanes turned a lot of docks into just pilings. Many have still not been repaired or replaced. A barge … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 5: Kayaking in the Bayou, Repairing the Boom Vang

Anchored sailboats at dawn in Scipio Creek Sunken and derelict commercial fishing boats were a common sight along the waterway. A cypress appears to be levitating above the water. It was actually bolted to a piling, and had a bird house for … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 4: Apalachicola and Scipio Marina

Charlie K docked at the Scipio Marina in Apalachicola. Apalachicola is a waterfront junkyard dominated by sinking fishing boats and broken docks Boss Oyster was Apalachicola's version of a glitzy waterfront restaurant. It's not often that the … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 3: Dinghying to Dog Island, Fixing Things

We took the dinghy to go exploring on Dog Island, which seemed like a land that time forgot. There was much hurricane erosion in evidence on Dog Island. There were more cars on Dog Island — junked out and rusting in the salt air — than either … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 2: The Night Crossing from He**

Part Two: Oct. 15, 2006 Through The Minefield Sonja studies the chartplotter manual while the autopilot keeps the boat on course. After a late (8am) start, we headed up to Seahorse Reef before making our turn toward the panhandle. There … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 1: Departure, and Dolphins

My Klepper foldable kayak (the dark red bag on the settee) proved to be the most difficult to stow. It seemed to be in the way no matter where I put it, even on this roomy Irwin 38. Yes, that's a dog leash on the table — Nicki would accompany … [Read more...]

A Sailing Cruise to Florida’s Panhandle

A Sailing Cruise From Tampa Bay to the Panhandle, and Back Again October 2006 We cruised to the Panhandle in Charlie K, a 38' Irwin center cockpit sloop belonging to our friends Jon and Ginger Part 1: Oct. 13-14 Departure from Tarpon Springs — … [Read more...]