'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

The plan – Phase Three…

On May 12th, the crew of Sionna crossed back into Maine by land, having covered in 4 days the distance it took them 5 months to traverse by sea. Trust me, the sea-version was a lot more fun, and interesting!

What follows is a recap of what just happened (Maine to Florida, August ’16 to May ’17), and the continuing plan for the crew of the sailing vessel “Sionna”, as well as we can make it.   First, what we did:

July 2016 – Moved into a 36 foot RV in Rockport Maine while we finished readying the boat for a long cruise.

August 15, 2016 – Having moved aboard Sionna – our 32′ sailboat – we dropped the mooring in Rockland Harbor, and began to work our way south. Having adopted a Vegan diet due to Keith’s cancer scare, we no longer carried butter aboard, but we could tell we’d gone far enough when everything else on the boat – including the crew – began to melt. As we said over a year ago: “The point is the journey – experiencing the charms and challenges of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.”

We did, and it was good.

Winter 2017 – “From January through April we’ll be seeing what there is to be seen in the Florida Gulf Coast and Keys. No specifics are available or intended. Since it costs half as much for us to live on the boat as in a land house, anything is possible.”
We did that too. I never expected to spend 2 months anchored/moored in Marathon n, Florida (Boot Key Harbor) but that’s what happened, and all in all, it was ok.  I (Keith) wouldn’t choose to stay there so long another time, though.

Spring 2017 – Leave the boat in Florida someplace safe, and fly back to Maine – and our RV – for the summer to work for cruising chips.
The boat is safely stored in a yard near Placida, Florida, as secure from hurricane and vandal as we can make her, and we’ve driven back to Maine, for work eventually, but first to finish the saga of the retinal detachment begun last October in Hampton, VA. Three more procedures, and Keith should have two eyes again.

Fall-Winter 2017-’18 – return to Sionna in Florida, and cross to the Bahamas until Spring.
And that’s still the plan!

After that, we have absolutely no idea. Noise has been made about bringing Sionna back north from the Bahamas, but we’ll see where we end up.

Remember: If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!img_1308

Update: August 2, 2019

We’ve now deviated so far from anything we’d imagined or planned, “update” hardly seems to cover it! While we did return to the boat in the fall of 2017, we also ended up leaving her at a friends dock for January and February of 2018, then but her back in storage in April and drove ourselves back to Maine for – we thought then – the summer.

But life continued to happen. Nicki needed a land base, and I had to have my eye monitored, so we made the hard choice to stay in Maine for the winter of 2018-’19, and rather than cruising, took on the (sometimes seemingly endless) task of rehabilitating an old house – a project that we’re still working on as I write.

The Bahamas never happened for us, but the Dry Tortugas did. Our next phase will likely be returning Sionna to her proper home, back here to Maine, in the winter of 2020.

Fingers crossed!

Update: January 5, 2020

The flight is booked, the arrangements arranged, the plans planned…

We leave for the boat in 10 days, with the intention of launching by the first week of February and beginning the trek north. We have no firm itinerary, but we do kinda need to be back in Maine about June 1 – and certainly don’t want to arrive any sooner than that, because it would be too darn cold!

This trip promises to have one over-riding difference from the trip south, in that rather than hurrying to get where it’s warm, we’ll be dragging our feet not to get where it’s cold. We also have a list of places we missed on the way down that we’d like to visit, so with luck, we’ll have the time to relax a little more.

Relax? What’s that? Follow along, and see if we manage it!

24 thoughts on “The plan – Phase Three…

  1. Your about 5 years ahead of me, but I’ll catch up!


  2. I really wanted to develop a message to express gratitude to you for all the precious advice you are giving on this site. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really something which I believe I’d by no means understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking ahead for your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Used to live in Florida and I’ve been to the Bahamas. That sounds like a lovely plan, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a marvelous plan! Bon voyage.
    @RhondaGilmour from
    Late Blooming Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really love your attitude and the name of your blog! Very original and I hope you will need a fridge for that butter soon!! 🙂

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    Liked by 1 person

    • So do we, but you know, it’s SNOWING here today! Only way I can look outside without crying is by reminding myself that this is likely our LAST snow for the next three years! That’s even more powerful than melting butter.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pretty cold and rainy here as well. When will spring arrive??? At least you have good prospects. Mark and I have already decided this was our first and only winter in New England. We will head west or south by the end of the year! 🙂

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Remember, 1.2 meters is your magic number! Anywhere the chart says 1.2 you are good to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Best of luck, should be an enjoyable trip as you have planned the timing well. I sail a 1964 triangle 32 pilothouse sloop. I am located in Fernandina Beach Florida. Lived on the boat for 5 years, but just bought a house. Would like to see your boat if your passing through and I am around. Fernandina is a great stop so plan on it. I have sailed the west coast of florida ,the keys, and abacos bahamas. Pretty easy stuff as long as the engine works and you have tow insurance. Only insurance I have ever come out ahead on. So have a great time and e-mail me when your around or if you want to pick my brains on any info on local cruising.


    • Hey Chris, thanks for stopping by!
      The Triangle boats are pretty rare out there-nice to hear from another happy owner. We’re pretty devoted sailors, so the “ditch” is going to be a new experience for us. ‘We heard good things about Fernandina Beach generally, but what’s the anchoring situation? Seems Florida has become pretty antagonistic to non-marina dwellers… And that would be us.


      • There is an endless amount of places to anchor, that is not a problem. I would stay to the north of the mooring field. Holding is good. Fernandina is a great place to stop the one negative and it is a big one, is the two giant papermills right on the waterfront. These are tough to deal with if the wind is blowing your way. The town is at the waterfront so you have a lot of bars, restaurant, showers at marina, laundry, a hardware store, a “freds” which is like a very small walmart. they sell some food but nothing fresh. For fresh food or extensive groceries you will need to go to winn-dixie which is a 2 mile trip. A cab ride is probably $6 . There is also a trolley that travels the island for $3 I think. Goes to the beach, walmart etc.. A couple of other things to mention in considering the stop, we do have a boat yard here if you needed something fixed. I wouldn’t go there if I had a choice only because it is a bit pricey for the DIY person, but it is here and I do use it since I live here. About 3 miles from the tip of the island is Cumberland Island in GA. This is a stop you will want to make. It is a national park, undeveloped island with several good anchorages. Also note the St Marys river entrance to the atlantic is about as good an ocean pass as you can get. 50 feet deep, wide enough for a battleship. So if you get some settled weather and decide to come down the outside you can get into Fernandina safely in almost any weather. If you need anything let me know.


  9. GREAT info Chris, thank you! We’re planning g to take the inside route mostly, but it’s good to know the good inlets just in case.
    And Cumberland island is on our “definite stops” list, thanks!


  10. Why would you put the butter in the bildge?


    • Actually in Maine on a boat without refrigeration that’s a perfect spot. Never gets above 65 degrees, since it’s below the waterline. The perfect spreading temperature!
      Of course now that I’m not eating dairy, it’s less pertinent…


  11. So exciting! Enjoy your travels and keep us all up to date!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations! Have an amazing trip! Can’t wait to follow you and copy you someday!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Much happiness to you, Keith and Nicki! We were going to sing this yesterday to see you off, but you had so many well-wishers wanting to get a glimpse of you before you slipped out of the harbor, and we didn’t want to interrupt the farewells. So here are the words, and we’ll sing it just for you in May.

    I have traveled far from this island strand
    From the icy wastes to the burning sand,
    Crossed the raging sea, seen the verdant land,
    Been at home in a place far away.

    So goodnight, my friends, as the dawn comes pale
    And the eastern wind brings a threat of gale.
    Keep a hold on hope through the darkest vale,
    And we’ll meet further on down the road.

    Many differences, but much the same,
    Though the ways are strange and have different names,
    And a friendly face breaks a thousand chains,
    And a smile breaks the lock on the door.

    We have joined in song, laughed the night away,
    Swapped our tales of woe, kept the clouds at bay.
    In the morning clear we’ll be on our way,
    And we’ll meet further on down the road.

    So let’s drink a health to good times gone by,
    When our spirits soared, and we touched the sky,
    And we’ll bid farewell, but not goodbye,
    And we’ll meet further on down the road.

    “The Goodnight Song” © Jim Boyes

    Liked by 2 people

    • How lovely! I wish you had ! We’d have cried, but that’s Ok. 🙂
      Thank you for that, we’ll hear it when we get back. And many thanks for coming to see us off – that was delightful!


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