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On February 15th eight boats set out in very nice seas for our first stop at the Aqua Palm Island Marina at Cape Haze. After we docked and washed the boats we all gathered at the pavilion for our one and only docktail party. The next afternoon Chef Larry grilled burgers, brats, and dogs for a poolside lunch. The girls played games and the guys played Mexican Train before the 16 of us had a fun dinner at Leverock’s restaurant. The next morning we all headed north on the ICW for the trip to Marina Jack in Sarasota.

The same group of eight boats had a wonderful 3 days in Sarasota that included a pizza anniversary party dockside for the Browns’ anniversary on Friday night. We then strolled the Farmers Market on Saturday morning followed by our traditional fantastic dinner on Saturday night in a private room at the Hyde Park Steakhouse. Our thanks to Larry Sacher for arranging not only the dinner but a shuttle van from the Ritz Carlton for our transportation.

When we left Marina Jack on the 20th we also said goodbye to the Browns who boated home to catch a plane to Montreal for a 90th Birthday Party and unfortunately said goodbye to the Skillerns who left their boat and drove home so Charlie could see his doctor. A hired Captain took Sea Y’all home and Charlie is now as good as ever!

On Monday, the 20th, the remaining six boats took a beautiful ride north on the lCW, under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and across Tampa Bay to the beautiful Vinoy Resort and Marina where we were joined by the Grahams on 0 Sea D. This grand “Old Lady” resort and marina were a first visit for many in our group. The great thing about the Vinoy is its downtown location and the wonderful attractions including the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Glass Collection, the Holocaust Museum and many restaurants within walking distance of the marina. Most evenings from 4:30 to 6:00 pm found a lot of us enjoying the Happy Hour free drink in Marchand’s Bar and Grill in the Vinoy Hotel. We all appreciated another grilled lunch dockside by Chef Larry featuring burgers, brats, and dogs.

One thing about the Vinoy Marina is that it is unprotected from an East wind. Ten years ago Susan and I had to, abandon ship one night at midnight and checked into the Vinoy Hotel due to extremely high winds that prevented us from even standing upon our boat. This year we only had very high winds rather than extremely high winds but on Wednesday we all had to abandon ship during the day and take in other local activities including museums. the movie theater, and few ladies even had to spend the day, and small fortune, holed up in the Vinoy Hotel Spa. Thankfully, the winds died down and the boats settled down by 4pm that afternoon and. everyone had a restful night. We did experience two casualties with Brooks Wood and Larry Sacher both taking a fall on their boats but thankfully there were no broken bones or lost teeth.

On Thursday, the 23rd 0 Sea D and TenneSea Waltz departed for the Longboat Key Marina while the rest of us enjoyed calm day touring downtown St. Pete before packing up and heading out on Friday for The Crow’s Nest Marina in Venice.

Our roughly two-hour cruise in the Gulf to Venice was an exceptionally good ride in nearly flat seas. The five boats of us, Cookin’, My Turn, Seneca, Nauti Buoy, and Sachmo pretty well had the marina to ourselves. That night the ten of us had a great dinner dockside at The Crow’s Nest Restaurant before we took advantage of calm seas to head home to Marco Saturday morning.

This was another fantastic extended cruise by the Marco Bay Yacht Club. We hope more of you will joinus on our next cruise!

Brent Cruise

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