I sold my O’Day 25 back in October to nice young guy who is planning on taking her on a trip down the Mississippi and out on to the Ten-Tom waterway this upcoming summer. I got enough for the boat and I was glad to finally sell her. So then began the search for the next boat. I was thinking of going for a Beneteau 265 that was (still is) for sale in Michigan but, the more I thought about the size of that boat, the draft, etc… I pulled back from that. I then set my sights on getting a Beneteau First 235. I had always wanted one and I figured it was time for me to get a great sailing boat and one that would do right by me as well.
I searched Craig’s List, Sailboat Listings, and Yacht World. I found two First 235’s in Carlyle Illinois within a few miles of each other. How could I miss right? Well I did, they got sniped right out from under me. Need to move faster, especially with these boats as yes, they are a bit on the higher end price wise but, they are very sought after boats. My friend Clay, aka Jackdaw out in forum land and blog here, texted me about a 235 in of all places Florida. Well there was one also in Canada but seriously, $18,500??? Anyway, I checked the ad and gave the seller a call.
Larry was selling the boat for a friend of his that lived out of state but kept the boat in Bradenton Florida. We talked for a bit then I rechecked the ad and then I decided to just make a damn offer. After losing two I had to move quickly. The seller wanted $12,500 so I called Larry and basically said “Hell, I’ll give him $10,000 for it and I can wire a deposit today.” So he called the seller back, and within a couple of hours, I had me a deal! So yeah!! I bought a boat…. Oh crap, in FLORIDA. 1600 give or take miles away from home. Epic road trip ahead.
So the next couple of days we took care of the particulars and the deposit and I started making plans to make the run from Minneapolis to Bradenton. I decided my son and I would leave the day after Christmas and do a 2 day, 800 miles a day, run to Florida. Then we would look over the boat, take care of business, spend a day in Florida so my son could experience the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, then we would head back. Taking three days to get back. That ended up being basically 600, 600, & 400 mile days. In reality it was a little different. We will get to all that later…..
So my son and I got up about 5:30am on 12/26/2014 and we were on the road by 6:15am. The drive was pretty uneventful for the most part to Clarksville Tennessee. Google for some reason did have us get off the interstate and drive on some county roads in Illinois in to Kentucky, and then drive through a town in Kentucky and then on to some sort of “parkway/highway” and then back on the interstate to Tennessee. We got to see some of rural America I guess and Stu thought a Drive-Thru liquor store was pretty amusing but, could have done without it and would have liked to stay on the interstate. Also, we did get a bit turned around in Kentucky as it had gotten dark and I missed an on ramp. The GPS did its job and got us on the interstate eventually. No idea what type of area we drove through as it was dark. We got to The Red Roof Inn in Clarksville fine and we checked in, grabbed some dinner and then off to bed for the run to Florida.
We got up early the next morning and started on our way to Florida. Everything was going quite well until we got to Atlanta. Driving through town was not the best for traffic but, it wasn’t all that bad. One note on driving in Georgia…. THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS!!! They drive like they are going through Eau Rouge at Spa or the Parabolica at Monza. Seriously, no wonder they have such high traffic deaths, over 1000 in 2014. No signals, trying to put two vehicles in the same space in a lane, that does kinda break the laws of physics Captain…. Anyway, just outside of Atlanta the traffic came to a halt. I figured it was just traffic but, after almost 2 hours and having to exit to get gas as we were just mostly idling, we finally say a traffic board sign that said there was an all lane blocking accident north of Macon. Yeah, that was a bad deal. We say the skid marks of probably a semi-trailer truck at the mile marker but that was about it. 2 hours later. So hopefully no one was hurt or worse in that. We got to our hotel (Super 8) in Ellenton Florida 2 hours later than we wanted but, we got there. I texted Larry and let him know we were in and that we were on to look at the boat around 11am the next day.
Stu and I got up around 8:30am the next day as well, we could. We got ready and headed over to the Anna Maria Oyster bar right by the hotel to meet up with Larry. We exchanged pleasantries and then we followed Larry over to the little marina that the boat was slipped in. The boat looked great, there were some personal items on the boat that apparently the owner did not care about but, other than that, she was in great shape. I had already figured on buying new sails and when I felt the fabric of the main, well, it felt like a bed sheet. Everything looked to be in great condition and we decided to meet up at 10am the next day to haul the boat and get her rigged for the road and then Stu and I would start heading home.
Stu had never seen an ocean beach or salt water so we went to Hooters for lunch and then headed for a beach. The waitress at Hooters had suggested some beach a little south in Sarasota and that there would be “signs everywhere”. Yeah no. We got in to congested traffic in Sarasota and turned around. Asked the GPS for Bradenton Beach and eventually we got to the “Public 64 Beach” as the locals apparently call it. Stu enjoyed himself in the sun, sand and sea. It was a gorgeous day, 79 degrees, sunny, and about 5kts of breeze. We watched the sun set, then headed back to our hotel to shower and then grab dinner at the Oyster Bar, who funny enough had run out of oysters, and then back to the hotel to relax and get some more rest before the busy next day.
Next up, hauling the boat and getting it rigged for the road.