By my own count, (might not be exactly right), I have owned over 44 boats since I was 12 years old. This boat, the "Sterling Lady Three" , is the epitome of what I consider to be the perfect boat for cruising the Great Loop.. My smallest was 12 feet, and the biggest was a 44 ft. Marine trader aft cabin trawler.
Oddly enough, I am the only guy I know who went to a smaller boat on purpose and felt good about it! See Sterling Lady III pictured lower on this page.
The New Sterling Lady III, the day we purchased her.
Ok, the interior needed updating -
Gonna experiment with painting the yellow formica cabinets.
Sterling Lady II
(The bigger old boat)
That's me at the helm of the old Sterling Lady 2 with the new owner, after the sale. The Cash is in the bank, the fat lady is singing! Can you see me smiling? ;-}
Purchased the Lady 6/28/05, spend a week on her in Stuart at the St. Lucie Lock Docks (relatively cheap, $16 a day) and then brought her down to Key Largo on 7/7/05, just in time for Hurricane Dennis!
Coming down thru Card Sound was a continual stream of Trawlers, Cruisers and Sailboats that were hightailing it North, running from the Storm.
We were headed South.
More than one boat called on the VHF and said were were going the wrong way!
We got home in time to secure the Lady in the middle of the canal, and luckily,
Dennis did no harm to the Lady or Key Largo. We dodged the bullet once again!
Maybe I should change the name of the boat to Hurricane Chaser?
Initial "Repairs & Add Ons"
New carpet in Salon $75
New carpet on Bridge $125
Two throwable cushions $20
New Flares $18
16 inch TV with DVD player $150
4 plastic deck chairs (from my tour boat, personal thing)
Rebuilt water pump $25 for the kit
Clean Bilge $25
Fuel filters for genny and Yanmar $45
Updated GPS for Bridge (from other boat)
Tint window with DARK limo tint, all around $400
6 new lines and line holders $110
Small Inverter for bridge $80
Small Inverter for Salon $125
Bimini top for aft deck of bridge $950
Follow me TV $975
Electric fuel pump $125
Spare belts,impeller, etc $250
Hurricane Katrina took the bridge station bimini $350
Had to rebuild Genny Injectors $400
Bigger Bruce look alike Anchor $150 Ebay
30' chain for anchor $114
4 step folding ladder $120
Changed from a 20 lb. to 39 lb Bruce $175
Added 35 ft. Chain to anchor line $131
EZ anchor Puller $2,000
Fender holders for bow $90
Tremendously loud Horns $300
(Total not known, don't wanna know!)
After 4 weeks of work -
We leave for a two week "cruise to nowhere", on the west coast of Florida. In preparation, we have done lots of honey do's and additional add ons.
First and foremost, I bought myself a garmin 192 color chartplotter GPS. It comes with all the charts for the coast of the USA. It was extravagant, but lets call that my Christmas present to myself.
I subscribed to the Verizon Air Card, which gives me unlimited internet access wherever there is Verizon service for $80 a month. So far here in Florida, works well just about everywhere.
Purchased a bigger Bruce anchor, a 38 lb. model, replacing the too small 20 lb. that came with the vessel.
Added 35 ft. of anchor chain.
Wired the salon and bow for satellite TV (yes the "follow me" is working)
Filled the tanks - 170 gallons - $468. That sucks!
Plans are to depart tomorrow after work at 5pm. Can't wait!
Rita cut's into our vacation
Departed Key Largo, Tarpon Basin, Bayside at 6 PM, headed South to one of my favorite anchorages, The Lorelei in Islamorada. The 3 and a half hour cruise was the beginning of a two week "Cruise to Nowhere" exploring the west coast of Florida.
We arrived and got anchored down about 10 PM, which of course, opened up happy hour and a dingy ride to the Lorelei Bar.
The next morning, Saturday, we were up at dawn, and underway south to the Yacht channel, about 12 miles South.
I heard on the radio that tropical Depression 19, later to be named Rita, was a threat to the Keys. We decided to head South to Boot Key, anchorage for the evening, and monitor this depression then make our decision whether to head North to the West Coast, or head back home.
Well, Rita started getting nasty, and was heading on a projected path just South of the keys. Needless to say, Sunday morning we were headed back home to prep for another storm!
Good news is, it barely effected Key Largo. The highest wind gusts were about 50 MPH. There was no real damage, the electric stayed on. We dodged the bullet again. Dang!
To celebrate surviving another bullet, I bought myself a Garin 192! Didn't really need it, had a 162, just wanted it. Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday, me.
Left Key Largo again, day after Rita, Winds 30 knots.
Left early October to the St. Johns River, 685 miles (according to my gps) from home, in Tarpon Basin. This would be the 1st real cruise on the lady. I thought we brought everything, however, I did forget the camera, so I had to use my camera phone for the St. Johns River Trip Picture Page.
We attended the Pirates on the water, our local parot head based boating club raft up for new years eve. There were about 15 boats in attendance, and the nite was perfect! 76 degrees. very light breeze, no waves, real nice, a chamber of commerce day.
The Raft up started at 4 pm, needless to say, some did not make the full evening,, a bit too many libatioins perhaps?
Just how many persons will a 36 Float??
And of course, our club's token sailboat
Just before this picture was taken, Myself and about 10 people had moved one boat south. I looked down at the waterline of the boat, about a foot under water. That's what prompted the move.
Miles and miles of unspoiled beach.Not a footprint in the sand cept for ours! you could see all the dead trees from Hurricane Wilma. Looked like the water flood was about 10 feet.
If your into shelling and driftwood, this is the spot! Bring a bucket. A big bucket.
1/23/06 Sunset, departed Key Largo, 3 hours later arrived Lorili Anchorage. Lorili is closed due to hurricane damage, so did Happy Hourz on the boat, then dingyed over to World Wide Sportsman for cocktails.
1/24/06 Up at dawn, heading North up the Gulf. Stoped at Cape Sable for Shelling and driftwood. Because of all the Hurricanes, lots and lots of driftwood!.
Dropped the hook at Shark River with 6 other sail boats. I was the token power boat. Shark is on of the few protected spots you can anchor going up the gulf between the Keys and Goodland. You could see debree in the dead trees that floated in about 12 ft. high !
1/23/06 Up at Dawn , underway and arrived at Ft. Meyers Centenial Marina at 1:30. Time to get off the boat for a while. Rented a car from enterprise, and off to the ELKS with Joanne and Stan.
The lady in Slip b30 Centenial Marina
Ft. Meyers Centenial Marina has it all! Seriously, it really does~!
Found LOTs of Driftwood at Cape Sable including this annimal looking one. Say Hello to Cappy.
The latest addition, a $300 West Marine BBQ. It actually works really well, and mounted on the rail easily. wow, something that works like it supposed to.
But what they don't tell ya, the cover is $50, and the kit to rail mount it is $30. Don't ya just love West Marine.
This is what 2.75 MILLION dollars will buy you on the ICW up around Hallandale Fl. Did notice this trip the OkeeChobee Waterway has built alot of new homes, and a lot were for sale. this is in 06
The Goodyear Blimp was cruising the Ft.Lauderdale beaches.
There were still some "blue" roofs from Hurricane Wilma
Apparently, this guy held out and would not sell to the condo developers.
When we left Roland and Maryann Martins , to cross the lake , the winds were 29 mph and gusting. The waves in Lake O are close and square!
It's important to know about Right of way ;-}
We anchored at Miami Marina stadium,, this was our day and nite view. It felt very Miami Vice ish. Kept expecting Don Jonhson to show up.
The white pvt. docks are $1.25 ft, behind are the FREE city docks, being rebuit, and as of January 06 done.
They killed the tress as they were killing lake O!
Slip B-40 at centenial marina
This is what happens when you go too fast in a straight cannal, on a clear, windless Saturday morning. No they are NOT launching!
When the cost of cru$ing does not matter...................... Nordhaven.
This is the dry land storage yard on the Lake O waterway, in a field in the middle of nowhere.
This was almost disasterous, however, the quick thinking of the calm St. lucie Dockmaster saved the day. The edge of the dink caught on the bullard, and the lower unit wedged into the ladder. It was locked in. The dock master had to reverse the water flow, raising it so we could release the captured dingy. Whew!
Classic Motor Yacht in West Palm Beach
The is the low R.R bridge, the sailboaters hate.
Did I mention it got cold several mornings ?
Lake O from the rim route
This is what I call "the new Key Largo" a hummer parked in front of the $500,00 single wide!
It's quickly becoming the Rich mans paradise. Damit!
The Continuing Adventures of
Follow me TV, dont' leave home without it!
4/19/06 This Thursday taking a 4 day weekend jaunt down to Islamorada, and then Marathon, and then?? Details and Photos to follow. First boat trip in Months! $ea$on has ended, Easter week, and in fact $ea$on did not really come to Key Largo this year, so I am going off to pout about it for a while. Some Drinking may be included this weekends activities.
4/21/06 departed Key Largo 5:30 PM, on the Marathon trip, tonight's destination, Lorelei Anchorage, where else?
Anchored out at Lorelei, and spent a quiet nite on the boat. And with all those bars so close by......
The next morning,Up at Sunrise, ( I call that my Fathers Curse) and I am heading south.
Checking the weather on the vhf, winds were predicted at 10 to 15.
So in a Frugal attempt to save some miles and Fuel, I decide to duck out at Channel five bridge to take Hawks channel ocean side down to Boot Key . Discovered the winds were higher than predicted and Hawks channel quite rolley. The decision was to continue on ocean side, or turn around and go back to the smooth bayside, so breakfast could be made.......
So 2 hours later , here we are,all fed and going under the 7 mile bridge from Bayside......oh well.
Yes, someone actually lives on this boat. We looked in as we passed it.
The high cost of living in the Keys makes any roof a home. The Yellow sticker on the side indicates it will be towed soon.
Keys Conch statement "I have to admit , the were FAR fewer daralict vessel than before, and all were yellow stickered. Way to go Boot Key!
Spent the afternoon at Sombrero bar,, this is possibly why there are not so many pictures?
In my own defense, I did spend several hours pondering the advertisements on the koozies. What could they mean?
Had dinner and cocktails that evening with Charles and Pat Culotta and Guests on board their tricked out boat "CC Rider"
And of course, no trip to Boot Key is complete until you get a visit from the pump out boat, affectingly know as the "Terd Tug"
2/2/2/06 Had brunch about 11 am at Sombrero with Margaret and Mark (m and M) from "Micka", Larry and Terry from "Outer Reef", and Charles and Pat from "CC rider". I hope to get them to send me pictures of their vessels, mine were too bad to use. About 1 PM, "Sterling Lady" and "CC Rider" departed for Key Largo. Today's destination, the Lorelei anchorage, 3 hours north.
Because of our low 16 feet air draft, we we.re able to clear the 19 ft. clearance in the locals cut on the north side of 7 mile bridge. Unfortunately, "CC Rider" had to go down to Moser Channel 2 miles south,due to air draft. We waited bayside for them then headed north.
Headed north off Marathon, the waters were a gorgeous blue and green, and we had the end of the world on our port side. I forgot how nice the waters down here can be. We arrive Lorelei anchorage about 7 PM, and went to the Lorelei, which was too crowed, but nicely redone since the hurricanes. We ended up at the Whistle Stop for dinner and drinks. It's a great local spot , it ya get the chance.
Jim and Shirley from "Mutual Fun" joined us for dinner at the Whistle Stop. This is their boat at sunrise, as we depart the Lorelei anchorage in Islamorada for Key Largo. We arrive home about 1 PM. D-ang, long weekend is over, it's back to work.
Total miles for this trip, including Sundays romp around Key Largo, 127.
Mooring fee Boot Key $14.
Note the new fender holder$ and the anchor winch!
And they say cruisers don't contribute to the economy,, bull!
Terry and Larry were also guests. They have the "Outer Reef"
And Martin and Margret of the MV "Mika"
New years eve, Key Largo Style!
Doing Florida's Mini Loop
It's not the size of your boat, it's how you use it! ;-}
Today, 5/14/06, added another "absolutly nesssary" item to the boat.
A relatively "big" LCD TV! In our little salon, it's like having a real BIG screen, even though it isn't.
Now if I can only add Surround Sound??
Of all the places in Florida we have cruised, this is my personal favorite cruising grounds! I strongly recomend it if you get the oportunity, take this trip.
Dec.25th update: Santa brought me a TREMENDOUS set of 3 large LOUD, VERY LOUD, horns. They will be installed on the port side of the bridge, for those "searays" and the like that need to wake. Keeping the old small quiet horns , for polite regular use.
By the way, no annimals were tested or harmed in the making of this site!
Some local "pirates" celebrating life.
Length 36 ft.
Draft 3 ft.
hp 200 yanmar (2006)
Water 100 gallons
fuel 400 gallons
waste 25 gallons
3.5 kw northern lights
Cruise 8.5 knots
This vessel is a 1977 36ft. Morgan Heritage (the sailboat people made it) and was Captain owned, by a retired working Freighter Captain who had planned on keeping the boat, and upkept her as such. For me it was love at first site - a boat with most of the common problems fixed, including a new bottom fiberglass job. It's the only vessel I have ever been on that absolutely everything was fresh, clean, maintained and believe it or not - worked!!
She has a new Yanmar 200 HP diesel, new northern lights Gen set, the bottom has been scraped and re-fiberglassed, new paint top to bottom, including sealer and antifowling, Bow thruster (my first one), and the usual radar, VHF's. GPS, auto pilot, etc.
Never say Never!
The above statement was made in 2005, I have since cruised 2 loops and 19,000 miles in this boat, which I have since sold, and , yes I bought a