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Senior Correspondent

We’re going to the Bahamas this winter, but we’re not quite ready. For starters, it’s still hurricane season, so late November is a more realistic date, and then there is this biggy. We decided to sell Silver Girl and buy a larger Catalina. We will move from 31 feet to 39 feet overall. This means more interior space which is good. We will have room for crew now. Nice aft cabin. Any takers?

But a larger boat is more to handle. So we have added a bow thruster, which is a transversal propulsion system that makes the boat more maneuverable. For you non-boaters, that is a little propeller thingy in the bow, driven by an electric motor that pushes the bow either toward the dock or away depending on which you need to do. This should make docking (and undocking) easier since Ed can get the bow closer to the dock and I don’t have to jump so far. Now, that being said, we’ve never sailed with a bow thruster so we really don’t know how well this works. It’s impressive when we’ve seen other boaters use it. Surely we can learn.

Here’s the thing. Our new boat (yet unnamed), isn’t ready. It won’t leave the factory in Largo on the Gulf Coast until the end of this month, then the dealer in Palmetto needs 6 weeks to put on all the deck hardware, step the mast, paint the bottom and a whole lot of other things. Bottom line, it isn’t nearly done when it leaves the factory.

We will have a full day of orientation, including a short voyage with someone from Massey Yacht Sales when she is ready. Then we will sail her down the West Coast of Florida, around Florida Keys to the East Coast so that we can take off for the Bahamas. This will be our maiden voyage and in areas we have never sailed. That in itself should be interesting.

We do intend to get to Norman’s on this trip. We need to walk the runway and think about all that happened some 30 years ago when Carlos Lehder owned much of this island and created his own little drug kingdom here. We’ve read a lot about those years but need to walk the walk so to speak. All this history plays a role in our next novel, "Night Watch."

Now, the big question is, what to name the boat? Any ideas anyone?

May the wind be at your back.

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