I guess it would make sense to take a minute and tell you about our boat Tripppin. Tripppin is a 2004 Hydra Sports Vector 33 with triple Mercury 275 Verados. The engines are 06′ models and were hung on the boat after the original owner tossed the 300 HPDIs that came on her from the factory in Tennessee.
We (my business partner/best friend and I) bought the boat by total chance off eBay on New Years night in 2010. Owning a boat with triple 275 Verados seemed like a good idea after a few cocktails, and we’d been looking for a new ride for months. We placed a bid that night, and hit the road to pick her up a few weeks later. This was our first major ($ wise) boating investment, and we were all pretty nervous. The nerves calmed when we pulled into Biloxi the night before we arranged to pick up the boat. A few hours at the Craps table, and we were all ahead enough to feel good about the day. The next morning, we met up with the seller, took the boat out into a nasty windy, choppy bay and stretched her legs.
The Hydra is extremely dry and comfortable, and the appeal for this large a a boat was being driven by our vacations including more and more friends over the years. You spend enough time on a boat with dive and fishing gear all over the deck, and you’ll realize that a boat is almost never too large. We’d also wanted to try our hand at some real island hopping and the Hydra was well equipped to handle the job. One the way home we (Lane) decided to name her Tripppin (3 Ps) for many reasons, but the most obvious was our intentions to take the boat on a lot of trips and the other small fact that we were probably tripping when we thought of buying a boat like this.
We spent a lot of time upgrading her navigation systems, truing up the electrical system and getting the Verados up to snuff but it was all worth it. I’ve owned/co-owned numerous popular brands like Fountain, Donzi, Proline and so on, but the layout and usability of the Hydra is unbeatable.
LOA: 33 ft 0 in
Beam: 10 ft 6 in
Maximum Draft: 2 ft 10 in
Bridge Clearance: 7 ft 9 in
Engine Brand: Mercury
Engine Model: 4-Stroke Supercharged Outboards
Total Power: 825
Fresh Water: 29
Read about our latest adventure in Tripppin here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-9N.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-a4.
The Next morning most of us awoke to mild hangovers, and adding insult to injury we were faced a somewhat nasty weather forecast. The seas were ranging from 1-3 feet inshore, building to 2-4 feet with thunderstorms and high winds in the gulfstream. It would figure that the day we’re crossing would be nasty, but we’d come this far and we weren’t turning around. Four foot seas were doable in the boat, so we loaded knowing were going to get a little beating and soaking wet. It was ironic since the weather that morning was so nice in the marina. We took off out of Lake Worth Inlet and headed for the tip of West End.
The weather was great, the seas were solid two-footers, and the radio blared on Jimmy Buffett for the first hour. We only had four miles to go that day before we were officially in the Gulf Stream, and the weather seemed to be holding out for us early on. After we were about 25 miles offshore Lane and I started to notice this nasty thunderhead off to the southeast. We both said nothing, which was pretty typical. We’ve been doing these types of trips long enough that a lot of things go unspoken between us, but not unnoticed. A few minutes later I finally tuned to him and said, “We can’t get in front of this thing.” To which he said, “Let’s shoot north, speed up, and see what happens.” I honestly didn’t have a better plan and this storm wasn’t looking like it was going to break or slow its progress. I sped up. We were now cruising at an average speed of 36mph and the seas were picking up. Not only were we getting some nasty bumps on the keel, but the temps fell off drastically. So much so that everyone on the boat was now cold. The three things you never want to experience 30 miles offshore are nasty thunderheads with lightning, and cold air. Fortunately, this storm didn’t look like it had any lightning up its sleeve… but I’ve been wrong before.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-aG.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-a1.
Ok, so we left Atlanta for our boat ramp in West Palm Beach, which was a mere 600 miles away. Once my Dad, Lane and I hit the road we were in high spirits, and the nerves calmed a bit as I looked back on all the planning we’d done. The run-of-show was to drive to Orlando, pick up Rusty and Sarah on the side of the Turnpike, and keep making our way to West Palm. Once we stopped off at our usual “road trip Chipotle” we finally made it to the rest stop to get the hoodlums that would accompany us on the remainder of the trip. Rusty and Sara were more than ready to get on the road after hanging out with the local Floridians at the travel plaza. A part of me still thinks that they love the local trucker lingo. A few more hours and we had the boat in the water loaded to the hilt, fueled up and the truck stowed in a safe spot in the parking lot for the next 10 days. Time to go!
Ok, well it wasn’t really time to go, because it was dusk, and the sun was setting after an 11-hour day on the road. Fortunately, we were smart enough to plan for a hotel and we shacked up at the Sail Fish Marina for the evening. We tied the boat up, ordered some drinks at the bar, and proceeded to unload the roughly 2k pounds of gear we’d packed. Ironically, this was the part of the trip I was the most concerned about since boats like ours love to disappear in South Florida. It’s so bad that insurance premiums for triple-engine boats are about 7X more in Miami than they are in Georgia. The boat was tied up, and we were happy to finally have the first major leg of the trip complete.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-af.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-9N.
Now, let me preface by saying that these aren’t normal vacations like 99% of the world takes. It takes a special breed of person to come on a trip like this. There are no guarantees when you set out on a trip that you pulled out of thin air and completely made up. You may end up holed up in a dive bar for 10 days waiting out nasty storms, being sick from contaminated water, or flying in insanely expensive parts on a bush plane for the boat that you broke the day before. Turns out only one of those actually happened, but all of them have happened to me at some point in my travels. The people you choose to invite may end up hating you for dragging them along and asking them to spend a small fortune to finance a trip from hell. On the flipside, when it all works out the experience is nothing short of life-altering excitement and fun. One phone call and we had our usual rag-tag crew of wanna-be island dwellers locked down for better or worse. It was time to load and go. Knowing that everyone’s schedules wouldn’t work out we determined that it was best to take half the crew over by boat and have the other folks fly in. That way, the boat would be light enough to make the trip safely and everyone could enjoy the ride over without being crowded.
Tickets were booked, and the boat was prepped after some serious hustling by Lane and I. Boats are never really 100%, but that’s another post for another day. By the time the week rolled around we were all so excited we couldn’t’ stand it. I was both nervous, and excited for “the crossing”. The boat was plenty capable, but I had doubts about my skills. Of course, no one knew how nervous I was because that wouldn’t be a good thing to show my wife, family or passengers. Whenever you set out to do something new it’s always a challenge, but this was unique since I’d have other people’s lives in my hands. For those of you who came on the trip that are reading this now… I never had a doubt. Ha.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-a4.
So the title is a little misleading, but we did actually take an amazing trip to the Bahamas on our boat (Tripppin). Yes, you read that right; we drove a boat from the coast of Florida all the way to the Abacos. Where are the Abacos you ask? Well, they are in the middle of nowhere, and that was the whole point of the trip. The Abacos are a rather large chain of islands, but the towns are fairly small and have collective population around 15,000. They aren’t very easy to get to by boat unlike many other areas of the Bahamas, (Bimini, West End) and that was sort of the allure of this place.
Ok, so let me back up a bit. First, you need to know that I grew up with a Dad, who for most of my life I recall being single and adventurous. Now he was always around, so don’t get the wrong idea, but he did know how to have fun with his friends. They would pack up for weeks, sometimes a month at a time to head to the islands. What islands you ask? Any of them, and probably all of them at some point or another in his travels. What I’m getting at here is that I grew up with a Father who knew how to see things that most people only read about in magazines, or noticed on the cover of a Conde Nast publication while waiting at the airport to board a flight to Toledo.
When you grow up around that type of “go anywhere, see it all” mentality it’s tough to shake it, even as you get older. I’m sitting here writing this with the thought of my next trip in the back of my mind, and that’s something I really appreciate. It’s also something that can be a real pain to juggle with the typical two-week corporate vacation policy most of the working world is dealt. Couple that with the fact that I’m not a Kennedy or Kardashian, and you’re now looking at travel through real persons eyes.
Ok, now for the trip. My buddies, Lane, Scott and I have been planning a trip to the “islands” for as long as I can remember. You can’t blame us after years of listening to my Dad tell us stories of his shenanigans, and believe me when I tell you that my Dad can tell stories. We’d sit around and think of cool places to go, what type of boat we’d take and what to do when we got there. Not normal kid vacations by any stretch.
When the time was finally right for us to start planning this adventure, life was a whole lot different than it was when we planned these trips a mere 18 years earlier. Kids, wives, mortgages and corporate work schedules were in the picture. We’d all grown up, and somehow that never really worked its way into the plans we made as kids. Go figure. No matter. We were determined to make this happen, so the planning began. Turned out Scott wasn’t going to be able to make it due to family obligations, and Lane and I knew that was completely understandable. Lane could especially relate, as he and Casie had just been blessed with a bouncing-baby-boy of their own. Once Scott declined I knew this trip wouldn’t be my last trip like this, because at some point in my life I’m going to drag that guy to the islands like we’d always planned as kids. We pushed on, set the dates, started preparing the boat, and rounding up the usual suspects to accompany us.
Stay tuned, as I attempt to recap this amazing trip in a series of small stories.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-a1.