We are definitely in the midst of Staycation 2.0, with cruisers vacationing within an easy drive of their homes. While the rebirth of this trend is by no means a surprise, the makeup of our cruisers is, I think, pretty unique.
Sure, we have repeat cruising customers like the McNeish family from Ocala, Florida – Doug and Heather and their sons Douggie, 14, and Donnie, 11. They chartered a Sabreline 43 Trawler this visit, but favor our Grand Banks Blue Note, which is undergoing an overhaul and not yet available.
Doug takes particular delight in watching his boys learn how to tie a boat up, seeing them fish off the back in the evening under the moonlight and learning how to read charts while staying in the channel. “They also enjoy jumping into the water the moment the anchor lands and swimming until exhausted,” he said.
Over the years the McNeish family has met many people along our cruising area and they enjoy the opportunity to renew old acquaintances. “A lot of the dock masters in the area have been there for 20-plus years, as long as we have been chartering, and seeing them every year is always enjoyable.”
Greg Weiss and his family: wife Bettina and their children Noah, Rebecca and Molly, were first time bareboat charterers in Southwest Florida, but veteran cruisers from Jupiter on Florida’s east coast, the launching point for many trips to the Bahamas on Greg’s 27-foot center console.
“This was our first bareboat charter,” said Greg. The family chartered a Beneteau 44 Swift Trawler and was “pleased with the easy access to many different locations. That first sunset was really special,” said Greg who is pretty confident his family “will be back in the future.”
John and Jimmie Lou Thomas, who reside in Arkansas, celebrated their wedding in Southwest Florida and chartered a Leopard 40 sailing catamaran for a post wedding trip for some wedding attendees and a week for just the two of them. John is quick to note that the charter was a “post wedding trip” with honeymoon plans yet to be finalized.
“We wanted a destination wedding and this location made sense since Jimmie Lou’s family lives at Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota,” said John. “We’ve also cruised this area before along with sailing trips to the Bahamas. It’s a fun place, with great fishing and many cool places to visit, an overall great experience with some of the friendliest and most helpful people we’ve ever met. Lastly, my wife loves cats.”
Yes, “Staycation 2.0” is in full swing and we are happy to have cruisers from throughout the Southeast visit our area to charter power or sail cruises or take our live-aboard sail and power courses.
These visits also provide a level of relief from the COVID -19 pandemic since social-distancing is as easy as can be with few, if any crowds, and getting to and fro is not as worrisome or as expensive as flying.
I’m certain all of us can’t wait for the pandemic to come under control, but in the meantime, I am delighted we can offer a way to relieve some of the stress it has brought to all.
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON