Throwback Thursday: The Lessons of the Second Wind

by Matt

I thought it would be fun to start a Throwback Thursday post on the blog from now and then to share some photos of our previous boating adventures that have led up to where we are now. So, here is the first installment. 
<<Insert wavy flashback special effects here!>>

We had just graduated college, yada yada yada, we decided to live on a sailboat in the Keys. Money was tight (just graduated, remember?) but we both had jobs lined up in Keys and had enough cash to by a decently sized monohull sailboat. We landing on a 1978 Islander 32 in Ruskin, Florida named Second Wind. She was beau…ehh, no, well, I mean…well, she had a lot of potential.
Second Wind at the dock
There she is! "Run away past Matt and Lucy, run away!!!"
The boat had been lived on by a dog owning chain smoker who kept company with cockroaches. (Things not disclosed in the Yachtworld sales listing, lesson #12) Before we could leave the dock, we threw out every piece of upholstery and evicted the roaches. They did not respond to their notice, so they were bug bombed to oblivion. (I gave them the option to leave on their own…my conscience is clear!) (There was a photo of the cockroach massacre, dear reader, but we decided to spare you.)
1970s boat cushions on the dock
Chain smoking dog owners need to take their cushions with them back to the 1970s.
Believe it or not we did have the boat surveyed. I’m not sure why…there was not much to say beyond, “with lots of time and money, this could be a great deal!”. I had neither of these commodities, but I was young and stupid (lesson #28).
Second Wind being hauled out for survey
Yikes! You can see the blisters from here!
So we set sail from Ruskin to Key Largo. The stupid marina that this stupid boat was stupid at didn’t have stupid channel markers and we stupid ran aground in about three stupid minutes. Lesson #34, pay more attention on to navigation on the survey sail! Lesson #42, get Sea Tow! $800 later, we were floating freely and outbound in Tampa Bay. It was pretty nice, and we passed the Sunshine Skyway bridge and anchored off Egmont Key for the evening.
Sailing under the Skyway Bridge, Tampa Bay
Sailing under the Skyway!
Sailing in Tampa Bay
Loved that tiller steering!
I wonder if Lucy ever did see that huge ship??
On day two of our cruise we sailed south and after an hour or so of beautiful, fun sailing, a squall came through and snapped all but a few of our mainsail slides (lesson #55). D’oh!
Sunset at anchor
Nice sunsets no matter what boat you're sailing!
We pulled in and got a slip at Venice. The Venice West Marine took a lot more money (lesson 60), but we loved pulling into town and exploring (lesson #62—see, not all lessons were negative!). Walking the pier and beach, checking out the local restaurants and such…lots of fun! 

We left Venice and proceeded along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway southbound. We stopped in beautiful harbors along the way, and when the choice came between offshore (where the s@(#t went down!) and the lovely cruising of the ICW we choose to go through Lake Okeechobee and across to Stuart. What a great trip! We stayed in Ft Myers, a favorite spot of ours to this day! We stopped at La Belle and Clewiston, and then across the lake. Lesson #73, Lake Okeechobee can get rough and nasty! 

Along the way the lift bridge at Port Myakka sets the clearance limit for the canal at 49’. Our mast is 47.5’. Yikes! We made it, but Lucy huddled in the cabin shaking with fear. The VHF antenna did hit! Use caution at those bridges sailboats! (Lesson #77)
Second Wind docked in Venice, FL
Docked at Venice. Donating money to West Marine.
Engine work. Good times!
Lucy still remembers the diesel spraying in her eyes fondly!
Locking through the Okeechobee Waterway
Locking through on the Okeechobee Waterway. Very cool experience!

Port Myakka railroad bridge. Scary!
Port Myakka railroad lift bridge. 49' never looked so short!!
Bridges in Florida
I'm just not sure Florida has enough bridges...
We really wanted a dinghy but couldn’t afford a nice one. My mother had just upgraded her Miami home from plywood to metal shutters. Are you thinking what I thought? Probably not! But we built a tender in her yard over the course of a week while the boat sat in West Palm waiting for some engine work (don’t rush for those scheduled draw bridge openings, lesson #82)
Las Olas Ft Lauderdale mooring field
Second Wind on a mooring at Las Olas in Ft Lauderdale. That was a fun stop too!
Homebuilt plywood and epoxy dinghy
Used hurricane shutters and a gallon of epoxy never looked so good!
We got the boat to Key Largo and stayed aboard as much as we could. We were working full time and making money now, but that left no time for boat projects. Rowing the dinghy to and fro sucked (lesson #94). After a few months, we wound up hauling out and living the boat yard for awhile, which sucked more (lesson #99). We did what we could to the boat, but wound up deciding to sell the boat and get a rental house.
Making sailboat cushions
Photo proof: Lucy's been making boat cushions since 'Nam.
We learned a lot of lessons about boating and life from Second Wind. She was our first home together and now, 15 years later, maybe I’m a little nostalgic. Oh, wait, no. That’s indigestion. My bad.
Not sure of the timeframe? Hope this helps. And no, we don't remember why there was an airplane on a barge with this painted on it!

See, it floats! Seriously, it was nice dinghy.
Final takeaways:
  • Project boats are fine for folks with too much money and too much time on their hands, but even then think twice before buying one whose systems don’t function. (Did I fail to mention that Second Wind’s plumping, refrigeration, pressure water, and wiring/electrical systems didn’t even function!?!)
  • Cruising is awesome and the world is beautiful by sailboat.
  • Smell can haunt you for life. To this day, the mixed smell of teak oil, diesel fumes, and old sanitation hose makes us both nauseous.
  • The last photo I found while going through these archives was of this lovely Lagoon 37 anchored in Biscayne Bay. Kismet?
Lagoon 37 sail catamaran in Miami
Lagoon 37 in Miami. Kismet?

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  1. I love the picture of you going the bridge at Port Myakka. I have some friends who tipped themselves going through. It was amazing to watch. Fortunately, we're short enough to go through without tipping if we do ever head that way from Indiantown. Cheers - Ellen

    1. Having a shorter mast is a huge plus! I've seen videos of people being tipped -fascinating like you say, however I think I'd probably still be freaked out by it on my own boat! - Lucy


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