Capt. Steve Creel's blog
You drove that Taurus how far?
In 2013, I was asked to take two couples from Stuart, Florida, to New Orleans in a 49-foot Eastbay for Jazz Fest, a route I was very familiar with. During preparation for this trip I met Capt. Stan Morse and his best mate Judy onboard their boat, Folly, in a mooring field on the South Fork of the St. Lucie River in Stuart. They were in the process of returning home to Destin, Florida, after several months of island hopping.
Back in the day I could work 20 hours straight, get four hours of sleep, and maintain an okay level of performance. That has all started to change over the last couple of years. Today, I don’t do sleep deprivation well.
So with that said, let me tell you about a rather interesting assignment I got recently. It started with a call from my broker friend Steve Fithian of HMY who needed me to deliver a 42-foot Grand Banks motoryacht from Ft. Myers to Ft. Lauderdale. This delivery was to be an educational run with owners Becky and Gerry, not time sensitive.
I had been cooped up in an office for five years. So when I switched jobs and they asked me to take a brand new Grand Banks to South Seas Plantation for a rendezvous, I was pretty excited. The Grand Banks had no electronics—paper charts and visuals were a must. And I was eager but nervous; it had been a long time since I’d been out on coastal waters. I solicited the help of my good friend Debbie; she was pretty good handling lines and I’d soon have her reading charts like a pro!
In the early 2000s I found myself delivering quite a few boats along the Northern Gulf Coast; Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida to and from South Florida.
Bimini was a 1952 Harkers Island 43, repowered with a single 3208 CAT, natural of course. She would do about 12 knots at full throttle, a typical Gulf Coast charter boat in 1978, open deckhouse (no a/c), head, and a couple bunks forward, four mounted fishing chairs in the cockpit, and a flybridge. Engine access was center of the deckhouse, with bench seating port and starboard. Bimini and I would become intimate, even unknowingly going through a name change.
My client and eventual friend Jim purchased a new Grand Banks 36 from me in the late ’90s. He’d planned his entry into the boating lifestyle for years. He’d joined boating clubs and organizations. He’d read all the coastal boating publications. He’d gone to boat shows. He’d lived his entire life in a landlocked state so he felt it was in his best interest to be loaded with as much coastal cruising knowledge as he could take onboard.
It was a quiet day in 1986 at Hansen Marine in Sarasota, Florida. A baby-poop-brown Dodge Dart pulled into the parking lot. The driver, a 20-year-old kid, gets out dressed in a tank top, cut offs, white socks, and dirty sneakers. A fortyish-looking guy in black slacks, black silk shirt, black Gucci-like loafers, slick black hair, gold watch, gold neck chain, and black sunglasses exits the passenger side.
“What can we do for you today” I ask.
It was 2007, and I had recently returned home from a nine-month stint running a relief kitchen in Waveland, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina. I was asked by a fellow captain to deliver a Hinckley 36 from the Tampa area to Stuart, Florida. I eagerly took the delivery and asked my beautiful, dear friend Liz to join me.
My friends refer to me as a hurricane magnet. Consider, for example, the years 2004 and 2005. I was living and working in southwest Florida in 2004 when Charley, Frances, and Jean came to visit. Then I moved to south Alabama to work with another yacht company in the fall of 2004, only to have Ivan partially destroy the marina we were moving into, so plans for the move were postponed. Shortly after opening a temporary office in Orange Beach, Alabama in 2005, Arlene came to town.