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You know, when you board Panacea to take a sail with us, we are all dedicated to making your stay aboard the best experience it can be. We strive to make you feel comfortable and at ease about what we are about to experience together. When you leave us, we are in hopes that you have gotten a glimpse into the World of Sailing. Well at least the best 20% of boat ownership. That’s what sailing in Fort Myers Beach is all about.
Boat ownership is wonderful. It’s amazing. It is the best thing in the World as far as I’m concerned. Sure it’s like varnishing a nice piece of furniture and putting it in your front yard and let the rain, wind and sun eat away at it, but that’s where the challenge comes in. I’d like to say it’s a piece of cake, but it’s a lot of hard work and I don’t do it alone.
No one sees the side of making sure all the lines are in the right place at the right time, cleaning the heads, wiping down the inside with oil, washing the laundry, dishes and bilges. Replacing lines, going up the mast. Tweaking the electronics, making detailed chart plans and destinations, making reservations, polishing metal, patching glass, cooking, cleaning, grill repairs, oil changes, filter changes, line inspections, hose inspections, hardware inspections, replacing clamps, checking through hulls and just touching her in all the places that she likes to be touched. It really is a labor of Love.
We do it all, all of the time so that when you step aboard, you can have the feeling of confidence and comfort, pop a beer and put your feet up so you leave your cares behind and just enjoy the magic of the sea and sailing on the amazing cruising vessel Panacea.
I want to take a moment here and thank all of the wonderful friends, family and workers that help keep Panacea running and in tip top shape. I mean she was born 34 years ago, so she does require a bit of hands on maintenance.
First there’s Alex Frankian. The Sea Horse. Now he’ll tell you that he got that name by working like a horse, but if you ask me sometime, I’ll tell you the story behind that. Alex has been there since the beginning. He and Fredie were my crew when I brought Panacea home from the Florida Keys. That was in 2010. So she’s been with me for 4.5 years now.
Alex, Fredie and Tom started immediately with scraping and sanding all the wood. Painting the decks, clearing out all of the last owners stuff and moving on my junk. It was a 2 week project that should have taken a month. I was proud of them all.
Alex stuck it out and became my 1st mate. We sailed a lot. We mostly sailed on many types of overnight charters to Key West, Marathon, Bahia Honda, the Dry Tortugas, Cabbage Key, Burnt Store Marina, Naples, Marco Island and points between. Day sails, night sails, it was a great partnership, but in 2013 Alex picked up his captains license and off he went to other adventures. He still gets his hands dirty now and then and I’m thankful for that. He’s a good friend and always will be.
When Alex moved on, I did a lot of the day sails myself. Panacea and I love working together. She is set up so that it is easy to run everything single handed. As I was sailing, I started using John Coriell as my 1st mate. It was a good mix. We call it, “Two old guys and a boat.” We have a ball and John is easy to be around.
He came into my life in 2009. In 2010, he was looking for a boat to live on for a while, so since Pat and I were heading up to Minnesota for August and September, we put John on Panacea for 4 or 5 months. He took good care of her and then I couldn’t seem to shake him loose. It was easier to just put him to work. John has had some boat experience and seemed to know his way around, so he became my mate. It’s been good so far, so we continue to play. (It’s hard to call it work.)
This past April, one of Pat’s road managers, Phil, decided he needed to get out of the frozen north (MN) and thaw out down here in Florida. The room was being used here at our place, so I put him up in the forward cabin on Panacea. He packs light and he loves boats. It was another good mix. Now he’s also a woodworker and has the best work ethics I have ever seen. He loves his coffee and works from morning into the night to get a project done and out of the way. Something really unique to SW Florida.
So I needed to get some varnish on and between Phil, John, my son-in-law Brad and myself, we all knocked it out. First the toe rail then the hatches, eyebrows and other trim. At the time of this writing, there are 4 coats on everything, I’m continuing on to get it up to 8 to 10 coats so the maintenance will be easier.
These are the people that you see on the scene most of the time. I also have a diver that goes down every month to keep her bottom clean. Alan and Cynthia with Cheyenne Diving have been doing one of the best jobs that I have had down here. Thanks guys for the before and after photos. You’re great.
Then there are the places that help me out with parts, canvas and sails as well as everything in between. People like Kirk Martin (Sails), West Marine, Dexter’s Canvas, and the pump guys, filter guys, Ace Hardware, all the people that call and say, “I’m at (fill in the blank), do you need anything and the Cruzan Rum Company. It requires a lot of dedicated people that do what they do best to keep us sailing in Fort Myers Beach.
I also have to mention that Bonita Bill’s Bar/Restaurant & Marina host a “Marine Swap Meet” every 3rd Sunday each year. I can’t thank you enough for helping me find those hard to find things and letting me set up a table to get rid of all the “boat junk” that has and always will end up in my bilge, garage and storage shed.
So I want to wrap this up. THANK YOU TO ALL THAT MAKE MY LIFE EASY TO SHARE THE BEST 20% OF BOAT OWNERSHIP TO EVERYONE!
I have lots of changes coming up in my life and business, so keep an eye on the website for updates. I will continue sailing in Fort Myers Beach and Sailing on the Gulf of Mexico. It is exactly where I want to be. Call when you can. Drop me an email form the site. I’m here for you as well as the bunch of people that you don’t see around, but they are there… Lurking like Pirates in the night… (That phrase reminds me of a funny story I’ll tell some day soon. Thanks Fredie)
I’ll see you on the Dock…