Sailing in Charlotte Harbor
Bonnie and I toured South Florida off the Gulf of Mexico to pursue charter and teaching opportunities. We sent sailing in Charlotte Harbor and fell upon Let’s Go Sailing Englewood, which closely resembles my brand Let’s Go Sail Williamsburg. This excursion was the highlight of our ten-day trip.
Capt. Levi provided us a low-key, superior sail along Lemon Bay in the upper reaches of the Peace River. His 1977 Hunter Cherubini was restored with the help of his late father to accommodate up to six comfortably. He typically takes couples out for private tours without having to mix them together. The result is a quiet cruise to view dolphin, pelicans and other birds. We saw a bald eagle swoop down and fly away.
When he had the sails up and turned off the engine, Levi asked, “Hear that?” We listened closely and heard nothing. “It’s silence.” There wasn’t much wind, and what little there was blew in the wrong direction. But it didn’t matter in the slightest. When asked, Levi explained the local waters and vegetation in detail, having spent nearly his entire life here and on the water.
Levi retrofitted the bow with a jury-rigged pulpit. “It looks like Frankenstein’s bow because it’s made from two bow pulpits from different boats that were welded together. My plan is to make a bigger version that extends out in a half circle over the bow for people to sit and enjoy the view.”
He runs on auto-pilot with a remote control that looks like a small TV clicker. “My favorite seat on the boat is to extend a hammock from the forestay at the bow to the mast and lie there. People do a double take and wonder who’s running the helm, but I’m doing it myself with the remote.” He grinned.
Levi once took a 23-footer from Englewood to Key West for a week-long trip “with the future mother of my children.” It took 27 days to reach their destination, and she was pregnant with twin boys. “This boat can make it overnight to Key West. It has sailed within sight of Cuba. I’d love to see Cuba now that travel restrictions have eased.”
Unlike my charter, he fishes off the stern with matching outriggers. “I just let the line troll and see what happens. One time, a big pontoon boat raced behind me too close and caught both lines. I let the lines run all the way out so as not to lose the rods and reels. I hope they fouled his prop.”
My father had a parrot that he loved, and he would let him out of the cage on the back of the boat to stand on the rail. One day we heard a loud noise like a rifle shot and didn’t know what it was. An osprey had dived and caught the parrot and swept it away. All that was left was a few feathers blowing in the wind.”
Here is a guy who simply loves the water and everything that entails, including boat restoration and maintenance. “Have you ever seen the movie ‘Capt. Ron’? He made me the man I am today.”
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