Monthly Archives: August 2017

USCG air station Cape Cod. AWESOME!

When I put on my event each June for The Seven Seas Cruising Association, I invite someone from the Coast Guard to present so that cruisers can be better prepared to stay out of trouble and if the worst happens, how to be prepared.

Lt. Simmons drove down from The Cape to present to us in June and while she was visiting and we were posing together for a photo op, I asked her if perhaps I could have a tour of the airbase.  Happily, she said yes.  So, this Monday Brenda and I visited and were given a tour of the air station on the Cape.   It was awesome.

This seems particularly timely as we all watch the events unfold in Texas, thanks to hurricane Harvey.  I mention this because our contact, Lt Wood, who I had been assigned to, wasn’t there as she had been deployed to Texas to assist in the rescue efforts.  Happily, Lt. Podmore pitched in and showed us around.

The facility is huge covering many square miles.  This is an aerial shot of the base.   We visited the two largest buildings to the right. The first thing you encounter as you drive onto the base is a static display of a decommissioned airplane. I’d love to go for a ride in something that flies and also can also land on the water.  Sadly, the USCG doesn’t fly these any more. The ones that they fly today are very different.   This is a EADS HC-144 Ocean SentryOur first stop was air traffic control.  It’s not the place that receives EPIRB and mayday calls though.  That’s somewhere else and then the calls are relayed to here or the appropriate sector.   Very official. Then we went into the hanger and were greeted buy this, a Sikorsky MH-60 Jayhawk chopper.  So awesome.  Check more about the specs here.  I wanted to go for a ride although I couldn’t even afford the gas.    According to Wikipedia, these babies cost $17 million a copy and that’s before you fire up the twin jet engines.
They can be flown on a SAR mission up to 300 miles offshore, stay on station for about 45 min, pick up six survivors and have enough fuel to make it back to base. There are 42 of these in the USCG service, with three stationed at the Cape Cod station.   When we were there, two of them had been dispatched to Texas to help with the rescue efforts.  Our Lt. Wood and I guess Lt. Simmons too were sent to help with those.

Viewed head on it looks like the serious machine it is.  The bulb in the front is radar.  And, given the nasty conditions that these pilots fly in I’ll bet it’s needed ALL THE TIME.    The bulb below that is a high resolution FLIR (forward looking infrared) camera.  Everything about this aircraft is “supersized”.   How about a search light that’s so bright it will burn anything that is put in front of it in an instant.  Lt.  Podmore told us that the beam is so strong that if he was to put his boot in front of it for a moment it would start to smoke.  I was wearing sandals and decided to forgo the demonstration. The interior is all business but I’ll bet that ending up aboard after a rescue would feel as cozy as a living room by contrast.  After each flight the entire aircraft, inside and out, is meticulously cleaned.  And for every hour in the air, many hours are spent on maintenance.
The rotor assembly looks impossibly complex.  Lt. Podmore said “want to sit in the seat?”.  Somehow I didn’t.   Stupid me.
Brenda was fascinated with the tour.  Every week the crews practice SAR activities.   This SAR “dummy” looks like he’s been rescued many times.   Actually, he loks like he could use some rescuing now.  “Hey guys, It’s really stuffy down here. Can you roll me over?  I’m feeling a little crampy.”Hey, this guy could be me as I am really interested in trying to work out a way to be trained to be a “rescue dummy” myself and have talked about applying to receive training to do just that.  So far, nobody has said “no way Bob, fugetaboutit” yet but we will have to see what happens.  One way or the other, “I’m on it” and won’t be deterred.  Well, not until somebody says “no way”.

Seriously, I’d really love to be picked up from the water as a part of a SAR training run.  It would be awesome to write about my experiences so others would know “what to expect when the Calvary shows up” and someone swims up to you and says “Good afternoon, I’m Lt. (someone I’d be really happy to see) and I’ll be your rescue swimmer today.”

So, on with the tour.  Next, into the fixed wing aircraft hanger that also doubles as a workout room.  There were some totally buff guys lifting weights.  And speaking of buff, or not buff.  Even the USCG has mini trucks.  This one is electric and similar to my own “truck”.Remember mine?  Looks pretty tiny against Pandora.   I wish mine was electric.  Anyway, that was a digression so back to the USCG.   Past the truck two HC-144, their medium range SAR aircraft.  Now, I really, really wanted to climb inside and sit up front, spraying spit all over the windshield as I made loud motor noises. However, there were guys working on it and I didn’t have the nerve to ask. Remarkably, these are manufactured in Spain.  Who knew?  We’ll see what Donald has to say about that.

There’s a drop down ramp in the back so they can shove out stuff.   I wonder what it feels like to hoist a gas powered de-watering pump out of the water onto a boat in a storm once it’s pitched out of the back of one of these?  I sure hope that the “payload specialist” has good aim.  “Ok, we’re going to make a slow pass to drop that 200 lb pump down to you in a minute so put your hands over your head and close your eyes, really, really tight.  Don’t worry, we’ve done this once successfully.”Just like the Jayhawk, these say “all business”.   And, to make sure that all the SAR stuff that they lower and toss to those in distress is working well, you can count on Lt.  Kroll to be sure that it’s all in perfect working order.  He runs a department that goes over everything with a fine toothed comb to be sure that it’s in good working order.  I am hopeful that he’ll be fitting me with my own personal SAR “dummy” outfit sometime soon. One can always hope.
The USCG has been flying around helping folks for 100 years so they know what they are doing and do it really well.
I guess that’s about it for now as the day’s getting away from me and I have to get to work on Pandora or she won’t be ready any time soon for my run south.

Besides, as Lt. Podmore told me, and forgive me as I paraphrase, “The folks that are prepared are generally not the ones that we need to rescue.”  Yes, I need to be prepared so I’d better get to work.

In closing.  “that was the most awesome tour ever”.    Thanks Lt. Podmore!   Can I call you Steven?

And Lt.  Wood.  I hope that things go well for you in Texas.

Getting ready for winter

It’s almost Labor Day week and Pandora’s still on the hard.  That was the plan all along as we’ve been pretty busy with travel and other “land chores” to use her so out she goes.  However, that’s not to say that I haven’t still been focused on Pandora and all the little and large things that need to be done to get her into shape for the winter afloat.

You may recall that I had a problem with the quadrant linkage to the autopilot last January on my way from North Carolina to Tortola when a critical part broke.  Fortunately, I found a spare in my “stash” and was able to get us back in shape again with a minimum of trauma.  However, because we feared that we’d have a problem again, we were forced to sit behind the wheel for the rest of the trip just in case something happened again.

The next day, as we surfed down 20′ waves mid way through 4.5 days of gales.   I wrote about how things were going in this post  and the prior owner, who must have been following my trip, left a comment with these words of reassurance…

“Glad you made it! Better you than me. That autopilot bolt is a poorly engineered and machined piece of junk. I have broken several even in dead calm under engine power. Hence the spares on board. Replace the spare you used as soon as you can. Have Brenda bring it down. It would be a good idea to replace it before a significant passage. Enjoy the BVI!”

Yeah, good suggestion.  Well, it seemed to me that I had to find a way to solve the problem, “bad design” or not.

You see, the leverage, with tiny washers filling in a gap, just weren’t spreading the load broadly enough so after a while the pin, working back and forth, loosened up and, well, just snapped off, again and again.    See the washers stacked up on the right?  Those just didn’t spread the load enough so, as the pressure worked back in forth, the pin fatigued and broke just above the washers.  I know what I am describing might not be obvious without seeing the part in place.  So, the next photo shows the new pin attached to the autopilot and quadrant with larger washers that I  hoped would keep things more steady.

Note that the fender washers I put in place of the ones that were there are larger than the widest part of the fitting that broke.  As the arm for the autopilot arm to the right, pulls back and forth, the new larger washers should spread the load more broadly and minimize the shear pressure on the pin.  That proved to do the trick for the rest of the winter and the trip back to CT in the spring. No breakage and the part stayed tight and in place for the whole trip.  Problem solved?I still wasn’t confident that I could count on things holding together so I worked with Paul at the local machine shop near the marina where Pandora is on the hard and described what I had in mind. The concept was to support the pin more securely and spread the load as broadly across the quadrant arm.   Properly done, the pin should hold up indefinitely.  The new “collar/washer” is on the right.  I had Paul bore a hole for the pin and “counter-bore” an area to nestle the “hip” of the wider part of the pin for further support. Here’s the pin inserted in the new “washer”.  Note that part of the widest area on the pin is itself nestled inside the counter-bore.  You can imagine that this will spread the shear loads more broadly across the quadrant arm. And, the pin in place on the quadrant.  See how much broader the support is now and with the widest part of the pin secured inside the “washer”?  It should be very secure now as the shear load is spread across the full width of the quadrant arm verses a spread of less than an inch in the old design that failed again and again.

I guess that we will just have to see how it goes.  Just in case, I now carry three spare pins.  That alone, like carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, should guarantee that things hold together.   I’ll report back on how it goes. An area of concern for just about anyone who spends a lot of time aboard is getting salt down below.  Yes, I know that there are certain folks  who are prone to certain anal retentive tendencies might be more concerned than most about such things.  “Sounds like you Bob.”  You got it! That’s me.

However, eEVERYONE KNOWS that once below, salt is very difficult to get rid of, especially when it’s on cloth covered settees.  Can you say clammy?   In the past my solution has been to drape sheets over anything cloth while we were on passage but now I have installed lovely sunbrella covers.  They are simple and just attach with snaps and turn nuts so that they won’t slip off and can still be removed easily.  Aren’t they just lovely?  Lovely or not, they can rinsed off. Oops.  Forgot to make one for the ottoman.  I’ll get to that soon too it’s a popular resting spot for salty feet too.

Everyone knows that it’s a bad idea to paint running gear as the metals in the anti-fouling paints can react badly with the bronze and stainless gear and cause severe electrolysis.  However, this means that the unprotected prop and shaft is very prone to fouling and keeping the gear clean is a constant battle.  I have heard of anti-fouling paints that are supposed to solve this problem but I have never tried them.   The primary problem is that as the prop spins, the paint, I have been told, wears off.    With this in mind, I am trying Petit prop paint this year.  I’ll let you know how it goes. Finally, over the last few years we have visited quite few places aboard Pandora and I thought it would be fun to display the courtesy flags in my office.  To do this I put up a wire between two walls with a turnbuckle to tighten thing up nicely.  From Left to right the flags are…  Dominica, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cuba, France which would be St Martin, St Barths, Guadalupe, Antigua and then various clubs, Antigua Yacht Club, Seven Seas Cruising Association, Salty Dawg Sailing Association and the Corinthians.   Finally, just under the clock, the Essex Yacht Club.    I’ll be using a number of these again this winter and will snag them when I head south but until then, it seems such a shame to leave them tucked away in a locker aboard.  So, for now, I can enjoy them at home too.

That’s it for now.  Tons to do and it’s a beautiful day to hang out at the boatyard.

Tata for now!e

Steam and smoke! From the hands of man.

Yesterday I made yet another run to Mystic Seaport and this time it was for the 26th annual Antique Marine Engine show.  It’s on this weekend, every year, that enthusiasts from all over the US converge to show off their antique and model engines, many of which are steam powered.

Normally I take photos of everything and leave it at that but there is nothing quite like all those well oiled parts spinning and pumping away that calls for videos too.

There were hundreds, dare I say thousands (lest I sound like Trump and his perspective of the inauguration crowd) of engines on display, many spinning away happily for the eager crowds.  There were plenty to oogle at and I did with breathless anticipation of what was coming next.  I hope you will feel that way too as you scroll down the page.

The seaport had set up an elaborate steam generating plant,  6 or 8′ in diameter and housed in a large portable shed on wheels, and had put up hundreds of feet of black pipe and valves running to dozens of steam engines happily chuffing away. The first engines that you come across are the big ones owned by the Seaport, only on display for this one weekend each year.  For the rest of the time they are tucked away in a warehouse.   Some are quite large like this vertical steam engine manufactured in 1915.  It’s still working like a champ after all those years.  Want to know the HP of this one?  Sorry, even they don’t know.  There was plenty of spent steam swirling around in spite of temperatures in the mid 80s. While they say that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, when it comes to steam engines, a picture is nothing like a “moving picture”.This one is a beauty.  It’s a pump steam engine, circa 1903 and was built by Christian Brothers in Paducah, Kentucky.  While I couldn’t find any any information on the company, long gone, I did find out that there is a huge show held each year there that features 800 antique engines and equipment of all kinds.  Want to go?  Check it out here.  It’s held in September each year.Now, this one looks very complicated.  It’s a US Navy 50 hp engine circa 1918.  I doubt that the Navy doesn’t have a single engine in it’s inventory these days with so little HP. It was hard to get a good video of this one running as people kept stepping in front of me.   However, here you go.  It’s a wonderful engine.  I could watch all day.A particularly interesting engine is this steering engine driven by steam.   It doesn’t look like much but when the operator turns the “wheel” watch the engine adjust and then stop.  Pretty ingenious. While most of the engines on display were on land, a few were tucked into the bilges of boats on the waterfront.   This one was built by it’s owner and is of fairly recent construction.  I wonder if the engine and boat were built by the same guy.  That would be quite a feat. The engine is a remarkable piece of work.  Along side was another launch with a lovely little gas engine. I’d hate to tangle with this fly wheel while it’s whirring around. This beauty, while not in the water, is home to a naptha engine.  Very civilized.  That’s if you ignore that a naptha engine is powered by boiling gasoline.  That doesn’t sound safe at all.  “Wait a bit Mildred till you come aboard, I am waiting to bring the gas to a rolling boil.  Honey, honey, MILDRED! come back, it’s safe, I promise.”  Perhaps you’d like to learn more about this type of engine?  Click here.The engine is a beauty all polished and bright.   Me, I’d sit way up in the front and stay as far away as possible from all that boiling fuel.  Very pretty. Sort of like a solar flare. Beautiful but don’t get too close or you’ll surely burn to death.  And, speaking of all spit and polished.  How about this wonderful little gem.  It’s a single cylinder gas engine.
There were loads of wonderful little miniature model engines chuffing away.   Actually, some were downright frantic like this crazy looking one. The builder of this engine had a number on display, all of them spinning in various states of franticness.  It was exhausting to watch them. Loved this vertical steam engine model and at the end of the line in the last video.  Really a nice piece.  Only about 12″ tall.  Some of the models were enormously complex.  The description stated that it had taken some 2,000 hours of labor to build.  I’ll bet.  And to keep it polished…And, just to prove that beauty isn’t just skin deep, it works and works fabulously.  Completely silent.  It’s not hard to imagine a full size edition of this triple expansion steam engine, all 10″ of it, powering a majestic steamer across an ocean.  Amazing, in every little detail, down to the insulation on the steam pipes.  It’s a remarkable piece. How about this as an exquisite example in the “less is more” category?  Check out the really tiny handle on the valve to the left. It was fun to watch it whirl around for no other reason in the world except to entertain.  And it did, for me at least.This one was really exquisite, and beautiful in all it’s details, down to the little metal rail at it’s base.  I guess that’s to keep the “little people” safe. Watching this makes me weak in the knees.  Especially the whirling thingy on the top.  Not sure what it’s called, but perhaps that’s not the point.  It’s just fun to watch. I loved this tiny walking beam steam engine.   Dare I continue to overuse the word “exquisite” to describe it too?  Complete with it’s own tiny boiler.  However, for the show, it was powered by the nearby giant steam generator.  Watch her happily whir away.  Just love, love the walking beam.   How about a single engine powering two screws?  Totally cool.  “How dey do dat?”While there were lots of steam engines to enjoy, there were many, many gas powered lovelies too.  Antique outboards your fancy?  There were plenty.I loved this one, all polished up.   Can a lowly outboard engine be grand?“Johnny, keep your hands away from the flywheel”.   A wonderful piece of industrial art. Complete with it’s original sales brochure.  Makes me want to buy one.Not into stinky gas outboards?  How about electric?  Looks like a blender to me. Better yet, how about an example of the very first commercially available electric outboard engine, from the 1890s?  And you thought Tesla thought all this up.  To me, it just looks alarming. Complicated enough for you?  And, it was built in Newark NJ in 1915.   A whopping 3hp.  Want to fire it up?  I have absolutely no idea how.
If you want to see more wonderful antique outboards you should visit The Boathouse restaurant in Orlando FL.  We went there a few weeks ago and I wrote about it in this post.

Well, I guess that’s about it for now.   If this post has been overwhelming to you, imagine what it was like for me to have to put it all together?

Anyway, it was a really fun show so perhaps I’ll close with this teeny, tiny engine that seems to say “I’m in a huge hurry, have no idea of where I am going but I’m having a wonderful time”.   I guess that sort of sums it all up and if you were there I am sure that you’d agree that it was quite a show.  From the hands of man, wonderful things that spin and whir and belch clouds of steam and smoke.

Sometimes it’s about the journey… and what a ride it was.  The Antique Marine Engine show at Mystic Seaport.  Put it on your list.

Editor:  OMG!  That post took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to do.  Hope you like it.

A tradition begins anew.

Shortly after Brenda and I were married over 4o years ago.  Did I mention that we met in High school?  “Yes Bob, only 100 times so get on with it.”  Anyway,  we joined Mystic Seaport shortly after we were MARRIED OVER 40 YEARS AGO and one way that we celebrated special occasions during all those years was to go for a “cruise” aboard the Sabino at Mystic Seaport.   We were poor, she was wonderful and it didn’t cost much.

Our routine has been to arrive with wine and cheese and join her for her two hour “cocktail cruise” down the Mystic River.   It’s always a lovely excursion and one of the highlights of summer for us.  Unfortunately, for many years we missed these outings while we lived in NJ as it was just too far for us to visit regularly. However, as we had many cruises to the Mystic area on our own boat, we always did our best to visit Mystic and enjoy evening cruises aboard the Sabino when we were able.

When we moved to CT about five years ago we were thrilled to be “back in the game”.   Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the seaport put the Sabino on the hard for a 2.5 year refit so while we were only a short drive from her, the classic “so near and yet so far” was an unfortunate reality.   Now all that’s behind us the Sabino “rides again” and she is just grand.

A few weeks ago Brenda and I were treated to a tour before she was really “ready for prime time” by her chief engineer, Jason.   In spite of it being a busy day, as he was working hard to get the Sabino ready for her debut, Jason invited us aboard for a look around.  It was wonderful to see her back in the water again although her decks and engine room were strewn with tools and workers that day.

But now her work is completed and all the time and money that’s been lavished on her really shows. She’s beautiful with her fresh paint and varnish.   This short video, narrated by her Captain David Childs is worth looking at.
Captain Dave is a very nice guy and I loved it when he was true to his word and invited children to the pilot house as we left the dock.  Unfortunately, his invitation didn’t include those of us that are is touch with their “inner child” so unless I move the decimal place on my age to 6.2, I can’t qualify.  Besides, I should qualify that as Brenda says I don’t act my age.  Not certain that she means this in a positive way.

Pilot house visit or not, back on the upper deck Brenda and our friends were all ready to set out our food and drinks.  I wonder what the crew would have thought if I had brought along a folding table to hold everything and I didn’t push my luck.   Notice the beautifully finished benches and the white rope lashings on the seats in the lower left of this photo.   Everything was just perfect. What a lovely view forward with her pennant waving in the breeze. On the lower forward deck others were enjoying the view. I spent some time watching the wake, a favorite pastime of mine, as we steamed our way toward the Sound. Of course, the “soul” of the Sabino is her wonderful little steam engine, the very same one that powered her along the Maine coast as a coastal ferry for so many years. Her new coal fired boiler glowing.
Every little detail down to the lacing on the steam pipe insulation is perfect. Nice job Jason. Brightly polished brass gauges keeping track of her “vitals”. As we finished up our cruise, Sabino made a final pass along the Seaport waterfront.  The Morgan, surely one of the most photographed ship in the US was positively glowing in the evening light. And this wonderful ships gig on the Seaports training vessel,  the Joseph Conrad. But perhaps the sight that brought back the most memories for me was the Cape Cod catboat, Breck Marshall.  This sweet boat is named after the man who perhaps had more to do with renewing interest in catboats when he founded Marshall Marine back in the 70s when he began making these iconic vessels in fiberglass, insuring that this classic design would endure.  The Breck Marshall is wood and honors the man that did so much to keep catboats alive.  When Brenda and I purchased our first boat together back in the late 70s , it was a 20′ catboat so these wonderful little boats will always be special to us. We had a wonderful time aboard the Sabino, the weather was perfect and we were cooled with a light SW breeze as we made our way down the river.  As we left the Sabino after our cruise, Captain Dave was gracious enough to pose outside of the bridge, complete with the ever present smile of a guy telegraphing that he too loves this little ship.  In the beginning twilight signifying the end to a wonderful evening.   I couldn’t resist one more look at the Sabino as we headed home. Brenda and I were thrilled to renew our tradition of cruising aboard the Sabino now that she’s back and back she is.  Indeed the Sabino is lucky to be at Mystic Seaport and the seaport is lucky to have her.

Dying to cruise aboard this little ship yourself?  Follow this link to learn more.

There’s, sort of, more to Orlando than Disney.

Last weekend Brenda and I visited Disney in Orlando with our son and his family.  August you say?  Yes, it was hot, very hot, and I was surprised to learn that it’s the busiest month for Disney in Florida.   It seems that the cooler months are actually “dead” according to one of the “cast members” that I spoke to.  It’s all about vacation, hot or not and when the kids are free, off to Disney!

Before I get started, I’ll put up a photo of our grandaughter Tori trying on one of Brenda’s hats.  Cute right?Ok, now that’s out of the way.

Yes, I know, this is a blog about boats so, as always, I was hot on the trail to come up with something to write about but after three days of looking for something that was “blog worthy” the best I could do was this shot of, well, I think it was the little mermaid, Ariel or something like that.  Not exactly a collector’s item but it is a boat.   Not actually.Disney has some interesting boats but they are certainly more for looks than a “real” boat.   In spite of that, these ferry boats were nicely proportioned.This one would look nice traveling down the ICW.  However, I was trying to find some “real” boats and as we reached Monday, our last day in Orlando I wasn’t optimistic that I’d come up with anything to write about.  However, as luck would have it, the gang decided to head out for lunch at nearby Disney Springs Mall.  Have you ever noticed that just about everything in Florida has a “theme”?  Well, I have and where we went for lunch, The Boathouse restaurant also has a theme however, it’s a boat theme and a very good one at that.

The restaurant is owned by Steven Schussler, the same guy who brought you such fine dining experiences as The Rainforest Cafe and T Rex and yes that one has a dinosaur theme.  After seeing so being baragged by “everything themed” I was really surprised,and pleased, to find his nautically themed place “themed” with real-life antique runabouts and outboard motors. How about this odd boat near the entrance?  I can’t imagine that it works well buy it’s cute in a sort of “you’ll be killed riding in this thing but have fun doing it” sort of way. Of course, as you’d expect, you are greeted by a nautical pinup girl as you enter to get you into the spending mood, of course. On the walls are some real antique outboard engines.  And, unlike the decorations in most nautically themed dining spots, these motors are indeed real, and there’s lots of them, dozens, actually.  And, given their condition, I expect that they all work. As you approach the Boathouse, you can even take a ride in an authentic Amphicar, a half dozen of what was a production run, over an 8 year period in the 60s, of about 3,700.   Want to take a closer look?  It’s going to cost you as a 20 minute ride will set you back $150.  Want to learn more about how to get your own ride in one?  Click here. Pay the fare and off you go. Down the ramp and you are on your way. Their non-customer descent is sedate but if you are willing to pay the fare, they launch with flare. And a big splash.As this very short video shows, these are tough little cars.  Want one of your own?  If it’s a “driver” one in good shape but it won’t win any awards, it will set you back about $50k.  Want a really nice one in “concourse” condition?  Be prepared to plunk down nearly $100k.  They wonderful little cars are awesome, that’s for sure.  These are complicated little macines and I can’t even imagine where you’d get one fixed if it broke down.

However, amphibious cars aside, the best part about this place is the boats “moored” out back on the lake near the outdoor bar.  I decided to take a look and was frankly expecting to see some down-on-their-heels reproductions but these were unique and rare.

We have all seen many classic mahogany runabouts but some of the early fiberglass runabouts like this 1958 14′ Falls Flyer with a 50hp outboard is wonderful. Fiberglass not for you?  Need it to be wood?  I missed the name but loved the curved plywood fins.   In spite of the harsh Florida sun, they were all in excellent condition. This 1956 Cadillac Sea Lark cost $11,000 new and is reported to be the most expensive outboard powered fiberglass outboard ever built.   As they never went into production, only two of these were ever produced.  The designer was Brooks Stevens, who also designed the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.  Another classic beauty is this 1961 Redfish Shark.  If I was to get a pink boat, this one would be my choice.   It’s a 1956 Marilyn’s Meteor Mate.  Follow this link to some better photos of this exact boat.  I can’t imagine what it’s worth today but it cost $1,600 new. Well, it seems that Stephen, the owner of this spot and lots more, has clearly done very well for himself.  I could go on all day about these wonderful boats but perhaps you just have to go to Orlando and eat there yourself.

However, be prepared as eating at The Boathouse is sort of like buying a boat, expensive but it’s fun.   And, to help you feel better when you get the bill, they have an impressive collection of antique runabouts including some very unique and rare classics to take the edge off.

So there you have it… and you thought that Orlando was all about themed restaurants and things that only look authentic.   Now you know.  It IS all about the theme but at least there’s one place to eat with “real” boats which proves, sor of, that there’s,more to Orlando than Disney.