Spring Cruise of 50z “ZING”

Our antidote for Winter has been a pair of 3-week cruises on our MJM 50z starting out in Naples FL, visiting Boca Grande, Sanibel, Sarasota, Marco Island, et al, then going across the Okeechobee Waterway to Stuart, Jupiter Island Club, Palm Harbor (WPB), Bahia Mar, ending up at the Miami Beach Yacht & Brokerage Show. The next segment, following the blossoms North, goes from Palm Beach Boat Show to the garden tours of Charleston, and then to watch 139 J/Boats (of 277 total) competing in Charleston Race Week April 16–19. Here’s a trip report of the latter.

MON – Palm Beach to Vero Beach: Departed Palm Beach Boat Show at 1130 hrs. Monday (Mar 30) for a sea trial and Seakeeper demo out Lake Worth Inlet, dropping off three prospective owners at Sailfish Marina on Singer Island before Mark Lindsay, Scott Smith, and I headed north to Vero Beach. There we hosted a Wine & Cheese Soiree aboard for fifteen friends at 1730.

ZING on the Indian River buzzing Tillman’s Dock on Merritt Island
TUE – Vero to St. Augustine: Next morning, Dick Tillman captured us flying past his Merritt Island dock at 35 knots on the Indian River. Weather was calm so we went offshore from Ponce de Leon Inlet to St. Augustine. Cruising at 35 knots we passed Cindy and Bud Purcell in their pretty 62’ Huckins Linwood LA BELLE HELEN, leading them into Camachee Cove in St. Augustine. Later we shared dinner and mapped out a reciprocal service strategy whereby Huckins Yachts (Jacksonville) would become a service center for MJM in N. Florida to supplement Whiticar Boat Works (Stuart) in S. Florida, while Boston BoatWorks would service Huckins Yachts in the Boston area. MJM only deals with the best. ABBRA (American Boat Builders and Repairers Association) awarded Whiticar Boat Works, MJM’s South Florida Service Center, “Best Boatyard in the USA” for 2015.

WED – St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach: That afternoon, I traded in Mark & Scott for Mary at the Beach Marina in Jacksonville. To start our 12th Annual 3-Week Spring Cruise, we dined with friends from Islesford ME.

THU – Jacksonville Beach to Jekyll Island: This is a great island for a bike ride on their excellent bike trails, then dinner at the elegant Inn where Federal Reserve incorporators met in 1910.

FRI – Jacksonville to Isle of Hope (Savannah): After church, Friday, we cruised the 90 miles to Isle of Hope on the ICW in 3.75 hours averaging 24 knots. Had to crawl with the center engine turned off a couple of times where we saw 4’ depths at two crossover cuts on the ICW at low tide.

ZING on a Full Moon Easter Morning 2015 at Harbour Town Marina, Hilton Head
SAT/SUN – Isle of Hope to Hilton Head and Easter: It was a short trip. Easter Morning dawned with a magnificent full moon set at the Harbour Town Marina. The moon looks smaller in this wide angle shot. It’s over the small building at right. There we dined with old friends from early years in Cali, Colombia.

MON – Hilton Head to Charleston: Those 90+ miles on the ICW took nearly 5 hours with a couple of long No-Wake zones near Parris Island Marine Base and approaching Charleston, averaging 18 knots. We passed about 30 boats and opened up to 35 knots on the Coosaw River passing Chisolm Island, a rice plantation once owned by Mary’s Great Grandfather. He was one of 3 Confederate officers who went out in one of his pulling boats 154 years ago to demand surrender of Fort Sumter. April 11th is when the “recent unpleasantness” started. Yes, MJM has some Charleston DNA. MJM Yachts is a South Carolina LLC as the 34z was conceived while we were living there. A fun fact: while the “Z” recognizes designer, Doug Zurn, “Z” is also the American Power Boat Racing Association’s letter designation for South Carolina, appropriate for a revolutionary performance design. I am writing this aboard ZING on the Megadock of Charleston City Marina, below.

MJM 50z #1 ZING on the Megadock at Charleston City Marina
EPILOGUE – 50z #1 ZING was sold while in Charleston to its new owner, Bill Collatos of Boston. After an orientation cruise with yours truly to Norfolk and then with Capt. Mike Hall on to Boston, Bill was ready to spend the summer with his new ZING (keeping the name) at the Nantucket Boat Basin.