Frostbite sailing in January requires a bit of know-how. Read how Ted Hood prepares for a day racing with Newport’s Laser Fleet 413.

“Looking at the weather Sunday morning, it seemed like we were heading for another cancelation for the third week in a row with expected temp around 24-25 deg and winds 15-20 – a daunting combination. But with Fleet 413 you can’t assume anything, so I prepared my gear accordingly, wondering how the heck I was going to keep my toes and fingers warm. Sunday was all about staying warm if you wanted to have any chance of being functional let alone competitive. I’ve found over the years from cold weather skiing and sailing that it really pays to over-dress your core as well as arms and legs to some extent which produces extra heat that wants to escape through your head, fingers and toes. Hard to do with a wetsuit, so Sunday was really a day for drysuits (preferably with built-in socks to keep feet dry) so you can layer up accordingly underneath – I know Mike Z was happy he dragged his out of the closet.  I piled it on with two thin tech layers, two fleece layers and a thin vest, with thermal weight long johns and hiking pants over legs, and skull cap and balaclava doubled up above. 

Photo by Anne Vandromme Hood, January 21, 2024

Heading out for pre-race my fingers numbed up pretty quickly with neoprene sailing gloves being wet so before the first race I pulled the fingers out to make a fist inside for 1-2 minutes to thaw them out – a common freeze/thaw cycle that usually works well. Just had to do it a second time after first race then I was feeling pretty toasty the rest of the day. Ice on deck made it challenging when gybing – almost slid off the deck one race, and frozen lines and tackles made it interesting in what was the coldest day of sailing I can remember the past 35 years. Big thanks to Moose, Kelly and Cushing for running the races in what turned out to be a great, fun day of sailing – since the breeze kept us moving, I reckon we were warmer than them!”

-Ted Hood

Cruising the Florida Keys in a small yacht can be a fantastic adventure, offering you the opportunity to explore stunning landscapes, vibrant marine life, and charming coastal communities. Here’s a guide to help you plan your adventure in the Florida Keys:

1. Itinerary Planning

Key West to Key Largo: Consider starting your journey in Key West and cruising north toward Key Largo. This route allows you to experience the diverse offerings of the Keys.

Anchorages and Marinas: Plan your itinerary with consideration for anchorages and marinas along the way. Popular stops include Marathon, Islamorada, and Tavernier.

2. Navigation and Charts:

Navigation Tools: Ensure your yacht is equipped with up-to-date navigation tools, including GPS, charts, and depth sounders. Navigation in the Florida Keys can involve shallow waters, so careful attention to charts is essential.

Local Knowledge: Take advantage of local knowledge. Talk to experienced sailors or charter captains in the area for insights into the best routes and anchorages.

3. Weather Considerations:

Weather Forecast: Keep a close eye on weather forecasts. The Florida Keys can experience rapidly changing weather conditions, especially during the hurricane season. Plan accordingly and have a contingency plan for storms.

4. Safety Precautions:

Safety Equipment: Ensure your yacht is well-equipped with safety gear, including life jackets, flares, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.

Float Plan: File a float plan with someone ashore, detailing your planned route, stops, and expected return date.

5. Permits and Regulations:

Boating Permits: Check if any permits or licenses are required for boating in certain areas. Some protected zones may have specific regulations.

Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with boating rules and speed limits in the area to ensure compliance.

6. Local Attractions and Activities:

Snorkeling and Diving: The Florida Keys are renowned for their coral reefs. Plan stops for snorkeling or diving in areas like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Fishing: If you enjoy fishing, the Keys offer excellent opportunities. Consider bringing or renting fishing gear for some on-the-water angling.

Explore Onshore: Take time to explore onshore attractions, such as Key West’s historic sites, waterfront restaurants, and local markets.

7. Provisions and Supplies:

Provisioning: Stock up on provisions in Key West or other major towns before heading out. Ensure you have enough food, water, and other essentials for the duration of your cruise.

8. Communication:

Communication Devices: Bring reliable communication devices, such as a VHF radio or satellite phone, for emergency situations.

9. Waste Management:

Pump-Out Stations: Be aware of pump-out stations for waste disposal. Responsible waste management is crucial in protecting the delicate marine ecosystem.

10. Marina Reservations:

Popular Marinas: If you plan to stay at marinas, especially during peak season, consider making reservations in advance to secure a spot.

11. Local Events and Festivals:

Check Events Calendar: See if there are any local events or festivals happening during your cruise. Participating in local celebrations can add a unique touch to your experience.

12. Documentation:

Boat Papers: Ensure all necessary boat papers, including registration and insurance documents, are on board.

13. Enjoy the Journey:

Relax and Explore: The Florida Keys offer a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of opportunities to explore. Take the time to enjoy the journey and the unique charm of each Key.

Remember that conditions can vary, and flexibility is key when cruising in new areas. Always prioritize safety, stay informed about local regulations, and embrace the laid-back spirit of the Florida Keys during your small yacht adventure.

ZINGARA, 2001 Brooklin Boatyard Custom 45 Yawl

Winning the 13-boat PHRF Aloha Class and the Arthur Curtiss James Trophy for best corrected time was the 45’ wooden yawl ZINGARA, owned by Mike McAllister (Providence, R.I.) and skippered by Bill Haynie (Newport, R.I.), who is her listing agent. “She’s my favorite all-time boat: beautiful and surprisingly fast. We managed to get around efficiently and not break anything. We beat all the modern boats, and we did it with style.”  Haynie said he wasn’t considering the event until he heard about the inshore option. “It was a home run for health and safety rules and so much fun, especially because of the wind.”

Bill Haynie at the Helm
Bill Haynie at the helm

“The crew was quite a last minute band of ragamuffin sailors, from lifelong professionals, to experienced Corinthians, to total novices – and everything in between. Only two of them had ever sailed the ZINGARA before, and nobody onboard was being paid to race. All were there to enjoy a rare (for Summer 2020) day on the water on a very special boat.”

Crewman Magee is all smiles

“The weather did not disappoint and neither did ZINGARA. We sailed in a steady 24+ knot breeze with gusts into the low 30’s, and the sea state that accompanied as was as you might imagine. Despite the best efforts of mother nature and crew to stress and damage the deck hardware and rigging, ZINGARA proved herself worthy of the challenge and seemed to almost enjoy the romp through the heavy stuff – often crossing tacks with carbon sport boats that owed her many seconds per mile (and who would have otherwise eaten her for lunch in calmer seas). “

Focused Crew

“After about 5 hours, 4 different helmsmen, and more tacks than any of the crew had completed all summer, ZINGARA finally approached the finish line off Ida Lewis like a freight train with a plane to catch. We were flying four sails (including our new favorite ‘Mizzen staysail’) and looking at the Newport Harbor basin with more than a little anticipation thinking “How are we going to stop this thing…?” After all was said and done, we found out we’d won our Class, and missed the overall podium by one place (out of 40+ boats). About a week later we were informed that the PHRF-NB committee had miscalculated our headsail handicap and that they would be retroactively applying the new rating to the race, which bumped us down to 2nd in Class. All in all, it was a fun, memorable day on the water with great crew on a fantastic boat.”

Bill Haynie accepts the trophy for ZIngara
Bill Haynie accepts the trophy for ZINGARA

Wellington Yacht Partners, LLC
+1 (401) 683-6070
[PORTSMOUTH, RI, USA, November 2019] — Wellington Yacht Partners is delighted to announce the sale of SEAHAWK, the 2013 Perini Navi 60M Range sailing yacht. Referred to as the ‘Sexiest Yacht in the World’ by Architectural Digest, this sleek aluminum Ron Holland-designed ketch features superb sailing systems and a sophisticated interior by legendary French designer Christian Liaigre, with accommodations for up to 12 guests and 11 crew.
SEAHAWK was sold with Wellington Yacht Partners’ Steve Berson representing the buyer in close collaboration with Bruce Brakenhoff of Perini Navi USA, co-listing agent along with Burgess.
Steve, a yacht broker since 1975, noted the following: “When the buyers of SEAHAWK decided to acquire a sailing superyacht, I researched the available candidates on the market as well as the yachts that were ‘quietly’ for sale. Having an active network and the support and trust of colleagues is very helpful in directing clients to the proper yacht. Each yacht has its own personality. We strove to find the right combination of utility, comfort, performance, design, aesthetic and decor to best suit the client’s intended use. After inspecting suitable vessels in the U.S. and Europe, SEAHAWK was identified as the best candidate. Fortunately, we were able to come to terms, and SEAHAWK had a favorable survey and sea trials in La Spezia, IT.”
SEAHAWK is now making passage to the Caribbean for a full season of enjoyment with her new owners. 

Seahawk, 2013 Perini Navi 60m (197 ft)
Seahawk, 2013 Perini Navi 60m (197 ft)
Steve Berson at the helm of SEAHAWK
Steve at the helm of SEAHAWK
Steve Berson enjoying the view from the aft deck of SEAHAWK
Steve enjoying the view from the aft deck