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.

The Sabre Hardtop Express 34 is a yacht model produced by the Sabre Yachts company. Sabre Yachts is a well-known American boatbuilder that produces high-quality sailing and motor yachts. The Hardtop Express series typically features a combination of luxury, performance, and practicality, making them suitable for cruising and entertaining.

BLUE HERON, an excellent example of the highly regarded Sabre 34 engineered and built in Maine to the highest level of quality. This handsome design is just the right size to excel as both a dayboat and pocket cruiser, thanks to multiple seating areas, a fully equipped galley up, a spacious couple’s suite, and a separate shower stall. She is also well equipped with upgraded direct drive twin Volvo D6 370hp diesels for 24 knot cruise and 30 knot max speed, plus bow thruster, generator, dual zone air conditioning and many desirable factory options noted herein. 

Congratulations to Ted Hood on this sale and best wishes to her new owners.

By Bob Marston

Partner, Wellington Yacht Partners

It goes without saying that it has always been important to prep your boat before putting it on the market. Making sure it is clean, machinery is serviced, all equipment is working, and safety gear is up to date are all essential to having a smooth sale process.

In today’s market we are witnessing a new dilemma with the availability of replacement parts and qualified technicians. If you wait until your boat is under contract you may find yourself waiting eight weeks for that “heat exchanger”, or six weeks for an electrician to diagnose “why the radar is not working.” Buyers become impatient and move onto other options.

At Wellington Yacht Partners we are now advising owners to complete a thorough inspection of their boat, and in some cases a pre-survey to identify issues early, leaving enough time to get them repaired properly for market and a new buyer.

Credit to Stephens Waring Design: FALLEN IN LUST: BILL HAYNIE ON ZEMPHIRA Posted on October 25, 2022 and filed under SWD News & Stories 

Following a 10 year career at sea as a yacht captain, Bill Haynie moved ashore to Newport RI and now works as a broker with Wellington Yacht Partners in Portsmouth, RI. He draws from his experience to offer continued project and program management services to select clients via his company Ransom Marine. 

Bill has been working closely with SWD since 2020 when his client purchased Zemphira (originally launched in 2005 as Goshawk).  Work included rebuilding to a demanding specification needed to satisfy a rigorous racing and cruising program of her new owner. We invited him to weigh-in on Zemphira, racing, and the performance of the boat after a major design renovation from Stephens Waring Design, carefully implemented by Lyman Morse Boatbuilding

Zemphira. Photo credit: Onne van der Wal

SW: What has been the biggest surprise in sailing Zemphira following her recent renovation?

BH: I think the boat surprised the entire race team with her performance – even by modern standards – which says a lot, given the caliber of crew we raced with. We had guys onboard with 3, 4, 5 America’s Cups, multiple Olympic campaigns, many TP52 Cups etc and they all admitted that they came in with lower expectations but left on a cloud. The boat is really light and quick in all conditions, super light on the helm, and tweakable to the extreme. Just enough power to feel really lively but surefooted enough that we could also put the owner on the wheel without getting nervous (in the right conditions). And per the bow team “teak is way more comfortable on the butt than carbon & nonskid”.

Zemphira. Photo credit: Onne van der Wal

SW: Zemphira went through an extensive renovation period. What were the most challenging decisions that had to be made during the redesign and construction process?

BH: With any refit, most modifications come with some sort of compromise, and it’s important to strike the right balance that meets the owner’s use case and directive. From a 10,000 ft level, finding this balance is always my biggest challenge – in many refits past I have had to deal more with performance or reliability vs cost, but in this case we were most often dealing with performance vs comfort, or occasionally performance vs aesthetic. There were a couple of cases where we had to stop and ask you “can the boat handle this type of load” and we were pleasantly surprised to find that we were not really limited (by the design or structure) in how aggressive we could get with bigger/stiffer sails, rigging, and deck hardware.

Zemphira. Photo credit: Onne van der Wal

SW: How does Zemphira address the needs of her owners, from racing to daysailing to cruising? What modifications have contributed most to the owners’ enjoyment of her in this first season of use?

BH: Zemphira certainly satisfied the owners’ itch for racing and winning, I think our collection of silver from last Summer speaks to that. This style of racing (SoT) is unique because it is about style and aesthetic as well as on-water performance, and the owners – being classic yacht fanatics – were very happy with the overall look and appeal of the boat. To go a little bit deeper, part of the reason we took initial interest in Zemphira (ex-Goshawk) was that she offered a surprising amount of square footage on the deck, aft of the sailing cockpit and runner winches. This seemed to be tough to find on such long, narrow, classic designs with overhangs like Zemphira, but in this case the dimensions worked perfectly. Because these owners intended to sail and race with some older (and often inexperienced) friends/guests, we liked that we had the ability to offer guest seating back there which was well out of the way of all maneuvers and of all loaded lines & winches. The pulpit bench + bean bags turned out to be both effective and comfortable – all in all a huge hit for racing and for daysailing.

Zemphira. Photo credit: Onne van der Wal

SW: Zemphira has always been a performance-forward sailing yacht, but she has recently cleaned up with some big regatta wins including three Class A wins at Safe Harbor Race Weekend in Newport, RI. How have the modifications changed her handling on the racecourse?

BH: Although I never got to sail her as Goshawk (as she was born),  the difference in performance numbers ‘on paper’ and on-water is dramatic. Design wise, the new keel & rudder really seemed to bring the boat to life and we were impressed with how balanced she was in all conditions. In the systems & hardware category, one of the most critical upgrades we made was the installation of a fully custom hydraulics system. This new system allowed us to turn the corners much faster than would’ve been possible with the original Harken system. Andrew also did a great job in designing an efficient deck layout for all the sheet leads, blocks, clutches, etc. Finally, Tony Rey of Doyle Sails got us some new rags which of course bring it all together. We started with a fairly light sail inventory (one, jib, one kite) since we planned on a new rig at some point, and this year we’ll be adding a few more to that lineup. I think the whole crew was pretty happy with the shape and performance of the sails, an I think the black-on-black made for some striking photos.

Zemphira. Photo credit: Onne van der Wal

 How have the modifications changed your (and the crews) relationship with the boat?

BH: I think I can safely speak for Andrew [on-board boat manager], Kirsty [captain], myself, and for the owners in saying that we’ve all fallen in lust with this boat. She’s so stunningly beautiful that you almost forget how powerful of a weapon she is on a racecourse. We are really lucky that she landed in the hands of owners who are so passionate and qualified to treat the boat with the ongoing care and upgrades that she deserves, even despite some seriously expensive setbacks and surprises early on. In giving their crew (myself included) a blank slate, a healthy budget, and a long leash, they really got us excited and kept us excited about the project. It was extremely rewarding to look back during a race to see both owners sitting in a busy cockpit, hand on the wheel and big smiles on the face. I think everyone (some of the competitors included!?) is excited to see the boat back on the water next Summer.

SW: What are the future plans for Zemphira?

 BH: We’ve just been given the greenlight to replace the spars, which were really the only components that were original to the boat – literally everything else onboard had been replaced or seriously modified during the past two winters. We have an Offshore Spars mast & boom on order, along with a set of EC6 carbon rigging. This is essentially ‘the last step’ (in my opinion) to fully turbo-charging the boat to her maximum potential. We’ll spend this Winter at Lyman Morse again, who have done a really great job all along and even managed to make it an enjoyable process for the crew and outside contractors involved. Big shout out and thank you to Lyman, Andrew, Kirsty, to all of our contractors, the race team, and to the owners for allowing us to have so much fun on such a cool platform. Oh – and thanks to Stephens Waring for taking on such an involved role throughout this whole process!

Read More about Zemphira’s Major Renovation

Newport is a beautiful coastal haven and is perfectly suited for life on the water, which also makes it the perfect place to host a boat show. The Newport Brokerage Boat Show in conjunction with the Newport International Boat Show is held annually at the end of the busy summer season. This year’s show had more than 100 sailing and motor yachts on display, ranging in size from 40 to 180 feet in length and varied in styles and types. There was also an exceptional array of exhibitors for yachting equipment, electronics, gear and local art. WYP had four yachts available for display in this year’s brokerage show; Southern Winds Shipyard Farr 72’, Little Harbor 59’, Oyster 56’ and Able Wolf Class 44’.  

Many thanks to all who came out to enjoy our yachts in the perfect September weather!

Able Wolf Class 44′ ~ MERLIN
Little Harbor 59′ ~ LAMLASH, Able Wolf Class 44′ ~ MERLIN, Oyster 56′ ~ GRATEFUL
WYP Yachts on display
Able Wolf Class 44′ ~ MERLIN
Able Wolf Class 44′ ~ MERLIN
Little Harbor 59′ ~ LAMLASH

Little Harbor 70 ~ WILD THING, Spinnaker
Little Harbor 70 ~ WILD THING

One look at WILD THING’s spinnaker emblazoned with a cartoon monster from the iconic children’s picture book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and one knows immediately where the name came from and what this boat is all about:  adventure and making memories with family and friends. Indeed, the owners of over twenty years have raised a family of three girls – with grandchildren now in their mix – aboard WILD THING primarily along the US east coast and throughout the Caribbean but also in Europe. The yacht has been central to this family’s life for decades and has truly been a spectacular platform for adventures for the young and young at heart. 

Now offered for sale with a major price adjustment from $1.2M to $950,000.

39′ Concordia yawl, WESTRAY, hull #79 built in 1960
39′ Concordia yawl, WESTRAY, hull #79 built in 1960 ~ sailing in Camden Classic Regatta 8/2022

The Camden Classics Cup is an annual regatta sailed where ‘the mountains meet the sea’ off the lovely harbor town of Camden, Maine. The Camden Classics Cup is blend of on-the-water racing and stellar onshore events. ​This year’s regatta lived up to the hype with exceptional weather both days, a great fleet and a humdinger of a party thrown by Lyman Morse complete with a ten piece band with horn section, raw bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and drinks, multiple open bars and amazing food to celebrate all of the new construction at the boatyard.

Our very own broker and WYP partner, Chris Fairfax, participated in this year’s regatta, as Navigator and pit crew aboard the iconic 39′ Concordia yawl, WESTRAY, hull # 79 and built by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1960. Chris helped the current owners Juan Corradi and Christina Spellman purchase the boat some eleven years ago and has raced on her several times over the years in Maine for the Eggmoggin Reach Regatta and feeder races, in Marblehead and Newport as part of the Panerai Classic Yacht Series and on Narragansett Bay for the Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta.

This year Chris’s wife Susan and youngest son Will were able to join as race-crew, which was a thrill. Chris relates:

“It was so much fun racing together as a family and reconnecting with Juan and Christina. And what a privilege it is to play and race on a Ray Hunt designed Concordia Yawl in one of the finest sailing grounds in the world- Penobscot Bay off of Camden, Maine. The weather could not have been better and the sailing conditions were close to ideal with a little bit of everything thrown into the mix, except NO FOG!! We also got to joust with four other Concordia yawls, which always adds to the excitement. After two years of Covid and being so insanely busy with yacht sales, this summer has felt a bit more normal, and it has been great to get our own Tartan 34 GLAD TIDINGS back in the water to cruise and to be able to participate in an event like the Camden Classics. It all serves as a reminder of why we love boats and do what we do!”

This is but one example of how our team at Wellington stays current by doing a myriad of activities with and on behalf of our clients from deliveries, training, managing refits, racing in regattas and using our own boats so we are up on the latest rules and regs., best restaurants, pro tips for secret moorings, available slips…you get the picture:) We hope to see you out on the water this summer!

Oyster 655 ~ MATAWAI

The Oyster 655, designed by Rob Humphreys, is one of the G5 generation of cutting-edge Oysters, utilizing carbon fiber and Kevlar to keep weight to a minimum. The 655 has been designed to cruise the world’s oceans in comfort and style with an emphasis on performance. The 655 is a powerful, responsive yacht, equally at home providing thrills on the race course or as a comfortable long-distance cruising platform. In terms of detail and finish, the Oyster 655 will not disappoint. 

A good number of these 655’s are owner-driven, but an equal number carry full time crew. The versatile four-cabin/three-head layout works well for both. Of special note is the owner’s cabin, which is quite large with its own companionway access on deck, and perfect for live-aboard and extended cruising scenarios. 

MATAWAI has the preferred layout with access to the large forward foc’sle via a passageway from below, key for offshore sailing. Combined with the on-deck full-beam lazarette there is ample room for the cruiser and racer alike to store all the necessary kit such as scuba gear, inflatable SUPs, compressors, downwind sails, spare anchors, fenders – you name it! 

The large sunken galley is open to the aft part of the salon, very much in keeping with today’s lifestyle and preference for living and entertaining. But as important as the below deck spaces are, it is the cockpit on MATAWAI which is truly the focus and is nothing short of spectacular, anchored around a gorgeous teak table with built-in refrigeration, with loads of comfortable and protected seating. Twin wheels allow for enhanced sail handling and easy access to and from the large aft deck where more open-air seating in located with room for sunbathing as well. 

MATAWAI is tastefully appointed and was updated extensively in both 2012, 2014, 2020 and 2022 (many details of which can be found in the listing). She is very well maintained and is priced accordingly.  She represents a best-in-class opportunity amongst Oyster 655s and a great value in the market at large. 

We invite your serious inquiry and close inspection. One has to see the engine room, bilge areas and organized lockers to fully appreciate just how “dialed in” this yacht truly is.