Sailing with the Nieces

First of all… a quick glance at the countdown timer to the right will reveal that we have now slipped under a year and a half until we leave Regatta Pointe and start our cruising adventure. 🙂

Wednesday, Cindy and I were blessed to be visited by the two daughters of my oldest sister, Wanda: Heather and Holly. Holly was accompanied by her boyfriend, Jason, while Heather brought her two babies, Winry, 4 1/2 years old, and Gaius, 1 year old. What a pleasure it was to have them all with us for a daysail, especially the two little ones. Since this was the first time we had small children on board, the day prior, we bought a couple of infant/child size life jackets. They were perfect.

Fun in the sun

Fun in the sun

The gang arrived around 11:30 a.m. After a safety briefing, we were underway around noontime. Cindy prepared sandwiches for lunch while we motored down the Manatee River. Once we hit the bay, the sails went up and we sailed toward the Sunshine Skyway bridge with a 10-15 knot ENE wind. Along the way, the day’s wildlife spottings included the usual waterfowl, numerous dolphins, a sea turle (by Jason), and a jellyfish!

The Jellyfish off our transom steps

Serenity

Serenity

Jason, one with the sail

Jason, one with the sail

Gaius, in his infant life vest, being held by mommy

Cindy and Winry

Cindy and Winry

Today’s sail was the first in which we sailed through several squalls. At one point, we had winds of 35-37 knots. The ominous sky was awesome to behold. The threatening rain, lightning, and thunder provided a little extra excitement for the day.

Yikes!

Old Glory flapping freely in our 30 knot winds

Old Glory flapping freely in our 30 knot winds

The little ones seemed to really enjoy the day, especially Winry. She had a ball using Beatitude as her own personal playground. She showed no fear as she made her way fore and aft. She was thrilled when I gave her command of the vessel. It took virtually every ounce of strength she had to turn the wheel. But turn it she did, and we made loops and circles and figure of eights in the middle of the Manatee River as she giggled with glee.

Winry at the helm

Thankfully, the wind died down slightly as we approached our slip. We backed in without incident. After securing our vessel, we all enjoyed some grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. Cindy made some wonderful potato salad, deviled eggs, and banana pudding to go with the grilled goodies. In sum, we enjoyed another wonderful day with family on our sailing home.

Safely back in our slip

Safely back in our slip

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