Light winds and cool weather combined for a great day of racing during today’s Destin World Championship Offshore races. After a 2 hour delay to replace our port engine raw water pump, we motored out to Turn 5 south of Henderson Beach State Park to watch the races and act as a volunteer Patrol Boat guarding the race course from spectator encroachment. Please click on the photo thumbnail to browse our photos from today. Besides the race boats, we captured quite a few spectator boats and of course the Angel Flight helicopters.
While the traditional North American boating season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, September and October mark one of our favorite times on the Gulf Coast. Daytime temperatures are ‘moderating’ into the mid-80′s and nighttime lows on the water finally get to the low 70′s.
When the weather so beckons, we usually find ourselves running down to Spectre Island, a small island in Santa Rosa Sound on the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway about 5 miles west of Fort Walton Beach. Spectre offers a deep water harbor off the ICW and quiet beaches for the kids. Evening during the summer, we usually have the island to ourselves if we go out during the week. Click on the photo to see some highlight pictures from one of our trips out.
Posting has been a bit slow on DestinSharks due to our continued development of our EarthNC Marine Charts for Google Earth project and some down time on our Regal 2760. Our Regal is powered by twin Mercruiser 4.3L engines which have the distinction of being the only engines in the Mercruiser line with electric fuel pumps.
Anyone who has owned boats can tell you that mechanical problems are a fact of life (unless your boat is a canoe or kayak) and our Regal is no different. This time, it was the starboard engine which quit and would not restart during our last outing in early July. Fortunately, we were only a 1/2 mile from our slip (rather than the 20 miles away we had been earlier in the day) so we didn’t have far to go before the troubleshooting began.
Last weekend, we got a chance to make our 1st ‘distance’ overnight trip of the 2007 boating season in our Regal 2760 ‘Southern Comfort’. South winds made for calm water in the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway as we cruised west to Little Sabine Bay in Pensacola Beach. Our boating weekend would include camping out with friends Travis and John and their family members Friday night, followed by a beach-side church shrimp boil on Saturday.
Planing out a large cruiser isn’t difficult, but a little attention to technique will go a long way towards understanding how to best plane your boat under different loading conditions. We’ve put together a short video to illustrate the technique we use with our boat when loaded.
Our boat is a Regal 2760 28′ cruiser powered by twin 190HP Mercruiser engines and Bravo III outdrives. At 8500lbs dry, our weight can easily top 10,000lbs with passengers and gear – placing it in the middle of the express cruiser pack.
In our biased opinion, the Regal 2760 / 2860 Commodore express cruiser built from about 1999 to 2005 is one of the best 28′ cruisers ever produced. The model number was changed for 2004-2005 to the 2860 with only minor changes in fixtures and finish items. Twin 4.3L engines provide great performance with reasonable gas consumption while an 9’11″ beam yields a class leading cabin and cockpit. The current 2860 Commodore Window Express cruiser is a completely new vessel. Click on the picture to go to our photo tour and read on for a detailed review.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Chester “Chet” Robinson who suffered cardiac arrest shortly after reboarding his boat following a dive on the USS Oriskany last Saturday. The general consensus is that his passing was not directly related to the dive itself, but stemmed from pre-existing heart conditions. I happened to be monitoring channel 16 on our Regal during a break from photographing the Emerald Coast Poker Run and heard the land side of the Coast Guard response. Hearing the exchange made me think about handling on-water medical emergencies – especially one that might incapacitate the primary “captain”.
Friday evening was one of those great times to be on the water – pretty skies, a quiet anchorage, and good company. We knew there was a slight chance of scattered showers during the night, but nothing like the wind storm and drenching we were due to receive. Click on the radar image to play the movie. You’ll need Apple Quicktime to it play it.
We arrived 1st yesterday evening with our Regal 2760 followed shortly thereafter by Larry and Violet in their nice 3560. Saturday morning saw the arrival of Roger and Teri in their recently aquired 2860 and finaly Greg in his 3860. All told, not a bad showing of Regals amongst the crowd of hungry boaters.
We hauled out our Regal 2760 for the 1st time on our new Hi-Tech Marine aluminum trailer. The day was as uneventfull as we could expect for handling such a large boat at the ramp and around town.
We considered most of the major trailer makers – ez-loader, loadmaster, shorelander, and others before settling on the Hi-Tech brand. Most of the brands had a trailer suitable for our needs, but the Hi-Tech had the best set of features vs. price and had the advantage of being produced in nearby Panama City.
Read on for full details and more pictures: