We did it! We managed to pack all our things, fly down to Jacksonville and bought ourselves a beautiful Huckins yacht. As Tony says, “this is a dream we never knew we had…”
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These photos are of the transom being hand-lettered by Larry Dillon who has supposedly painted most every Huckins transom for the last 40 years.
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Our week in Jacksonville was equal parts exciting and exhausting for Tony and I — each day was spent organizing, shopping, returning, ordering, fixing, cleaning, etc. you get the picture. Our hard work definitely paid off though – the boat interior was beautifully finished, the transom painted, boat christened, and all the interior spaces outfitted for travel and living aboard. This week represents a unique time that the boat was owned by two families: it came out of the water as Jennie Mac and back in as the CORTADO.
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We visited the Huckins boatyard and the kids met Cindy Purcell, granddaughter of Frank Pembroke Huckins and current owner of the Huckins Corporation. Oliver drew her a picture of his colorful Huckins model-idea and she hung it on the drafting room wall where every custom Huckins Yacht is designed! Way to go, Oliver!

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A highlight of the week was dinner with the Busey’s on their farm. We sipped Côtes du Rhône and Cabernet under the stars while the kids played baseball, puzzles and Yatzee!  The farm was gorgeous, with eggs to collect and many animals to feed, pet and marvel. Brooks and Jennie are building an extraordinary life there with their two beautiful children. We share a similar vision with the Busey’s of wanting more quality-of-life family experiences and adventures with our kids… between our two families I would say we were achieving this in spades. We feel lucky to have found this incredible, perfect-for-us boat but the real gift was meeting the Busey family, from whom we bought our boat. We endeavor to take great care of the JENNIE MAC in her new life as the CORTADO.

Needless to say, leaving Jacksonville was hard to do.

As I explained above, we had made some friends there and sort of liked being around them. We could not wait to get going south and started on our adventures, but the safety of Sadler Point Marina and the wealth of knowledge there about our boat was a nice comfort. There was some anxiety about leaving the boatyard but we knew it was time. The kids were flexible and helpful and Tony and I were a formidable team in the preparation.

Our first day underway took us north out of Jacksonville and the St. John’s river, which hooked around east and south to St. Augustine. It took us about 7-hours to our next port of St. Augustine. It was a surprise to us, boasting beautiful Spanish architecture, a quaint, cultural community, lots of art, music and many great restaurants. We stayed two nights at the City Marina, as we continued to organize ourselves, explored the town, picnic-ed at the fort (Castillo de San Marcos), played putt-putt, all while also doing schoolwork and laundry.

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A few photos of Cortado‘s main cabin, making lunch in the galley and a favorite napping spot on the engine boxes.  

Tony charting our course with the kids.
At the dock in New Smyrna, FL.
Soon we are off again down the inter coastal waterway to the small town of New Smyrna and their City Marina. So far we have seen lots of playful dolphins, a couple of manatees and many beautiful birds. We are in a good rhythm when underway and every day out, Tony gets more and more comfortable driving, navigating and docking  CORTADO.

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Boat School is a success, so far.


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