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Gypsies Palace with Buddy Boat

GYPSIES PALACE FEATURED IN GULFSHORE LIFE MAGAZINE

Wondering what it is like to be full time cruisers?  Gypsies Palace was interviewed by Gulfshore Life Magazine along with our Buddy Boat, One Eye Dog.  This is a copy of the article where you learn what it is like to live on a boat full time and create a community on the water.

THE BOAT NEXT DOOR

Two liveaboard couples leave dry land and create a community on the water.

BY JAYNIE BARTLEY

It’s a particularly hot morning on the Caloosahatchee River, the sun warms the back of my neck despite the clouds threatening an afternoon shower.

Debbie and Steve Russell’s dog Jazzy relaxes on the couch on their boat, “Gypsies Palace” while docked in Fort Myers on May 22, 2020. Jazzy rides with Debbie and Steve while they travel in their boat throughout the year. (Photo by Scott McIntyre for Gulfshore Life Magazine)

The gentle, lulling snores of a sleeping schnauzer, named Jazzy, are audible in the background as he cuddles up against my side. Abby, a one-eyed Maltese, crawls across my lap to get to her owners sitting beside me.

We’re poised around a table at the stern of April and Larry Smith’s home, an Aquila 44 power catamaran lovingly named One Eye Dog, with their boating buddies Steve and Debbie Russell. The Russell’s own Endeavour 500 power cat, dubbed Gypsies Palace, is docked next door.

April and Larry Smith relax on their boat “One Eyed Dog” alongside their one eyed dog Abby (on table) and April and Larry Smith’s dog Jazzy while docked in Fort Myers, FL on Saturday, May 23, 2020. (Photo by Scott McIntyre for Gulfshore Life Magazine)

The four typically cruise from port to port together, and are part of a group of boaters known as Loopers—people who travel the approximately 6,000-mile Great Loop that encompasses waterways throughout the eastern United States and parts of Canada, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River and channels that connect the Great Lakes.

When the pandemic hit, the two liveaboard (a term used for people who reside on a boat) couples decided to stay at The Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers until docks along the loop started to reopen.

Marina at Edison Ford
Docked at The Marina at Eidson Ford

Southwest Florida’s quiet marinas serve as temporary homes for many boat-dwellers, with some docking at The Marco Island Marina or Goodland’s Safe Harbor Calusa Island once they reach the Gulf. Steve tells me that even beyond the pandemic, Fort Myers is particularly appealing for longer stays, due to its proximity to the city and its plentiful dining and entertainment options, as well as being close to Marco Island, Naples, Sanibel and Captiva.

When on land, they travel on foot or on electric bikes that they stow aboard. Sometimes, they’ll get a rental car.

Riding our e bikes
Riding our E Bikes

Once, a landlocked stranger they’d met on their journeys let them borrow his $80,000 sports car to tool around the area. Serendipitous moments like these are not uncommon in their seafaring lifestyle. “The difference between us and the regular winter visitors is that when we’re tired of this view, we just go to another view,” Steve says. Larry adds: “And it’s more than an RV on the water, because we have all of the deck space, too.”The couples docked at Edison Ford soon after helping the Smiths’ daughter move from California to Palm Harbor, about two hours north of Fort Myers. The plan was to head to Canada. But then marinas started taking precautions against the coronavirus and stopped allowing new boats to dock. “We were lucky to be here, we have this beautiful environment and all we have to do is open our doors,” Debbie says. “I would have gone crazy if we were stuck in a house,” April adds.

The liveaboard lifestyle has evolved significantly. Though they still take a minimalist approach, families who live on boats now have  access to spacious, high-end cabins stocked with top-of-the-line amenities, including internet hot spots, full-size showers and heating and air conditioning. The most luxurious yachts might even have stylish living areas, media rooms and hot tubs.

The Smiths and Russells take a particularly unique approach to boating life. In addition to having completed the Great Loop multiple times (for most, it’s a one-time, bucket-list experience) and doing so in power cats (which is less common, since the wider beam could make docking at some places difficult), they have also created a floating community between the two boats. While most boaters link up from time to time, these couples stick together most of the time.

I can tell from my first 30 minutes with the group that they are kindred spirits, as they all take turns finishing each other’s sentences. They live like tight-knit neighbors—when one  couple’s boat is low on supplies, they hop over “next door” to borrow from the other boat.

April and Debbie compare themselves to a modern-day Ethel and Lucy—texting each other every morning to see what their plans are for the day, doing yoga on their decks and shopping together when they’re on land, while the men play video games or work on the boats. “April and I are both high-energy people,” Debbie jokes, adding that the husbands are more laid-back.

Kayaking at Eidson Ford
Kayaking at Eidson Ford
Debbie and Steve Russell look out over the marina from their boat “Gypsies Palace” while docked in Fort Myers, FL on Friday, May 22, 2020. Debbie and Steve Russell have been traveling through the East Coast’s waterways on their boat for the past three years. (Photo by Scott McIntyre for Gulfshore Life Magazine)

The boats also complement each other. When it’s raining, the group is more likely to hunker down in Gypsies Palace,  which has all the indoor fancies, such as a spacious kitchen island and a fully-stocked wine fridge. When it’s a picture-perfect day, One Eye Dog’s ample outdoor spaces provide the ideal setting. 

The group met about three years ago in Cape May, New Jersey, while they were traveling on the Great Loop, headed toward Staten Island. Coincidentally, both had been living on their boats for about a year at that point. When they realized they shared a destination, they made plans to link up at a pizza place. “We always joke that it was our first date,” April says.

The Russells were on the dock with their previous catamaran, a Leopard 47, and the Smiths were curious about switching to a power cat for its smooth ride, expansive deck and access to shallow waters, such as those in the Gulf.

Soon after, the Smiths purchased their Aquila 44. They customized the boat by turning one of the three bedrooms into a storage unit, removing the indoor dining table to open up the living room area and adding an Abby-sized safety fence around the perimeter, as well as a faux-grass pad on the deck. They’ve since become involved with the boat’s maker, and have provided insights on livability and possible improvements the company can make to future models.

Around the same time, the Russells bought their Endeavour 500—which is one of only 10 ever made. Named after the popular Jimmy Buffet song “Gypsies in the Palace,” the Endeavour feels more like a condo than a boat, with 850-square-feet of interior living space that features a capacious master suite with a walk-in shower; a full kitchen with an eat-in island; two additional bedrooms; a living area with a large sectional sofa; and a top-deck dining area that comfortably seats 12 guests. Creature comforts, like a washer-dryer unit, large TV and built-in storage space, make for easy living. “You get to move and go to all these places,” Steve says. “And you bring your house with you—there’s no need to pack a bag,” Debbie adds.

When looking to upgrade from the Leopard, they had their eye on an Endeavour 500. When a boating friend showed them his, it was love at first sight. Steve tapped connections from his former profession as a yacht broker but quickly learned that the only way they’d acquire one for themselves was if a current owner relinquished theirs. When their friend finally decided to sell, he called the Russells and they made the deal immediately.

After living on the boat for a while,  Steve decided to get back to work at his old day job of selling boats to help others looking to live aboard. Now, they travel the country helping others buy their dream boats. They recently helped facilitate the sale of another rare Endeavour 500.

Both couples willingly left their “dirt houses”—as they call their landlocked homes—behind to escape to a life on the water. They tell me that there’s usually a reluctant spouse who needs convincing, but for them, the decision to sell their homes and condense their belongings was mutual all around.

Debbie, who had grown jealous of Steve’s time spent on the water, transporting boats, was more than ready to sell their Boca Raton home and move onto the boat. April and Larry sold their ranch in Grass Valley, California, after Larry retired from his job in IT, but April continues to work for her mortgage firm from her home office on the One Eye Dog.

The four typically dock at a marina in the afternoon to explore the town, or drop in at an anchorage in the evening to cook dinner and relax for the night. While idle, the couples will sometimes cook meals, watch football or work on their computers. “This lifestyle gives you options,” Debbie says. “It’s like a permanent vacation,” Larry chimes in. 

The couples describe their boats as mini cities, with them serving as city planners to operate their vessels. They use solar panels to create power, and a reverse osmosis machine allows them to get fresh water from the saltwater. They only need to get off the boat for fuel, food and the occasional appointment (they have established favorite doctors, dentists and hair salons across the country and set up P.O. boxes on the mainland for incoming mail).

“We constantly get questioned wherever we go, ‘Where are you from?’” Steve says. “Well, we’re from Fort Myers right now. And next week, we’ll be from Naples. Wherever we’re at is where home is.” The Russells’ official “address” is a mail-forwarding service called St. Brendan’s Isle in Green Cove Springs, Florida. They joke that they have 7,000 neighbors. That’s how many people also have mailboxes there.

Traveling by water also gives the boaters a unique view of the country, taking in the changing landscapes devoid of highways, chain restaurants and commercial buildings like Walmart. Instead, they encounter small, family-run restaurants, shops and marinas, where they support local businesses and meet interesting personalities.

Shopping
Girls Day Out

April jokes that they travel by stomach, trying as many restaurants as they can on their journeys. “We eat all the food, we drink all the booze and we party,” Steve adds, with a content smile. Every evening around happy-hour time, the four will gather to one of the boats for what they call “docktail hour.”

As Happy Hour approaches, Debbie Russell pours Licor 43 for the group’s traditional drink together called, “Mini Beers.” The shot is made with Licor 43 and heavy cream and the group typically drinks them at the end of a day of cruising. (Photo by Scott McIntyre for Gulfshore Life Magazine)

When we last talked in July, the couples were cruising up through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which (if going south) is a common route on the Great Loop. But this time, they’re not rushing through to get to the next checkpoint. Instead, they’re taking their time to explore the area and each other’s company.

Living on the water may sound like a lonely pursuit, but these four will tell you otherwise. They all agree that the boating community is deeply connected—it’s common for boaters to carry cards with their photo and contact information that they swap upon meeting.

With more than 300 cards between the two of them, the Russells’ and Smiths’ stacks put my own collection of business cards to shame. “Wherever we go, there’s family,” April says. “We could go to almost any town and we would know someone, and that’s really special to us.”

Ladies on the Loop

A collection of 35 short stories offering guidance, humor, and reflection from women who have traveled America’s Great Loop.

Gypsies Palace Great Loop Track
Our track of the Great Loop in 2017

In 2017 Steve and I achieved an amazing accomplishment of completing the Great Loop on Gypsies Palace. Approximately 150 boats every year cross their wake by making an entire trip around the Great Loop. A friend and fellow Looper, Susan Costa, came up with the idea of gathering stories from women who have traveled the Great Loop. 35 women, including myself, volunteered to write a chapter in this e book. The stories are amazing and cover a wide range of topics. I am so proud to be part of this project.

Below is the part of the Chapter that I wrote called Cat Tales, Dog Tales and Docktails. At the end of my chapter I will provide a copy of the book and hope it will inspire others to accomplish their dream.

Cat Tales, Dog Tails & Docktails By Debbie Russell On Gypsies Palace. 47 Ft. Leopard Power Cat / 50 FT. Endeavour Power Cat Gold Looper 2017

Cat Tales

Most people spend a lot of time in the Planning Mode to do the Great Loop.  We went backwards – we decided to live aboard full time on a boat and go “All In” without even hearing about the Great Loop.  We sold our house and bought this big (47 feet long) and wide (25 feet wide) power catamaran.  We didn’t even talk about where we would go, but it would be somewhere fun.  Our first task was to move our “stuff” onboard and make some modifications to cruise.  One day I opened Passage Maker Magazine and there was this big ad for the Great Loop from this organization AGLCA.  I joined it without telling my husband and began to read up on the Loop.  It was fascinating. I couldn’t keep it a secret for long because I was getting so excited about all of the places along the Loop that we would see.  Very soon I was a daily Forum reader and found much of the information was overwhelming.  How could we ever do this?  We bought the boat in October and by December my head was filled with Looper Lingo, including a Rendezvous that was taking place that Spring!   My heart sank when I learned that we were too late to attend, but we would be on a wait list. I hoped that someone would cancel.  It turned out that Kim Russo emailed me in February saying that we were in!  Now we had to figure out how to get there in time! 

Leaving on the Loop on Gypsies Palace
Leaving on the Loop on Gypsies Palace

I also wondered about our big and wide Catamaran.  Could we really take it on the Loop?  We didn’t have anyone to ask (no one had big catamarans then) so I started researching any restrictions on the Loop for width and height.  Gypsies Palace is certainly a “Wide Body”.  When she is coming at you all you see is width.  I learned that we could not fit in the Trent Severn Waterway, but we could use the Welland Canal and go through Lake Erie to get to Canada.  Great!  One obstacle solved.

The second restriction is height.  We had to fit under the Chicago Railroad Bridge of 19.7 ft.  I cannot tell you how many times that we measured our air draft!  We could fit if we took the satellite dish down and that would put us to 18.5 feet.  But, this part of the trip was going to be a worry for me.   What if we got there and had to turn around?   What about getting under bridges in tight situations?  The one thing I didn’t want to do is to be the one to go look at our roof and say, “Yeah, we can make it…..I think…..”  So, what my husband did is that he created a pole that I could stand on the bow of our boat that would equal the height of our boat.  If the pole touched the bridge we couldn’t make it.  I will say that this really helped us on the Erie Canal because we were close for one of them!  But, we never touched.  Another worry got put away.

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Dockview from Gypsies Palace

IN THE SHELTER WITH GYPSIES IN THE PALACE

Gypsies Palace
Gypsies Palace In Shelter

Our blog has been “in shelter” these days as we are tied up in a marina and not doing much of anything, like most of you.  It is a little hard to be excited about writing about every day life on board when nearly every day is like the other day…..not very news worthy.   But, then again, you may be curious if you are not on a boat and may be wondering how life is doing for Gypsies Palace. 

We were very lucky to have made arrangements at the Eidson Ford Marina in Ft. Myers for mid March, just as things were going downhill.  This marina is where we have spent most of our winter stay and has been so nice to us.   We came in initially for a week, then 2 weeks, then a month and then another month.  It is a small marina where we are able to sit, get our pump outs at the slip and receive our numerous Amazon orders.  We are able to walk to Publix and occasionally get take out from the local restaurants.  Additionally, the restaurant at the marina sold us fish. We bought snapper, grouper, mussels and even chicken.  That is a nice unexpected perk. 

It was very fortunate for us and our Buddy Boat, One Eye Dog that we didn’t have to worry about travel plans because at this point we had none!

Some boaters were not so lucky.  Many marinas were no longer taking transients or worse, made them leave.  The Florida Keys took the matter seriously and asked many boats to leave if they had not made long term arrangements.  Canada completely shut down.  The Bahamas took extreme measures due to their limited medical care so boats either had to leave or stay in place and follow strict regulations.  Certain states were closed to boating completely.  It was hit or miss, but luckily we are a tight community with shared information, particularly from the Waterway Guide and Facebook.  We kept saying everyday that we were very lucky with our decisions.

Gypsies Palace at Cayo Costa
Gypsies Palace at Anchor

But, let me back up and give you a glimpse of our week before the big Dock Tie Up.  It may take your mind back to paradise.   On the way to Ft. Myers we were excited about spending a week at anchor at a very beautiful spot by Boca Grande, called Cayo Costa State Park.  This anchorage can accommodate a large number of boats and is very protected from winds.  It is located by Captiva Island and Cabbage Cay.  There is a state park with walking trails and access to the Gulf.  It is nine miles of untouched beaches accessible only by boat.  It is the perfect place for swimming, kayaking, shelling, bird watching, fishing and long walks along the Gulf. 

We were met by our Buddy Boat, One Eye Dog and we rafted together for several days.  During this time we took our kayaks and dinghy around to explore Manatee Cove and fun places within the anchorage.  By the time we were ready to leave we started hearing about Covid-19 and Social Distancing.  We had been rafted together during our stay so the four of us became a “family” to weather out the In Shelter order on our boats.

It was eerie going back to the marina, which formerly was full of activity and people.  The boaters that were there remained on their boats and we had very little contact with anyone outside of One Eye Dog.  So, there we sat – all Fit to be Tied Up at the dock.  Our fuel tanks were full since we bought fuel with the reduced fuel prices, but nowhere to go!  What did we do to occupy our time with No Docktails!  No Loopers! 

The guys got busy with projects.  The most frequent complaint from the Captain is that there is never any time to work on things because we are always moving.  Well, Steve got his wish and he completed over 21 projects.  The BBQ got rebuilt, the engine room got painted – some were more exciting for me than others.  We got new upholstery upstairs and down.  The biggest project was upgrading of the solar and inverter system on the boat.  This also involved adding batteries and controllers for the panels.  We look forward to testing this out at our next anchorage.  The Galley got TLC with wet sanding and polishing the Corian counter.  Plus, lighting was added under the cabinets.  Thank goodness West Marine was open and Amazon delivered. 

While the guys were slaving away the girls improved our cooking skills.  What was fun is that Steve started catching blue crab at the marina and nearly every day we had a feast of crab cakes, crab bisque or crab enchiladas.  Steve perfected his skills at catching and cleaning them.  Who knew we would be eating daily crab in Ft. Myers!

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Sunset on Tampa Bay

Cruising Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Sunset
Sunset on Tampa Bay

This year Gypsies Palace decided that it would be fun to spend a month cruising Tampa Bay.  Most Loopers and boaters stick with the normal route of going north and south on the Intracoastal Waterway.  Cruising Tampa Bay requires an extra 27 miles to go all the way to Tampa and most cruisers find this out of the way.  We planned on doing a whole “tour” cruising Tampa Bay from Apollo Beach and finally ending up at St. Pete Beach. 

However, in order to get there we had our very first engine problem in over a year and a half.  When we went to leave Ft. Myers Steve could not get the throttle to work on the port side.  We were unable to leave and he spent several days troubleshooting.  We managed to limp at idle speed into Sarasota where we discovered that it was not a Cummins issue, but a Twin Disc Transmission issue.  I will say Twin Disc went out of their way to get us help.  The repairman showed up on a Saturday at 5:30 in the morning!   It turned out that it was a wire that was disconnected.  Easy fix, but of course, the bill was time and a half plus travel! 

Gypsies Palace and Fish E Business
Gypsies Palace and Fish E Business

Our first stop cruising Tampa Bay was Apollo Beach.  The reason we chose this is that we have a sister boat called Fish E Business docked there and they had a dock for us behind their house.  They had also completed the Great Loop in their 50 Endeavour and we wanted to hear about their journey.  I took a picture of both our Endeavours at their dock.  They also hosted a Looper Gathering with over 55 people in attendance that had either completed the Loop or were planning it.

Things to do in Downtown Tampa

Tampa Downtown
View from Gypsies Palace of Downtown Tampa

It was an easy hop to Tampa from there to Marjorie Park Marina, a city owned facility on Davis Island.  We stayed there and used our dinghy to explore downtown Tampa, which is thriving.  We were constantly entertained by the boats that passed us – a Pirate Ship Tour Boat, water taxis and sculling/ rowing crews  from the local university.  Plus, we had an awesome view of the city at night.  They light up their bridges with different colors.

Tampa Pirate Ship
It’s a Pirate Town!

Downtown Tampa has a 2.4-mile Riverwalk that is really interesting and people take full advantage of it.  We ate at Sparkman Wharf, a new district of restaurants that are made from containers on ships.  It reminded me of permanent food trucks.  At the other end there is an entire building of food court type businesses called Armature Works.  It has been drawing the locals.  Our favorite is a restaurant called Ulele, named after a Florida Indian Princess.  They have their own brewery and make their own ice cream.  We had both!  We also took the free trolley to Ybor City, the Cuban district.  Naturally, we ate at the Columbia Restaurant, which is the original in Florida.  The food was awesome!

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Jazzy

Dogs On A Cat

Dogs on Board

One of the most frequent questions that we get about living on a boat is “How is it with the dogs”?  It might surprise you that in our travels we would estimate that maybe 65% of the full time cruisers have one or two dogs onboard.  Even more amazing is that many of the dogs are fairly large – Labs, Goldens, Huskies, Bull Dogs and many Doodles.  We have seen a wide variety.  For most people it is the pet that they had on land so they simply took the dog with them.  The Dog House is now the Boat House and some adapt better than others, but overall everyone is happy for the companionship of their best friend. 

Dogs on Perimeter Patrol
Perimeter Patrol

Our dog, Jazzy, is an eight year old Schnauzer, who is in his 4th year of living on a boat.  Dogs are able to adapt pretty easily to the lifestyle.  Dogs love to be close to their people and we actually spend more time with him on the boat.    When Steve and I were working we often left Jazzy alone for 8 hours or more.  This never happens on a boat.  We may go out for dinner, but often the restaurant is pet friendly and he goes, too.  While we are in a marina he loves to be out on the exterior of the boat and patrol the perimeter.  He doesn’t jump off or on the boat unless told.  If I leave the boat to take out the trash he will wait patiently and watch for me to return.  There is always something interesting going on in a marina and he gets lots of attention.

When we are underway he sleeps, much like he does when riding in a car.  He doesn’t like a rough ride, but neither do I.  When the wave action gets too much he honkers down on the couch next to the pillows.  I try to sit next to him and we all grit our teeth until we get to smoother water.  I know that some dogs do get seasick, but he has been okay on the boat and not been sick.  He does the mental block out with sleeping.

Jazzy naptime
Naptime!

His favorite time is after we dock at the marina.  He knows that I have to go up to the office and check in and this is his time to explore.  Oh, he also knows that many marina offices stock up dog treats so he can’t wait to go.  He constantly is meeting new people and lots of dogs.  It would be difficult to travel with a dog that didn’t like other dogs or greeting people.  Fortunately, Jazzy is up for all of that.  I call it “Doggie Speed Dating”.   He can’t wait to get to the dog, but once he has had his sniff he is looking for a new dog.   He also looks forward to Docktails when people come to our boat.  If they have dogs, they are invited, too, so it all is one big social event. 

Dogs on Bord

Jazzy is fortunate that we often travel with his BFF, Mozzy (which is short for Maserati cuz he’s fast).  Mozzy is a five year old Shi-Poo who has adapted to Boat Life better than Jazzy.  They place “chase” up and down the hall, on the dock and especially on any beach.  Steve had to put up dog netting along the side of the boat because they would run back and forth “body checking” each other.  I would strongly recommend the netting for dogs living aboard if your sides are low.  We ordered the material online and Steve installed it himself.  We sometimes add more dogs as Gypsies Palace and become the dock kennel when owners leave the boat.  Abby from One Eye Dog loves to come on board and get the boys all chasing her ball.  We really do have so much fun with these dogs!

Some places come with Perks.  Recently, we stopped in Titusville, FL.  Next to the marina is a Dog Park.  Life could not be better than a Dog Park.  Well, maybe a beach is a great time, too, especially without a leash.  No one is happier than to see dogs enjoying themselves on a beach.  Jazzy likes the sand, whereas, Mozzy and Abby splash around in the water.

Dog in Dinghy
Happy Dinghy Ride

The dinghy is another reason for tail wagging.  Both Jazzy and Mozzy love to ride in the dinghy.  They readily jump in and out and cannot wait for Steve to get it ready for them.  They know the dinghy means “relief” and great spots to explore.   The dogs also love to ride in the kayaks.  Who knew?

The question that you all want to know is what do the dogs do when they have to go to the bathroom?  Are they trained to go on the boat?  Ideally, we all want the dogs to be boat trained on a pad before casting lines for the cruising lifestyle.   Sadly, that doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes not ever. 

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Gypsies Palace

Meet Gypsies Palace – An Endeavour 50 Power Catamaran

Since we are starting over with our Coastal Journeys blog I thought it would be a perfect time to provide a more detailed look at Gypsies Palace and why we selected her.  The majority of our 1st blog was on a Leopard 47 Power Catamaran with a 25 foot beam.  Gypsies Palace now is an Endeavour 50 Power Catamaran with an 18 foot beam.  As you can tell, we love Power Cats! 

Gypsies Palace – Endeavour 50 Power Catamaran

We often get the question when people look at Gypsies Palace – “Isn’t she top heavy?”  I admit the boat does look that way, but she is not.   The boat is 52,000 lbs. and extremely stable in the water and wind.  This Endeavour appears to be tall, but she is only 19 feet to the top of our running light so we fit under many bridges. 

Gypsies Palace is an American made boat manufactured by Endeavour Corp., who has been making sailboats and catamarans for over 30 years in Clearwater, FL.  This is not a mass produced boat.  Only 11 Endeavour 50’s have been built with the last boat being splashed in 2019.  Endeavour also makes a 40 foot model that is very similar to the layout on our boat.  However, their most popular model is their Endeavour 44 Power Catamaran, which is also a great Looping boat. 

Bob & Alice Vincent from Endeavour Corp.

We truly did love our Leopard 47 Power Cat, but after two years cruising on it we decided that it just did not provide enough living space in bad weather.  The exterior cockpit was gorgeous, but frankly, we experienced more cold weather, rain, wind and bugs that made sitting outside unpleasant.  The interior salon was just too small for our needs. 

Why Did We Select the Endeavour 50?

  1.  Space – Gypsies Palace has nearly 850 square feet of living space.  There is plenty of room to entertain guests with a salon downstairs and a large Sky Lounge upstairs.  The feeling of openness with windows 360 degrees that can be opened up for cross ventilation.  That is a rarity in trawlers.  People find that a catamaran feels more open which is important when cruising long term.   Steve is 6’2’’ and is able to stand easily throughout the boat.
  2. Galley – It is a pleasure to cook on Gypsies Palace with an island bar much like you would have in a condo.  There is a dishwasher, propane stove, convection microwave, ice maker, 2 refrigerators, freezer and wine cooler.  There are deep pull out drawers and plenty of cabinets for storage.  Additionally, there is shelving behind one of the couches to store extra supplies.  Creating a dinner on board is just like cooking at home!  
  3. Master Bedroom – Again, plenty of space including a complete walk around bed that can be either king size or queen. 
  4. Master Head and Shower – It is mostly the shower we love.  It is down in one of the hulls and provides so much room!  There is plenty of room for toiletries, too.
  5. Comfort While Underway – We can easily carry on a normal conversation.  The helm / Sky Lounge has 360 degree visibility with windows (with screens) that we can open.  This is particularly nice when traveling the area with the biting files.  We are protected!   The staircase is inside so no one has to go outside in bad weather while underway.  The enclosed helm is also really nice on cold and rainy mornings.  We are dry and comfortable. 
  6. Stability and Maneuverability –  A catamaran provides greater stability and it is easy to control.  Our 18 foot beam allows us to fit in many marina slips. 
  7. Hull Design – Our props are protected in a tunnel drive.  Our hulls are actually flat and we could beach the boat and float off at high tide if we wanted to.  Our draft is 3.5 feet and even if we “touch” we can back off easily and continue on without any damage.  It is also harder for us to grab a crab pot!
  8. Economical – We typically travel at 10 mph and we burn 10 gallons per hour of diesel fuel.  We can also carry 1,000 gallons of fuel.  We have 2 Cummins QSB 6.7 engines at 425 horsepower each.  We can pump the speed up to 18 mph, but the fuel burn is considerably more.  It is go to know that we can do this faster speed if we need to outrun a storm. 
  9. Exterior Design – While we do not have a large outside seating cockpit area we do have 2 outside patios   The bow of the boat has an upper patio plus some cushioned seating below.  We also have a sliding door to an upstairs back patio with chairs if we want to face that direction.  The sides of the boat allow easy access to cleats and fenders.  The boat is smartly designed with 2 stepping areas on the stern which allow for low or high tides.  Additionally, we have a mid ship ladder for exiting on high fixed docks.
  10. Quality of Workmanship – Both the interior and exterior of the Endeavour is well thought out with beautiful woodwork and craftmanship.

So, how long are we going to do this?  

“WE’RE GOING TO ROCK IT, TIL WE CAN’T DOCK IT!”

Endeavour Owners

Coastal Journeys Re-Launch

Welcome to the Re-Launch of Coastal Journeys. You might ask, “Why is there a Re-Launch of our Coastal Journeys Blog?” The reason is that we forgot to renew our Domain with Go Daddy and failed to renew our blog theme. Blame it on the Bahamas and too much fun! We were enjoying the Exumas and did not pay attention to the email notices that were sent. The end result is that the original blog was not backed up so it was lost – our fault again. So, a new Coastal Journeys has to be created.

Our first Coastal Journeys blog was all about our adventure on the Great Loop in 2017. We had quite a time on a true Bucket List Journey that provided numerous memories and life long friends. We are now Gold Loopers having completed the Loop and are looking for new Coastal Journeys.

Gold Looper Flag
Gold Looper flag at sunset
Baltimore Harbor
Baltimore Harbor

For the past two summers we have enjoyed exploring the Chesapeake. We are continually finding new anchorages and new towns that are a delight. This year we went back to the Hudson River. It was every bit as beautiful as we remembered our Loop. We find that as we are now seasoned cruisers we spend many more nights at anchor.

This summer we also checked off a Bucket List for us which was anchoring behind the Statue of Liberty. It is a magical experience that did not disappoint. At night she held her lighted torch high against the backdrop of the New York City lights. We were delightfully surprised that the sun rose behind the Statue and we were able to capture that moment.

Statue of Liberty Anchorage

We also dipped our hulls into Long Island Sound where we took a mooring ball in Port Washington for a few days. The Long Island Railroad stops there and it is an easy trip into New York City. We always try to catch a Broadway Play and this year it was “Bat Out of Hell”. It was exhilarating and we loved it!

Coastal Journeys will feature our travel destinations plus also tales of everyday life as we cruise. We hope you enjoy being “virtual cruisers” with Gypsies Palace.

Deb & Jazzy on the bow of Gypsies Palace

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