|ALYS was the 66th Island Packet 26, built in 1983 by Traditional Watercraft (later named Island
Packet Yachts) designed by Bob Johnson in Largo Florida. She is full-keeled, cutter rigged, and the "charter model", meaning she had extra water tanks and electric refrigeration, along with the other amenities of a Mark II, Island Packet 26.
Originally, she was sold by Allied Yacht Sales of Florida. Her first owner named her Skoal VI and moved her to Watergate Marina, Clearlake, Texas.
In February, 1986, my late uncle "Captain Bill" (Cavanaugh) was at Watergate looking at another boat and spotted the Skoal VI, and was totally attracted! He went home to California, described her to Aunt Alyce. They made the original contract for sale over the telephone.
By April 1, they had sold their home, loaded one car with gear for the boat, and he, with cat, George, headed for Texas. Aunt Alyce took the other cat Gracie and aided by her sister Aunt Iryce and brother-in-law Uncle De, took the other car and trailer loaded with things for storage, and joined Capt. Bill in Texas.
The four of them, Capt. Bill, Aunt Alyce, George and Gracie, moved aboard May 1, 1986. After sea trials, outfitting, and settling in, the final thing to do was to document the boat. He went alone to the Coast Guard, Houston...and had to give a name for the boat. They had not made a final selection, but Aunt Alyce would not agree to having it carry her name. He thought he pulled a fast one by naming her ALYS. With glee, he presented the papers with the new name....and Aunt Alyce was pleased.
Her name is pronounced "Alice", whereas the boats' name is pronounced "Aleece"....so they are different but significantly similar.
August 9, 1986, they left Watergate and set sail for adventures of live-aboard cruising. With ALYS pointed for eastern waters, they headed for the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway).
September 6, they made landfall at Dunedin, Florida. After a couple months in Palmetto, Florida, onJanuary 9, 1987, they headed south, crossed Florida via the Caloosahatchee Canal, and on January 20, 1987, berthed in Island Point Marina, Merritt Island, Florida.
April 21, 1987, the ICW again beckoned and they sailed north as far as Annapolis, Md.. Along the way, "guests" would join them at various points, sail along with them, then leave when their time schedule would demand their return to ho-hum life "back home".
August 21, 1987, they arrived back at the marina in Merritt Island.
May 1,1988, they left, but due to engine problems, they had to be towed back and spent the summer being repaired.
August 1, 1988, they headed north to Jacksonville, entering the St. John's River. After enjoying "almost perfect" sailing, on September 18, they were returned to Merritt Island for winter.
April 1, 1989 they headed south, sailing around the tip of Florida...with "plans" to go to Mobile, Alabama, then enter the Tom-Bigbee and to do interior sailing taking various canals to the Tennessee River. Their plans were to eventually settle at Lake of The Ozarks as a final berth.
Needing mechanical attention before crossing the gulf, they came into Fort Myers Beach. One thing lead to another, fascination with the area and friendly folks changed their plans and Island Bay Marina became their permanent home.
They bought a home in the marina, and with ALYS berthed only a few feet away, spent many happy times in the local and coastal waters of the Gulf.
As a younger man, I spent quite a few of my vacations aboard the ALYS. Several times on the ICW. Once on the Saint Johns River in Florida. And numerous other times in and around the Florida coast.
Sadly in September of 2001, my uncle passed away. A hard decision was thrust upon my aunt: what to do about ALYS. Because of my love of sailing and the interest that I've always expressed in the boat, she decided to let me have the first chance to purchase ALYS. I jumped at the offer!
After I met several self imposed conditions, I flew down to Florida to look over the boat and to get her ready for a survey. For several days, my aunt and I cleaned and removed personal items from ALYS. A lot of fond memories were taken off. And I do mean A LOT! I never knew so much stuff could be packed into a boat. I had to keep reminding myself that they lived on the boat for many years, and everything that they might ever need had to be onboard.
On the 15th of January, 2002, the marine surveyor arrived. After a thorough going over at the slip, it was time for the sea trial, then off to Compass Rose Marina, to have her hauled for a look at her bottom.
The surveyor detected a few minor problems but gave her a clean bill of health.
Due to my work schedule, I had to leave the next day and would not be able to get back to Florida until the end of February. It was decided that it would be economically feasible to relaunch ALYS and to store her at her home marina rather than leave her on the hard at Compass Rose. So back in the water she went, and I started back home.
On the 23rd of February, 2002, Frances (my wife), Marcus (#2 son) and myself, flew back down to Florida to prep ALYS for the trip north (David, our #1 son, had prior obligations). My parents and Aunt Alyce were there waiting. Frances, Marcus and I spent two night on the boat, then on the 25th, moved her over to Olsen Marine for final prepping prior to haul out.
The big day finally came on the 27th. At about 10:00 hours, ALYS left salt water for good. By noon, she was on the flat bed and at 13:00 hours she was on her way north.
We were all left standing there, each to our own thoughts. I can't speak for any one else, but I was thinking about how good it felt to own her, but yet sadden by the circumstances that lead up to my possession of her.
"Captain Bill, may your soul rest in peace and all of your voyages have fair winds and a following sea."
Because it was essential I meet her upon arrival at her new home at Stockton, Missouri, we had to catch the afternoon flight back to Kansas City.
On the morning of March 1st I awakened early so I could get to the lake before ALYS arrived.
The weather forecast called for snow in the afternoon but said that the morning would be dry. THEY WERE WRONG!!!
It started misting on the way down. And by the time I arrived at the lake, it was raining. The trucker arrived around 10:30 hours, just about that same time the wind picked up.
ALYS arrived unscathed and was unloaded without incident. Her new owner was soaking wet and frozen. I stayed around long enough to talk to the yard master but was never so glad to get back into a warm car. It started to snow on the way home.
That night we got 5" of snow.
Poor ALYS, she now sits covered in snow, on the hard with no mast or rigging. If she could talk she would probably say:
"What the hell are you doing to me? I was nice and warm in Florida, and now I'm here, with this cold white stuff all over me, I have no rigging and can barely see any water. Some life you are giving me"!
Don't fret ALYS, very soon you will be back in the water, flying all of your canvases and strutting your stuff once again.
That brings us up to date.
Check back for future update.