Category Archives: USA

East Coast USA

As the weather had become chilly and with no real heating on my narrowboat, the cruising season had come to an end. I should have gone back to work over the winter to earn some much needed cash. With this in mind I returned to my mothers house and thought about what I could do over the winter months.

I was about to contact a previous employer when I glanced upon an advert on Crewseekers. Crewseekers is a website where boat owners advertise crew vacancies on their boats. They are travelling somewhere and need assistance to sail their boat, sometimes a short trip, sometimes a long trip. I saw an advert which sounded familiar, a trip on a new HH55 catamaran.

The new HH series of catamarans are a bit special. Made entirely of carbon fibre they are incredibly light and strong, and therefore fast ! You normally have a luxury boat which is packed of heavy appliances and utilities and is a cruiser, or a fast boat which has most of the luxury items missing !

The HH catamarans are both luxurious and fast. They use the latest design techniques with C shaped daggerboards, T shaped rudders, lightweight carbon fibre hulls,etc,etc.

HH55 Edgewater

The advert was from a guy who advertised for a position before when the boat was being built in China. Unfortunately the boat got delayed and other things transpired against us so we never met up. He had already had a season on his boat and sailed around parts of the Caribbean. He had moved his boat up the east coast of the States to avoid the hurricane season. To comply with your insurance companies terms and conditions your boat needs to be out of the designated hurricane area. Because of this most boats head up to the inland waters ways of the east coast.

HH55 Edgewater

The boat had been moored in a marina in Edgewater, Maryland, just south of Annapolis. It had recently appeared in the Annapolis boat show. I flew into Washington and met the owner and another crew member in the airport. We travelled to the boat and got settled in, there was still a few jobs to be done and there was a guy onboard completing the last few winter jobs.

View from our mooring –

I witnessed some great sunsets from the marina –

After a few days we set sail and left the safety of Edgewater, our next planned stop was to be Savannah Georgia – some 650 nautical miles away.


There were some grand houses on the way out of the river. I’m sure some very influential people from Washington live around here !

After3/4 says at sea we approached Savannah Georgia. The trip had been trouble free and even coming around the Cape Hatteras headland was uneventful. The Cape Hatteras headland is known for its treacherous waters and being a bit unpredictable. In fact its known as the ‘Graveyard Of The Atlantic’ and over 600 ships have been wrecked here. Imagine our surprise when we approached and just carried on sailing with no noticeable difference in sea or wind conditions. Phew – what a relief !

The city of Savannah laid over to the left of the river –

It took us some time trying to find a place in a marina that could take us. Most places seemed to cater for smaller river type boats than large sailing yachts. We finally managed to find a place at a golf resort on the Savannah river. The river is actually the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia. To be honest it might have been better to find a place on the Wilmington river slightly further south as there seemed to be more marinas there.

This is The Westin Savannah Harbour Golf Resort and Spa. Apparently quite well known in golfing circles a lot of players practice and stay there on the lead up to tournaments at Augusta. As we were moored outside we had access to all the facilities, the mens changing area had saunas, spa, showers, free soaps and shower gel, everything ! And when you were all, finished you made a call to a driver who would come and pick you up and drive you back to the hotel complex.

Westin Savannah harbour golf resort

To get from the golf complex to the center of Savannah we had to catch a river ferry to get us to the other side. These left regularly and operated up to about midnight.

Water fountains in the centre of Savannah-

The is the well known Marshall House hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Savannah. Originally built in 1851 by Mary Marshall it served as a hospital for soldiers toward the end of the civil war and during two yellow fever epidemics. It has been a hotel on and off up until 1957 and then reopened after renovation since 1999.

Marshall house hotel

Apparently this church appears in the opening scenes of Forrest Gump. Not sure how true this is as I haven’t re-watched the film recently !

Typical type of house in and around the streets of central Savannah –

Proud to have the flag flying over their porch –

Just when you think you’ve found the perfect house someone creates a subway car par in front of it……

Some of the tree lined avenues are AMAZING ! They are apparently oak trees I was told but completely different to UK oak trees.

The old Chatham County Courthouse in the centre of Savannah, built in 1889 and used until the 1970s when a new courthouse was built.

Chatham county courthouse

I enjoyed our few days in Savannah, fortunately it coincided with a college football match, a marathon event and live outdoor music at the weekend ! Savannah is one of only 3 places in the States that has an ‘Open Container Policy’. This means you are allowed to drink and carry a beer around with you ! The other two places are New Orleans and Beale Street in Memphis. The weather was great, met some new friends, enjoyed Savannahs outdoor lifestyle but had to move on.

We left Savannah and headed further south to Ft Lauderdale with a quick stop in Cape Canaveral.

Cape Canaveral seemed to be a place where the cruise ships stopped to change passengers and re-stock their supplies. There were many in port and in the evening one of the biggest ships left. This was the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ leaving at night-

Anthem of the Seas
Anthem of the seas

We spent a couple of nights in Cape Canaveral and witnessed some spectacular lightning storms. Always a worry when you are on a sailing boat with a big mast and lightning is striking above you !!

We sailed south towards Ft Lauderdale and as it was so soon after that years boat show we had great difficulty in reserving a space. We persisted with many phone calls and finally found someone who could give us a berth for a few days.

Approaching the entrance to Ft Lauderdale-

Waiting for the main bridge to open –

Ft Lauderdale

From memory the bridge opens on the hour every hour during the day.

Ft Lauderdale

I went for a walk over the bridge and as I was coming back alarm bells were ringing and flashing lights started.

The traffic is stopped and the bridge opens for the larger ships, quite impressive when you are close up !

View from the bridge –

After a few days spent in Ft Lauderdale getting some repairs carried out it was time to leave the USA. We re-provisioned the boat, filled up with fuel and completed custom and immigration clearance.

Bye bye Florida and USA, next stop the Bimini Islands, Florida.

This trip started at the end of October 2019 – I’m a bit late updating my blog !! The next update will include the Biminj Islands, Cuba and Grand Cayman.

Brewery Tours Milwaukee.

Getting out of Minnesota I decided to visit another state and hopped on the Megabus to Milwaukee. No particular reason why but it was on the edge of Lake Michegan and I had already visited Lake Superior.

At the edge of Lake Michegan, at least this one wasn’t frozen !!

Lake michegan

I wasn’t sure what title to give this little trip but as you will see I seemed to spend most of my time visiting breweries. So had to call it ‘Brewery Tours Milwaukee’.

I originally stayed on the north west side of the city but it was a little run down. I often walked past this church which I always  thought you be at the start of a horror movie.

I later moved to the Bay View area south of the city. This seemed to be an upcoming area that was being rejuvenated with older buildings being converted into modern apartments,

In the city center there are plenty of river walks to be done that follow either side of the river.

 Imagine my surprise to bump into the Fonz along one of these river walks ! I’d forgotten that the massively popular ‘Happy Days’ TV series was set in Milwaukee. Not too sure who the artist was but i’m unsure whether they got a second chance……….


Milwaukee is known as the city that is built on beer. There is literally dozens of breweries making a name for themselves in Wisconsin.

I decided to visit some of them by booking a tour that takes you to some of the smaller craft brewers. The bus left central Milwaukee and drove us out to our first stop which was the Twisted Path distillery. We were welcomed by a very enthusiastic owner and a rum cocktail. Various spirits were made here including different vodkas, rums and gin, all were certified organic spirits.

What i like about these places is that they are not just distilleries or breweries, but have their own bars on site so you can buy at source. Some places serve a full menu also so why go anywhere else ?!

Twisted Path Distillery

Next stop was a brewery called Good City Brewing. They went big and built a brewery with restaurant and bar facilities on Farewell Avenue in the east side. They are also now building a new pilot brewery and tap room in the downtown area opening in 2019. So not exactly one of the smaller craft brewers anymore but still worth a visit as the food sure looked good.

Another stop on the tour and my personal favourite was the husband and wife team of Westallion brewing. This set up epitomises the smaller craft brewing fraternaty. The owner grew up in the West Allis area, some might say a rather neglected suburb of Milwaukee, and thats where he returned to start his own brewery business.

The owners were very welcoming , the bar had a good atmosphere, and everything seemed right with the world. If i remember correcty i tried a pint of their Scottish ale and Vienna lager. Both enjoyable, drinkable beers and could have easily stayed their for the rest of the afternoon. But there was another brewery and some more beers to taste !!

The last stop on the tour was the Urban Harvest Brewing company. This place had a big bar, seating for many, stage for live music, and even another stage around the back for other events. We were escorted to the rear stage where we were given a selection of their beers to try. This was another place i could easily have stayed at for the rest of the afternoon. The bar was bustling and everybody was having a good time !

Urban Harvest Brewery

Whilst on my afternoon bus tour of breweries i heard about the MKE brewery tour. Whats different about this tour is that you pay your 12 bucks and then drink as much beers as you can in 2 1/2 hours !! Had to check this out so booked a tour online and turned up on a sunday afternoon. You can start trying the beers half an hour before your tour starts and half an hour after it ends (approx). During the tour which is about an hour long you also have a break where you can return to the bar to try another variation of their beer.

MKE Brewing

They were certainly brave in brewing their beers. Many different flavours and strengths were encouraged, i remembered chocolate, mint, Cheerios cereal, etc, being used. They had one that was just ready called O-Gii, a beer thats infused with green tea and gjnger. If thats not enough its left to age in Gin barrels, be careful though as it packs a kick at 10% ABV !! The brewery were doing so well that they were soon to move into a new bigger location.

This was clearly the BEST brewery tour ever in the history of mankind.

I stumbled upon yet another brewery whilst out sight seeing in the city center (honest). This was the Lakefront brewery. It was here i tasted their blueberry beer. Now i’m not normally a fan of all this mucking around with different ingredients, i mean beer should be beer right ? But thus tasted pretty good i have to say and even had real blueberries in it which must be part of your 5-a-day ?

I had to stop visiting breweries as it was just too much fun. I turned my attention to the Harley Davidson museum, an impressive building on the west side of the city.

The display of bikes, memorabilia, history and stories was impressive. Some of the oldest ever Harleys are on display here –

To some of the more modern racers (well the 90’s/2000’s !)-

A history of engines of all shapes and sizes –

They certainly have had an interesting history, how they are still here i’m not sure. They have faced various stages of bankruptcy,  management buy-outs, more threats of bankruptcy,  the story goes on. I think they held on by the skin of their teeth purely because of the American bikers and their passion for the brand. Harley Davidson isn’t just a brand its a way of life.

I had no idea that Buell motorbikes were part of Harley-Davidson. Started  by an ex Harley-Davidson engineer employee in 1983, Harley-Davidson bought 49% in 1993 and the whole in 2003.

Buell motorbike

Milwaukee at night in the Bay View area –

My week away in Milwaukee had come to an end so headed back to Minneapolis  (to sober up). Imagine my delight to return when another snow storm/blizzard was just arriving. This was me having just left the pub on our way to another but decided against it so we went back in !!

As the Fonz says – ‘Heey !!’.