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Flybridge Boats vs Express Boats

No, we’re not going up, up and away in a beautiful balloon. Better yet, we are going to see the world from an ever better vantage point – up on the flybridge of a boat!

For the first part of our boating lives, we always had express style cruisers. These vessels were styled with sleek and low to the waterline profiles and built to go fast when under way. The looks were good and the performance was adequate, but those sleek lines meant compromising living  space.

sea ray sundancer

Sea Ray express cruiser ‘Boogaboo III’ on the water

Moving Up

When we were looking to move up to what would be our current boat, more living space was the top priority on the list. To be honest, my mind was pretty much made up on the style of boat I felt would be best, that of a sedan bridge. The benefit of the sedan style is that one gets expanded living space, with direct cabin access from the cockpit, as well as a flybridge helm.

When we originally took what would become ‘Boogaboo IV’ for it’s sea trial on Lake St. Clair, it would be the very first time that I had piloted a bridge boat. It was a whole new world! After getting used to the fact that the pitch and roll of the boat was a little more evident up top, I found the commanding view amazing.

After having the boat for that first year (only a half season, as we took possession of it in late July), I had come to the conclusion that driving from way up on high was the best way to fly :-) I mean, seriously, when compared to a cramped helm of our older express boats, the ability to see all around literally gave us a whole new perspective. And a much higher one, too!

sea ray sedan bridge

Sea ray 400 Sedan Bridge ‘Boogaboo IV’ flybridge model

Old is New Again

I’ll never forget when we were driving it home from our nearly 700 mile long journey from Michigan to Ontario. We had left Georgian Bay and were once again back on the familiar waters of the Trent Severn Waterway – for the first time with this Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge. Heading eastward on the Severn River, Anchor Girl was all of the sudden noticing buildings along the shoreline that, at this point, were brand new to her. At one spot, she actually asked me about a couple of the cottages along the shoreline when I told her they had been there every other time we had previously ventured this way. Apparently, being situated down low in our prior express cruiser, she had never noticed them on the old boat. That was too funny!

If you ever get tired of the confined helm view found in many express style boats, then the cure just might be moving to a Sedan Bridge. Climb up to the flybridge to survey all that lies around you. You’ll feel like you have truly made it to the top :-)

Writing a Boating Adventure Book, One Brick at a Time

For those of you who have been following my YouTube Channel for the past few years, you will have already seen the posts from our grand adventure when we purchased ‘Boogaboo IV’, back in 2010. Well, after retelling many highlights of that experience over the ensuing years, I have been inspired to put it all together in the form of a book. Yup, you heard right – I’m writing a book.

(Actually, I’m in the midst of writing two books, but the other one has a much deeper, personal resonance to it which I’ll delve into more in a future post.)

A Grand Adventure

Referring to that boat buying event as a grand adventure isn’t mere hype. It was truly a milestones that would mark a turning point in our lives – not only in terms of our boating travels, but in our whole outlook on life and what we CAN do as a couple – and survive it intact!!

In Michigan with our soon-to-be ‘Boogaboo IV’.

Survival was the key to the whole story. And the whole story is a whole lot more than can be properly conveyed through mere Blog posts, hence the book. Survival, as you will learn, has many connotations and will be used in the context of this story to relate to not only surviving a voyage of nearly 700 miles, but also that of mental, emotional and yes, marriage survival! Perhaps ‘ordeal’ might have been a more descriptive term ;-)

Applying the name on the transom before leaving Michigan, making it ‘Ours’ :-)

So, what the heck do bricks have to do with it all, you surely must be asking yourself? Read on . . .

Time to Think

As I am going on about my day, especially when I am involved in physical labour (which is most work days, in my contracting businesses) I feel that my mind is somehow released and that more far reaching thoughts and inspirations come to me, most especially when I am working alone. Take this weekend, for example. As part of our preparations to move onto the boat full time, we had to make some changes to the house and I was basically pushing a paint brush and roller for hours at a time. Put on some good music & it gives me time to think.

And think, I do. Lots of it! As I continually point out to my lovely Anchor Girl, I could fill five more lifetimes with all the thoughts, aspirations and inspirations that come to me. But that’s OK, because I firmly know that when this current plane of existence ends, I (we) will continue on with a much higher propose, so ultimately, I got lots of time :-)

But I digress. Back to the bricks!

I find it amazing how thoughts seem to come to me out of the blue, then only to be reinforced, or revisited a short time later by that same ‘spark’ being presented to me in another context. Almost like it’s trying to show me something. . .

Case in point (and finally getting to the darned bricks!); As part of my free thinking moments yesterday, I was reflecting on one of the 14,286.419 pieces of seemingly useless information floating around my head, that being a fact I recalled that Winston Churchill (former Prime Minister of England & 20th Century icon) would spend a great deal of time working at his estate, Chartwell, doing – you guessed it – bricklaying!

Mental Escape

From many accounts, Sir Winston derived a similar mental escape through building walls, fences and other brick structures that seemed to clear the way for inspirations to flow freely. His bricks, my paint brush. Or drywall trowel, or whatever the tool du jour happens to be. Perhaps it was through this release that Mr. Churchill found the abundant inspiration to write more than 50 volumes in his time.

Do I have 50 books in me? Dunno. Two years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of me writing ONE book, let alone two! But here I am, knee deep into it and finding that writing and me seem to have a long suppressed destiny.  I hope that you will look forward to reading about our boating adventure – and more. I will promise you that I’m going to do my best to keep you entertained, and more importantly – inspired!

Quickly getting back to the connections between these thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. Yesterday I was thinking and jotting my notes to share with you about our Mr. Churchill and his bricklaying release. Today, I was looking at a web site (boating related, no less) published by someone we know but haven’t haven’t talked to in too many years and what pops up? A photo of a boat with the name ‘Chartwell’, along with a caricature of Winston Churchill on the transom, produced by this very person!

Was this a coincidence? No sir. Just one more sign that our new path, book, rekindled relationships and so much more yet to be discovered destinies are meant all to be. And I’m grateful for that & the forces that are moving us along this path :-)

Understanding Boating Rules; Red Right Return

I’m often asked some interesting questions through my YouTube videos and, more often than not, I take a simple query and reply with half of a book. So, rather than simply leaving those interactions on YouTube, I figured I could share it with you all, here on the Blog. . .

Here was today’s question; “. . for a subscriber/boating newbie here; I noticed in your lake travels, there are these red and green buoys, to which you always pass between them .. why is this and what is their purpose?

Red & Green Markers

The long and short of the Red & Green markers is to indicate where safe water is. As one cannot ‘see’ how deep a given area of a lake, river or canal might be, the buoys (floating) or day beacons (land based) indicate the edge of a safe way for navigation. Used in conjunction with marine charts (paper or digital), mariners can safely and confidently pass through an area where the water is shallower than what might otherwise be encountered in a given area.

That said, different boats need different depths to pass through a waterway without risking running aground and that’s where the charts come in. The captain of even the smallest boat must be aware of how much draft their vessel draws – how deep in the water it sits – as well as other factors that might determine what a safe depth might be for navigating.

Draft – A Deep Subject

Our current boat, ‘Boogaboo IV’, is a Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge model which draws approximately 40″ of water, with an average load. Load refers to the total weight of the boat, including the boat itself, plus other considerations such as fuel, water, passengers, gear, food and yes, even beer ;-) As well, that draft (the depth of the boat in the water, not the beer on tap) will be greatly affected by sea conditions. If we were traveling though rough water, our boat could begin to pitch up and down, making the average depth of water we were traveling through vary considerably, depending if we were on the crest or bottom of each wave. So, if we were traveling through water with only 4 feet of depth and it was wavy, we could bounce up and down enough to touch bottom. And that’s not a good thing! Also, if a passing boat were to throw off a large wake (it happens all the time), we could (and do) get bounced around.

For all of the above reasons, it is imperative one knows where they are and can relate to their proximity to danger, as well as changing sea conditions. And that’s where those red and green markers come in.

Which Side is Safe?

So, why red and green, you ask? I’ll tell you. In North America, as well as other parts of the world, we follow the Red-Right-Return system of telling us which is the safe side of a given marker. In MOST cases, heading upstream (against the current), the red marker is kept to the starboard, or right, side of the boat. When heading in the opposite direction, the opposite is true and one would then keep the green markers on their starboard side.

Red on The Right

Red on The Right

Confused? Don’t worry, it gets better. When going through areas such as Georgian Bay, that all goes out the window. Throw in other ‘Aids To Navigation’ such as yellow Cardinal Buoys, black (or red) and white Fairway Markers, Red/Green/Red OR Green/Red/Green Bifurcation Markers and (sometimes) land based Range Markers and you will soon realize that there’s lots to learn about boating for the serious cruiser!

Unfortunately, many boaters are blissfully unaware of what many of these things mean – or the meaning behind them

Rules of The Road

I should really start a video series on how to learn these things and how they are put in to practice to help folks out. There is also something called ‘The Rules Of The Road’, which plainly lays out who has the right-of-way when on the water. Sadly and frustratingly, there are many, many boaters who don’t have a clue what that means, or how to employ the rules to maintain safety. Here is a quick video I posted last summer after I got ticked off by someone who was in the aforementioned column of not knowing;


I will be doing future posts on what the other markers are, including cardinal markers, bifurcation buoys, range markers and more, so stay tuned for that. I hope my long winded overview on this helps you better understand what goes on. If not, at least it may inspire to you learn a bit more