After almost three weeks of scrubbing, repairing, equipping, provisioning, and crew training, today we embark on the long journey south. We are aboard a 2001 45’ Silverton 453 Motor Yacht, purchased in December 2022 at Lake of the Ozarks, then moved over land to Port Charles Harbor, St Charles MO, where it has been slipped for the past nine months, undergoing many repairs and upgrades.

I’ve spent a ton of time, energy, and money on getting Legasea upgraded, finding small issues, repairing things large and small, doing additional upgrades. Since purchasing the boat, we’ve added bow thrusters, all new electronics including auto-pilot and a Yacht Controller (remote control driving). The boat was hauled out last week to replace the shaft seals and found that the main shaft strut on the starboard shaft was bent. That’s all fixed now, along with a last minute replacement of the battery charger control unit which failed a few days ago, thankfully before our departure and not after.

Joining me on the first leg of this long journey are my two good friends Amy and Lucy. They have been awesome crew and have embraced this adventure. Yesterday, my crew and I were busy all day with pre-departure chores: washing, fueling, pumpout, last minute trip to town for supplies, return the rental car, install paddle board rack.

On our first day, we will be accompanied by Capt. Paul Joe Hopkins, who will give us some needed training on going through locks and general navigation on the river system. Today we depart from Port Charles Harbor, go abut 22 miles to our first lock, then another 10 miles to the second lock. From there it’s about 30 miles to tonight’s destination, Hoppies Marina.

This morning, we have some final chores—top off fresh water tank, one more trach dump, secure the cabin and prepare the boat for departure at about 0830. I have a little less anxiety now as we face the final exit. I think we are ready—at least ready enough—to start the journey. I know we will learn a lot every day about cruising, driving, navigating, locking, etc. I know every time we dock, we’ll get a little better at it and I am excited about the training we will get today.

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