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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

The ins and outs of running inlets

Conditions in inlets can change from favorable to difficult in a matter of hours.

Inlets are killers — killers of boats and killers of people. Here, where the sea thrusts into the land, there often occurs a fatal attraction. When things are going to hell outside, we long to find that inlet and get in to safety. But that may be the worst thing we can do.

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Stretching boat bucks to go the extra mile

Sometimes you can't wait for favorable conditions, whether you're a tug captain pushing a barge or a pleasure boater.As you’ve probably learned, the basic currency for anything you buy or do for a boat these days is a boat buck. And a boat buck is a thousand-dollar bill. When they say shopping is therapeutic, I don’t believe “they” are thinking about boat bucks. When it comes to boat stuff, more and more of us are trying to get our therapy these days with saving rather than spending. Some are even curtailing their boating or getting out of it.

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Don't shortcut the learning curve

We were anchored in a beautiful harbor in the Bahamas when a 70-foot sailboat gracefully motored in from the ocean. You couldn't help but notice its size, beauty and obvious quality. The chatter on VHF channels and on the beach was that whoever owned it must not only be very wealthy, but also very knowledgeable. How could you not be with a boat like that?

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The right boat for easing into the sunset

When I began boating as a kid, my 12-foot rowboat fulfilled my ultimate dreams. As I grew older, my ultimate dreams changed a bit. Across the river was not quite as far as I wanted to go.

I'd always wanted to cruise, but the concept had grown from overnight trips with a tent on the bow to a boat that could take me to far distances over weekends, weeks, months and maybe even longer.

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Challenges of the ever-changing ICW

Shifting shoals make even the most current navigational data suspect, but it's still a trip worth taking

Despite its problem areas, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway retains a timeless beauty.Some of the worst mistakes newcomers to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway make come from reading the guidebooks. And some of the worst mistakes come from not reading the guidebooks. Too many things change along the ICW to depend on last year's, or maybe even yesterday's, information.

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