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A Sailing Adventure in Florida


La Reine rests in the tranquil waters of the Berry Islands in ­between her white-knuckle adventures.
Willie McBride, Kimberly Tilton

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“willie, call me as soon as you can. I bought a boat. I haven’t seen it yet. It’s in the middle of Florida. We have to get it out of the boatyard by Monday.” 

The voicemail came while I was competing in a Melges 24 race in Miami. I knew an adventure was on the way. Chris, my father in law, started by looking at boats online. He then made a sight-unseen boat purchase. La ReineBeneteau 381, a 23-year old boat. In the process, he had set in motion a journey that would take my wife, Kim, and me on a 50-day, ­1,000-nautical-mile shotgun journey into the unknown. 

Starting with getting the boat off the hard for him within three days.

The boatyard was my first sight two days later. La Reine Waiting. Rows and rows of abandoned boats, covered with various…

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