Sailing in Florida’s late summer is problematic at best – winds are generally extremely light and sometimes non-existent, with the days punctuated with often violent afternoon thunderstorms. It is an ideal time for haul-out and maintenance chores in preparation for the generally excellent conditions Florida waters offer sailors throughout most of the year.

For Kathy and I, this year’s routine maintenance has been magnified many times over. Lionheart is a new boat to us – the culmination of a year long search. We located her on Lake Michigan, near Chicago and had her shipped by semi-truck to a St. Petersburg shipyard for retrofitting. Even for a boat in excellent condition such as Lionheart, refitting is a time intensive and laborious undertaking. Installing new equipment, buffing and waxing the hull, and applying fresh anti-fouling paint to the bottom were only the beginnings the six-week retrofit.

Lionheart was finally “splashed” in mid-August 2012. The sight and sounds of our 35,000 pound, 44 foot-long treasure being deftly lifted from her shore side cradle to the water’s surface was nerve wracking. And I still feel guilty placing this iconic vessel that spent her lifetime in the cool clear fresh waters of Lake Michigan into Florida’s tropical briny seas.

But it was saltwater she was built for – right here in Tampa shipyards. Lionheart is a CSY 44 (Caribbean Sailing Yacht), designed and constructed specifically to commercially ply the waters of the Caribbean Sea. CSY yachts have always been known the world over for their classic “clipper ship” appearance and also famous for their extraordinary strength, bronze fittings, seaworthiness, and sailing prowess. Today CSY’s can be found cruising in every ocean of the world.

Following “splash day” and subsequent vessel rigging, Kathy and I were thrilled with the initial sea trials and the fall months that followed giving Lionheart a chance to stretch her legs and show us how best to squeeze every last knot of boat speed from the winds. She sails surprisingly well even in light air, but is particularly in her element as the winds pick up. Lionheart loves to sail, and her massive construction makes her an extremely comfortable and safe vessel.

From the outset of our business model for Olde World Sailing Line, our vision was to share the joy and adventure of sailing, while paying tribute to the elegance and amenities of the golden age of seafaring. We believe a sailing excursion should be a magnificent, luxurious event – reminiscent of the opulence and majesty of an early 20th Century ocean voyage. The trip should become a moment captured in a long-lived memory.

We believe Lionheart is the perfect setting for your special event. Kathy and I hope you will join us on a sail that may well become one of your most precious moments.