Southwest Florida Yachts


Southwest Florida Yacht's Profile


NORTH FORT MYERS, Florida - She is preaching to the choir, but Barb Hansen makes the welcome point, again. "The view from your vessel is more scenic than any room with a view at any five star hotel."

That afternoon, your liveaboard yacht secure in its slip, you point your videocam at a great blue heron as it swoops to a pose on a nearby sand bar. You silently compose a toast to the preacher and a prayer to the creator of this privileged five star scene. Like the credit card commercial says, "Some things are priceless."

Barb and husband, Vic Hansen, have been preaching the priceless glories of this coastline for 15 years and look forward to many more years as proprietors of Southwest Florida Yachts, Inc. and Florida Sailing & Cruising School. At this school, you can enroll in a variety of courses, everything from Basic Sailing and Bareboat Chartering to a six-day on the water, liveaboard Powerboat Cruising course. There's even a first-mate course for those who prefer to assist the person at the helm.

Southwest Florida Yachts is the full-service sail and power outfitter to a year-around destination created for all water lovers -- adults and children - and for all the things they do in and around water. A partial list includes cruising, fishing, swimming, shelling, photography, and sitting on the aft deck with a cold drink.

Chartering with Southwest Florida Yachts is for old salts as well as for salts-in-training. Some take the wheel as bareboat skippers. Some prefer to leave the driving to a licensed captain. Southwest Florida Yachts takes care of everything. They even have a concierge service, booking marina slips and resort rooms for chartering customers and boat owners alike.

Southwest Florida Yachts keeps its fleet of eight motoryachts from 32 to 42 feet long here on the Caloosahatchee River at Marinatown Marina. Its sailing yacht fleet, eight vessels from 24 to 44 feet long, occupy slips at Marinatown Marina and are just north of here at Burnt Store Marina Resort on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Casting off from either location gives you access to a 200-mile long cruising coastline rated number one in the U.S. and number three in all the world by Cruising World magazine.

"Balmy" describes the weather in southwest Florida, balmy with just the right amount of breeze to encourage power cruising and sailing in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Whether navigating north by northwest toward Venice or south by southeast, you'll enjoy the easterly view of a fringed lace of sugar white shorelines spotted with palms and pines.

By the way, the water of the Gulf of Mexico has been described as a "natural air conditioner" because the air temperature is moderated by the water temperature. In winter, it's warmer than on the mainland. In summer, it's cooler. Resist the urge to call friends left behind to ask them what their weather is like.

Dozens of inlets, called "passes" on Florida's west coast, will bring your vessel from open water into the protected navigational channel of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, almost always called by its initials, "Eye See Double You."

On the ICW, the channel is sheltered by a string of hundreds of barrier islands. Some are long and famous like Sanibel and Captiva. Some are tiny mangrove bird colonies, just a dot on the chart. Some, accessible only by boat, introduce you to a community of like-minded mariners who enthusiastically share their discoveries. Cabbage Key on the Lee (County) Island Coast is one of those places. It has prospered by "word of mouth" advertising. The restaurant here inspired singer Jimmy Buffett to record his song, "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

When civilization beckons, there are many dozens of marinas, ships stores, waterfront resorts and restaurants that will make you feel at home. The Useppa Island Club, for instance, is a historical retreat accessible only by boat. With the 1998 renovation of The Collier Inn, Useppa opened with 11 elegant, themed suites.

And when you Want-To-Be-Alone, you easily can. Expect, though, to share your solitude with nature. Offshore, you'll share it with massive sea turtles. Female sea turtles have built their nests and laid their eggs on the beaches of Southwest Florida for millions of years. Huge sharks bask on the surface. Dolphins surf your bow wake. In spring and summer, schools of powerful tarpon - the king of inshore gamefish -- roll on the surface as they migrate toward or away from Boca Grande Pass at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor.

Inshore, you'll share your solitude with the West Indian manatee, a mammal with a round, flattened tail. Manatees congregate in the warm waters of Southwest Florida in the winter. Watch for "Slow for Manatee" signs. Here you can share your solitude with 278 species of resident and migratory birds including roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, ospreys, bald eagles, white and brown pelicans, and the magnificent frigatebird.

Serious anglers already know that southwest Florida offers some of the best sportfishing in the world, inshore and offshore. Depending on your tackle and level of expertise, you can fish for tarpon, snook, redfish, spotted weakfish, snapper, grouper, dolphinfish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, flounder, sheepshead and ladyfish. Fresh (really fresh) fish dinner is always a good possibility.

For swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, know that saltwater temperatures are most suitable winter or summer. Water clarity in the Gulf of Mexico is good, especially in the winter.

Remember, when you discuss your cruising reservations, you do not have to ask Barb or Vic for a room with a view. That comes automatically at no extra charge.

Click here to visit out Sailing School website!

Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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