A ‘Super’ Sunday

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Vince Lombardi

You guys…football is over (insert sad emoji).  We love football season in the Tomney casa! This past season was especially exciting because our favorite teams had pretty good seasons: The Green Bay Packers and the Florida Gators.  I have become a Green Bay fan by marriage, and Ross now bleeds orange and blue thanks to his newfound love for my beloved Florida Gators.  Our house was temporarily divided on December 30th when Ross reverted back to a UVA fan during the Orange Bowl game when the Gators took on the Cavaliers.  I couldn’t blame him for supporting his Virginia team, and for the record he’s all “WAHOOWA” during basketball season!  Still haven’t figured out why we are Packers fans, because there is no connection to Green Bay or Wisconsin, but Ross has loved the franchise for a long time and as for me…well, Matt LaFleur is easy on the eyes. (insert winking emoji)

Even though our Packers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, we were still excited to watch the big game.  Some friends of ours invited us to their house for a Super Bowl party.  We had a great time watching the game with them and eating so much good food!  Even though we weren’t too concerned about the outcome of the game, we pulled for the Chiefs and were happy that they pulled off the W!

Before we could partake in the Super Bowl festivities, the Ridge Runner required a little attention.  We had another group checking in later in the week, so we spent the first part of Super Bowl Sunday preparing for the guests.  Since we had already stripped the used linens, washed them, and returned them to the boat, all that was left to do was put it all back together.  While Ross warmed up the cold motors, I got to work in the cabin.  Check out this video to see how it all came together:

As we mentioned in the video, February is turning out to be an extremely busy month for us.  We have several guests scheduled through the end of the month, so the Ridge Runner will have to be flipped multiple times for their arrivals.  This is so exciting to me!  Knowing how much effort and perseverance went into getting here, I am so happy to see this vision come to life.  Since it will be booked on the weekends, this will require that I flip the boat on the weekdays after work.  It’ll be exhausting, but totally worth it!

Besides the bookings, Ross has so much going on other than the Ridge Runner.  He has taken on an extra job in yacht maintenance, giving him an opportunity to become familiar with several different boats and their motors.  Don’t feel sorry for him yet!  This week, he’ll be mating on a private yacht for an owner who wants to go fishing out of Fort Pierce.  I know that sometimes his work is very hard, but I just can’t help but think that he has the best job in the world!  I know I’d rather be working the cockpit of a 57’ foot Sportfish than sitting at my desk all day!

In addition to all of that, later this month Ross will be taking a class at Chapman’s School of Seamanship to upgrade his license.  Currently he holds a Master Inland/OUPV Offshore license.  At completion of this course, he will hold a 100 Gross Tonne Master Near Coastal, which will allow him to charter as many as 49 passengers up to 100 miles offshore.  This upgrade could present more opportunities for his career in the future.  I am so proud of him and all his efforts to improve his knowledge in this industry! 

We have more content coming soon, so hit subscribe to follow along! Have a question? Leave a reply! This is all a work in progress and we’re definitely learning as we go. Thanks for reading and watching!

Checkin’ Out

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

-Henry Ford

Now that she’s had a full engine rebuild and some cosmetic upgrades, the Ridge Runner is ready to go to work!  Last summer it was decided that since she looks and runs better, she needs a better slip to call home. We absolutely love our new marina and all the extras that come with it. 

Along with booking charters, we’ve also been booking guests.  AirBNB guests, that is! We had our first booking in October, which went so well the guests booked an extra night!  We’ve had several others since then, and each guest has loved their stay aboard the Blue Ridge Runner as she truly provides a unique experience while visiting us in Stuart, Florida.  The boat sleeps 5 people, has two heads, a full galley, and more!  Tied up in her slip at the marina, the Ridge Runner provides gorgeous views of the St. Lucie River and downtown Stuart. As a bonus, we offer discounted sunset cruises and fishing trips to our guests. 

Preparing the boat for a guest’s arrival is quite a process.  We make sure it’s in top-notch condition before they check in.  Ross spends most of his time washing, waxing, and buffing the outside of the boat.  He also maintains the teak in the cockpit and runs the motors as much as he can to keep them in good condition. My responsibilities are in the cabin.  I make sure each stateroom and both heads have clean linens, the galley is tidy, and the salon windows are shiny so guests get to see the gorgeous views of the marina. 

Last weekend we had guests from Pennsylvania who stayed 3 nights on board.  They were a party of 5 visiting family who live in the area.  We thought we might get a sunset cruise out of this booking, but unfortunately they wanted to bring more people than the Coast Guard allows us to take.  The Blue Ridge Runner’s certification falls under the Uninspected Passenger Vessel Act, which only allows up to 6 passengers while the boat is for-hire. 

After check-out, Ross and I went to inspect the boat for any damages or forgotten items.  Thankfully everything was left in perfect condition, so we got right to work.  While I collected the used linens, Ross fired up the engines and the generator.  It’s very important for a boat’s motors to run often.  Depending on what stroke the pistons are in at the time of shut down, one or two exhaust valves could be open.  This would allow for salt air to flow into the cylinder.  It flows back through the exhaust, through the turbo, then through the exhaust manifold, and finally into the cylinder. As the boat rocks back and forth, the salt air flows in and out.  This will cause major corrosion inside the motor, hence the importance of running them often.  Check out our video on Youtube to get a first hand look at what happens after check-out!

All in all, it was a great weekend for the Ridge Runner.  The guests had a fantastic time, and we found the boat they way we left her.  Hit subscribe to see what happens before our next guest checks in!

A New Beginning

April 6th, 2019 Photo by: Amanda Smith Photography

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

-Plato

Since moving to this area in March of 2016, our life has been centered around this big ol’ boat, the Blue Ridge Runner.  In fact, it was our home when we first moved here!  I can remember the faces of people from back home when I told them I was moving south to live on a boat.  Some were thrilled at the adventure of living aboard, others gave me the “that’s nice” smile.  You know the one I’m talking about if you speak fluent southern lady.  It’s the one you give when you have nothing nice to say and you’re thinking a whole bunch of ugly in your mind, but you can’t say it out loud.  That’s okay, Lord knows I’ve given more “that’s nice” smiles in my life than I can count.  The truth is, I had no idea what was going to happen.  All I knew is that wherever my Captain went, I was going there also. 

Living on the boat was fun, in fact I really enjoyed it.  The slight movement made by the water rocked me to sleep like a baby every night.  Getting used to living aboard was interesting.  Catching a catfish with a piece of lunch meat, watching the sunset every night from the tuna tower, and frying the shore power cord while making dinner are some of the exciting memories I have from the few months we were “live aboards”.  We won’t talk anymore about that last part!

The hard part of living aboard was having to leave the boat when a charter was booked, or when other people were staying on board.  My closet was basically in the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee for several weeks, and we spent a small fortune on hotel stays. Those days were so stressful and could’ve easily strained our brand-new relationship, but it did just the opposite of that.  We only grew stronger and closer than ever. 

We’ve had several ups and downs with the Ridge Runner.  From name changes, dishonest mechanics, and engine rebuilds, at times it felt like the downs seriously outweighed the ups.  Looking back now its safe to say that the downs were just part of the learning process.  Ross has met some great people along the way that have taught him so much about the industry that he loves.  He has become a better captain because of the opportunities these folks have given him.  We are forever grateful for these relationships, and as for the Ridge Runner…it’s only ups from here!