Meet Me in Fort Lauderdale

I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, twice this month: first as a presenter during the October 12 meeting of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, and from October 27-29 to attend the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

My FYBA seminar will be about this article that I wrote for Yachting magazine about a golfing charter aboard the 161-foot motoryacht Destination Fox Harb’r Too in Nova Scotia. My presentation will help to educate yacht charter brokers about the region and its cruising opportunities.

I’ll be at the boat show to promote my websites, CharterWave and BoaterMouth, as well as to attend the meeting of Boating Writers International, where I sit on the Board of Directors as immediate past president.

Hope to see you in sunny South Florida for one or both events.

“The Lost Dogs” is a Treasure Found

Last month, I told you I couldn’t wait to read “The Lost Dogs” by my friend Jim Gorant. My copy arrived on Tuesday, and I turned the last page just before midnight last night. I could not put this book down, except for the few times I felt the need to hug my dogs and promise that they would never, ever face a moment of what these loving creatures endured. I gave my rescued pit bull mix an extra pat on the head, just for being the breed she is.

Ironically, as I was reading about some of the most horrific things that NFL star Michael Vick did to innocent dogs, his name was flashing repeatedly across my Facebook screen. It seems the Philadelphia Eagles have just named him starting quarterback for this weekend’s game. Fans are cheering, at least in cyberspace.

I wonder how they will feel after reading the scorching detail about Vick’s dogfighting operation that this book exposes. Gorant’s reporting is exceptional, his writing is terrific, and his book is on par with those of the best narrative nonfiction writers working in America today. “The Lost Dogs” is at once disturbing, uplifting, and illuminating. Go buy a copy right now.

Kudos, Jim Gorant, on a job well done—with a story well worth telling. I hope “The Lost Dogs” stays on the bestseller list for many, many months to come.

How to Start a Blog for About $10

I recently created and hosted a webinar titled “How to Start a Blog for About $10” on behalf of Boating Writers International. The professional group now has thisĀ  link to the webinar on its website, if you have about an hour to spare and want to learn more.

This was a volunteer effort on my part, with all proceeds benefiting BWI (where I am the immediate past president following three years at the organization’s helm).

I’m Still a Tortoise, but with a Gold Star for Improvement

Yesterday was my second-annual attempt at the Delaware Diamondman Triathlon. You may recall that last year, I finished No. 206 of 214 competitors with a total time of two hours, 32 minutes, and 28 seconds—making me an official straggler. My goals for this year were to keep a few other participants in my sights, and to not have the race committee clearing orange cones from the course as I became the final competitor to bicycle past them.

By those admittedly low standards, yesterday was a big success. I finished No. 152 of 166 competitors with a total time of 2:11:49. That’s 21 minutes better than last year, which is a lifetime out there on the course. I went from being in the bottom 4 percent to being in the bottom 9 percent, so while I’m still moving slowly, I’m at least moving in the right direction. I was faster than 10 of the 70 women who competed, and I bested the slowest finisher in my Athena division (women weighing more than 150 pounds) by nearly 15 minutes.

I once again lost to my younger sister, but only by 6 minutes this year. That means there is still hope that during some Thanksgiving dinner in our lifetimes, I will be the one with bragging rights.

Here is yesterday’s race by the numbers:

  • 0.6-mile swim, 16-mile bike, 2-mile run
  • My overall time: 2:11:49
  • My sister’s overall time: 2:05:11
  • My husband’s overall time: 1:39:29 (WOW was he fast. Way to go Sean!)
  • Number of times my sister heckled me for wearing a wetsuit: 2
  • Number of times my sister stared enviously at my wetsuit while waiting an hour in the cold rain for the race to start: at least 4
  • Number of swimmers who accidentally free-styled into my legs from behind: 2
  • Number of swimmers who accidentally breast-stroked into my ribcage from the side: 1
  • Average speed I maintained for 16 miles on my bicycle: 14.9 mph (vs. 11.3 mph on the same course last year)
  • Number of times my husband referred to his bicycle as “The Red Death” before the race: 1
  • Number of times my sister referred to my husband’s bicycle as “The Red Death” during the race, causing the bicyclist behind him to crack up mid-course: 1
  • Number of odometers my sister inexplicably lost during training for and competition in this race: 2
  • Number of times in a row that I sang “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” in my head to stay alert during the 2-mile run: 3
  • Number of times during the run that I heard music in the distance and thought, “Either I’m near the finish line, or I’m going to the afterlife. Either way, I get to stop running soon”: 1
  • Number of competitors who nearly passed me at the finish line while I slowed down to high-five my sister: 1
  • Number of plates of food my sister, husband, and I ate at our post-race buffet lunch: 10
  • Time last night that I fell asleep on the couch: 7:45
  • Number of Advil I have taken since yesterday afternoon: 5
  • Number of triathlons still to come this season: 1, next month at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Training resumes on Wednesday. Stay tuned.