Past posts:

Previous blog posts from last year can be found.... HERE.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The end of our trip..... Home Sweet Home



 I have no idea why but after our last boating adventure 2 years ago the most popular post by far was the closing stats. So without further ado, stats and facts on our mission dubbed: OPTIMISM CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE!

8 Months away from the dock in Wickford Sept 29, 2013 to May 22,  2014

5175 mile cruise.
6000' - A nautical mile (nm) is 6000' or 1 1/8 statute miles.)  

233 - Number of days we were away on this Odyssey

84 - Days it took to get from RI to Fla heading south in the fall.

11 - Number of days it took for the same trip north this May.

1320 - Distance in miles marking the furthest point we traveled from our homeport in Wickford. Or a few hundred nm south of Nassau. 

44nm- Furthest distance from land, 1/2 the distance between Eleuthera - Abacos. 

13 - Number of times we were well beyond sight of land 

397 - Number of hours underway 

185mi - Longest run offshore in 1 day - Delaware Bay/Cape May to Norwalk, CT. 

88nm - Single jump in nautical miles  between islands.  It's a tie. Bimini to - Palm Beach and The Abacos to Eleuthera and nobody else was out there.

Lots - Number of sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, eagles, etc..seen almost daily. Plus one small whale, though it may have been a really  big shark

Zero!  Number of times we ran aground. Yeah!  We travelled in a LOT of water <10', often under <6' & probably cut a lot of starfish in half, but we didn't ground! 

6207 - Gallons of diesel burned incl 415g for the generator 

.88 - Average mile per gallon for the entire trip.

1410 - number of gallons of fresh water made from saltwater.

1 - Number of trips to the ER.  It should have been 3.

1 - That was the rank of this trip on my bucket list of things to do.

8 -That's how many quilts made on-board for charity by Becky. All works of art!

4 -The Admiral wanted me tell you that's the number of times I bought her breakfast!  But ask her how many lunch and dinners I bought.  

4 - Number of times boarded by authorities for a "Safety Check".
4 - Number of "satisfactory" we got for those boardings. That's a great grade.

2 - The number of times we crossed the Bermuda Triangle. 

$285 - Cost for 1 - 50' boat slip for 1 night at Atlantis on Paradise Island

69 - Number of different  marinas we stayed in overnight.

27 - Nights spent  in a some usually secluded cove on our own anchor. 

2 -  Days/Nights with gale force winds while at anchor.

5280 - Number of feet for the Rapid River Water Ride at Atlantis on Paradise Island, our favorite stop.

14 - Number of TV, radio or print media interviews that were produced outlining our mission. Here's one:

Priceless - The value of this trip on my psyche and the effect it had on fighting Parkinson's and staying optimistic

2 -Number of water spouts we witnessed. Very cool to watch them form, touch down, go back up, touch down, up, down ...and I didn't know the winds in a spout run counter to the rotation of the storm  around it. Very very cool.  

One inch. Literally an inch.  That's the distance some drunken nit-wit missed us by while he texted on the phone.

$300. Cost for a daily vessel-specific weather forecast that followed us the 6 weeks in the Bahamas. Here's a tornado warning to all boaters in the our area

$200 the cost, round trip, to hire a local fisherman who knows the  route through The Devils Backbone, a very, very dangerous approach to Eleuthera Is.

ZERO!  That's how many breakdowns or major boat issues we had the entire trip.  This fact to me is remarkable.   We put more miles and hours on the boat in 8 months than most boaters do in 8 years, sometimes in nasty weather, without getting stuck anywhere.  THANK YOU SABRE YACHTS!

Immeasurable - The Admiral's patience and sense of humor in all this.

One.  I stopped counting at one the number of people I hoped would "get it".  I hoped to motivate others with a chronic illness to "embrace your own passion" living life to it's fullest. I'll let you determine if I got it done.

Value of it all:  PRICELESS!  Good memories

In closing, MANY people asked me why, 9 years into this insidious disease, I take on such a folly? 

RISK more than others think safe.
CARE more than others think wise.
DREAM more than others think practical.
EXPECT more from yourself than others think possible
                                                                             Cadet Maxim

Final comment.  THANK YOU for following our adventure but most of all,      THANK YOU for the support. That too is priceless.  

If you would like to here the sea stories behind all this....

     Fair winds to all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Home Sweet Home!

More details to follow...  but the Optimism Tour is coming to an end, as I'm back safe and sound in Rhode Island.

Thank you for all your support!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Eagles - In a New York Minute

It's been eight days since I boarded Family Ties, five days with my lovely wife and his lovely wife Becky and the Captain (Bob). We are now, just the two of us, Bob and Roy, trying to get Family Ties home without killing each other.

If I am at the helm ( driving ) and it is constantly "one degree to the left, no I said right!!!"

If Bob is at the helm it's - Roy get me this or, have you see my glasses. The classic "is I can't find my phone, have you seen it?" He forgets, at my age I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

All kidding aside, it is my good fortune to have met Bob and been able to maybe help him in his endeavors however and whenever I can. Just never tell him I said that.

Roy G.
May 15, 2014
Jamestown, RI

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Coming to a close!

Our mission will soon end,  but more on that later.....

Our theme for the last 5 years was "OPTIMISM CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE!"  My way of demonstrating the power of positive outlook in fighting any chronic illness, in my case it's Parkinsons. I never thought that mission would take me this far.  As you read I have begun the trek from the Exumas, an island chain made up of hundreds of tiny islands which begin south of Nausau and stretch150 miles. You don't realize how far South you have traveled until you have to turn around. How far are we from home right now? If we were able to drive back to RI in a straight line it would be 1362 miles.  But we can't drive in a straight line as we have to somewhat follow the coast, so it will be about a 2000 mile ride home - give or take. Now that will call for a party!!!  

This cruise was the number one thing on my bucket Liston and it is now checked off in spite of PD.  What's next, I don't know.  But I constantly remind myself:

Be Well,

There were actual swimming wild pigs!

Picture perfect!

Clearest water I've ever seen!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day lunch at Jestine's today:

 Fried chicken, fried oysters, collard greens, black eyed peas, and the other vegetable---macaroni & cheese.  Fabulous!  (Bob, don't forget to give Becky the card!)

Just finishing up 5 days with the Preston's bringing the boat from Amelia Island Florida to Charleston SC.  Stopped in Savanna (spent $65.52 at the candy store), moved up to Beaufort SC where we had ice cream for dinner, then up to our current destination in Charleston (see above reference to Jestine's).

Great company.  Great conversations.  Lots of laughs.  And needless to say, we're all carrying a few more pounds!

LisaG.  RI.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

American Parkinson's Disease Association - RI Chapter - Cocktails for a Cause


The Rhode Island Chapter American Parkinson’s Disease Association is pleased to announce the return of Bob & Becky Preston from their “Optimism Can Take You Anywhere Tour”.  As you all know Bob embarked on an epic journey with Becky, who he fondly refers to as the Admiral.  Driven by optimism, this journey’s aim was to raise awareness about Parkinson’s as well as show how a positive outlook can help each and every one of us  deal with life’s challenges, be it health related or otherwise.  The success of their efforts can be seen in the many articles that appeared in premier boating and yachting magazines and other publications around the country, not to mention the success of Bob’s own fundraising efforts during the tour.

To honor Bob and Becky’s return, a cocktail reception is scheduled for June 5th at 5:30PM at The 1149 Restaurant on Division Street in Warwick.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to for you to learn more about their adventures. It is also an opportunity for you to make a donation in Bob and Becky’s name in support of the efforts of the Rhode Island Chapter American Parkinson’s Disease Association  to  “Ease the Burden and  Find a Cure” .

The invitation is attached and we hope to see you there! If for some reason you are unable to attend and feel you would like to make a contribution, please send a check to RI APDA P.O. Box 41659, Providence, RI 02940. In the memo section please indicate it is for the Optimism Tour.  Bob, Becky, and all of us at the Rhode Island Chapter American Parkinson’s Disease Association appreciate your generous support.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Where is Family Ties today?! You know... just paradise

Starting with the chart below, we are at Man O War Cay in the Southern Abacos, tomorrow we do a big jump to Eluthera. Here is tomorrow's track. About 80 miles total tomorrow.
Next is the Exumas. That's this chart. We'll spend a week or there.  To help you get your bearings  Nausau is on New Providence Island

Here is the unnerving part.

That's >1300 miles from Wickford IF I Could drive a straight line.  But I can't. So, my best guess is the return trip will be 2000-2150 miles. Cost of diesel is scary, $5.60 per gal.  Boat gets about 7/10ths of a mile per gal.  Gulp.

OPTIMISM CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE! But it won't pay the fuel bill.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

An update from the Abaco Islands

We are in the Abacos right now heading to N Exumas then to S Exumas.  Let's see, Sunday is the best bet.  It is a 60nm open ocean trip and the seas are suppose to decrease to 6'. But Heck it beats Sea of Abaco which is where we are right now. Blowing sustained 20-22kts gusting to 30kts. Seas 12' at 8 or 9 seconds.  And then there are the "enhanced" winds in the T storms and squalls . C'mon Poseidon, give me a break.
 Until then we sit and wait.

Be well

Monday, March 24, 2014

Observations on living with Parkinson's and other maladies

(Guest Article)

Stories of living with Parkinson’s

Hi, my name is David Slone and welcome to my blog, Observations on living with Parkinson’s. I am a Vietnam vet with Parkinson’s Disease “PD” (and a few other maladies you will learn about). I am  an author of two books that involve characters afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease or “PD”. I suppose I should have  used the word ”graced” with, rather  than “afflicted” by, PD.  To be honest, most days PD seems like the disease of :subtraction”. That is, our abilities seem to be slowly but surely subtracted from what makes us who we are: can’t drive, can’t dress, can’t golf, can’t drive. Well, you  get the idea. My friend Bob Preston (his blog), and Michael J. Fox would cuss me out for that. but I’ve got to keep it real.
I write two or three blogs a week, so you will get plenty of “juice”. Basically, I write about what I am feeling on a given day. Most of the time it is Parkinson’s. But I might reflect on prostate cancer, blindness, PTSDVietnam or growing up in a family of fifteen kids, or what I remember from Alaska, where I was born  or none of the above. What you can be sure of is that my posts w ill always be honest and expressed with a sense of humor.
So read on,  and if you like what you read, share the site or the post with friends or click the “like” button.’  You will notice I am shamelessly promoting books. That’s because 50% of the net proceeds are donated to the Rhode Island chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

We made it!

We successfully navigated the boat to the Bahamas despite the Parkinson's and a side trip to the ER. Here we will play in the islands starting today with a 100 mi leg to the Abacos.  From there it is South to the Exumas and maybe even to Santa Domingo, who knows. 

 A LOT of people suggested I not take on this adventure.  However, I never want look back on life and say woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Instead, I'm reminded of Helen Kellers word: " Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." 

So to anyone fighting a chronic illness, this is not about a boat, it is simply to demonstrate by example, Parkinson's is what it is, but life will become what I make of it.  

In order.  Family Ties at the dock in West End Grand Bahama.
2. Waterfront homes at the same spot
3. Sunrise as we left yesterday

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Leaving the Comfort Zone (Adobe PDF File)

     As this was sent to me as a "condensed" version, the colors on the images are slightly off, but the message is still the same.

     We are in the final push of our journey, and spreading the awareness of Parkinson's disease full force!  Feel free to share this article with anyone you know, as it may help others with their own individual struggles.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A lot of you are wondering.....

     Well we kind of left for the Bahamas. We got about 22 miles out turned around and came back to Fort Lauderdale.  The weather out in the middle of the Gulf Stream did not match the forecast not even close. Wind was supposed to be 10 knots out of the east southeast which is not bad, seas were supposed to be 2-3 feet. Instead the wind came out of the Northeast which is real bad, as it pushes against the northerly flowing Gulfstream, so what we had were steep 5 foot seas with a 2' chop on top.    The Waves had no timing it was just a washing machine out there.  But that's not why we turned around. We turned around because we had equipment failure, two of the four heavy duty buckles holding the dinghy down failed. So we are "stuck" in Fort Lauderdale 82 degrees, sunny, it could be worse.

     Glad to hear all the snow is melting up in New England though!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The most common question I get.


You can now get our exact position any time, including heading, position, speed, etc.  In real time!  The IPAD app Marine Traffic is free or go to If you try the site click on the ship icon at the top! then to SHIPS CURRENTLY IN RANGE.  From there look to the top left side of the web page it asks for my vessel "mmsi" number.  Just insert this number 338163112 and it finds FAMILY TIES.  What follows is a map showing exactly where the boat is and what it is doing ie underway, speed, heading, track, etc.. For the next 2 weeks we are in Ft Lauderdale and we leave here about 3-11 for Bahamas, Abacos, Exhumas, etc.  That's it

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All of this in spite of Parkinson's disease!!

If you don't live live a little on the edge, you are taking up too much room!

Here is a very loose map of our inteded course over the next 90 days. Currently on Marathon Key.  This takes us what will be at least 1200 nautical miles (I know, map show's 832, but we don't sail straight lines) throughout the Bahamas, Abacos, Exuamas, & Eleuthera, all God willing.  I NEVER want to look back on my life and think, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Instead, DID-IT, IN SPITE OF PD!!!

Salute to a friend!  Check out the coozie!

A recent sunset.

Tampa Bay bridge

Our next 90-days!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New photos from Florida to start the day!

Here are a few new photos to start the day from Florida.  Sorry about all the snow up there!

Lunchtime View

Afternoon Drinks View

Victory Kiss

Dinner with the Admiral

Ugliest Boat Award

Something that I forgot to tell my son what it was, so he'll make something up and say this is where Scarface was filmed!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hey Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Pictures!

No we did not take a wrong turn nor did I forget how to navigate.  We decided to fly home for 3 very short days to see the kids and do a bit of business, like TAXES!!!  So the boat remains in FLA and while I did not get away from the ocean it sure looks little different here in RI at 10 degrees.  These were all taken on 2-8-14 and are courtesy of USCG Petty Officer Christopher DiGiovanni, my son in law. They are taken just a couple of miles down the street from my home at Coast Guard Station Point Judith

You don't know cold until you feel the 10 degree wind whipping off the ocean

Fall in this water, temp in the mid 30's, and in 3 minutes you're dead

Here is one of the toughest jobs on the planet: Commercial Offshore Fishing

And here is one to warm you back up.  This is the unmarked harbor entrance to Man-O-War Cay In the Abacos on our last visit.  Notice the reef just under the surface on the right, in front of the boat and left off the point

Some additional photos as well.