FPB 64#03 TOCCATA joined us a couple of weeks ago for winter storage. Chris and Carolyn Groobey and their 2 Labradors – Travis and Charlie are taking a break after 28,000 nautical miles of cruising.
Chris commented – ` it’s nice to be back where people know what FPB are. Most people think she’s military/fishing vessel which has always made life easier when sailing as everyone avoids us!’
Berthon helped with her original purchase when she was on the West Coast of the USA in Seattle. She was the first IRON LADY – FPB 78#03 IRON LADY II is currently making her way to Chile
Since beginning their cruise in the summer of 2015 IRON LADY, now TOCCATA headed north to Canada then down the USA to Mexico, central America, through the Panama Canal, all the way back up to the east coast of Canada, down through the Caribbean and then across the Atlantic last summer and spent most of last year and this year in the Mediterranean before heading to the UK. TOCCATA left Greece bound for Berthon in mid-August.
Travis and Charlie really are salty seadogs! They have been aboard the whole time apart from the Atlantic crossing, visiting 30 countries. They travel with their own binders of paperwork as it’s important that local restrictions are respected. They enjoy a couple of walks a day, and outside that just relax! They like to paddle board sitting on the front whilst one of their humans does the work, until they jump off and tip the board over!
They are a great icebreaker as they make friends with everyone and Travis is up for playing Frisbee with anyone who’s around!
The crew of TOCCATA appreciate the UK, saying that it’s nice to be in a country where dogs are welcome in pubs, and Lymington is one of the most Labrador friendly places they have visited.
So what next? Team TOCCATA have a lot of options – British Isles, up to the Baltic, Norway, fjords, Iceland, Greenland, and maybe Canada.
Describing themselves as recovering sailors, Chris and Carolyn love to sail and to race, and this is still a big part of their lives. The America’s Cup beckons and there is a thought that TOCCATA might ship for the 2021 Cup in New Zealand.
Now that TOCCATA is safely tucked up at Berthon, they’re off back to the office after a wonderful 4 year, crazy reckless mid-life crisis, that they are calling their gap year (or should we say gaps years!) Their FPB will continue to be an important part of life but there will be a balance of time at work too.
Says Chris – ‘We were very fortunate to purchase one of the first FPB 64s to come to market, we love her to death, she has been amazing and looked after us well. We had a catamaran before this – a high performance carbon Gunboat, we spent three years building her and cruised and raced her for a while but we faced challenges, some specific to that boat but generally found that truly long distance cruising and passagemaking by sailboat is challenging, to put it politely. A powerboat on the other hand goes in the direction you need it to go, reliably and at a steady speed, and we can predict within 15 minutes when we will get to our destination in comfort and safety. TOCCATA is quick, so we can get to lots of places in daylight and she’s safe, so we can be at sea in all kinds of weather. All this means that the FPB solution makes a lot of sense for owner-operators like us who want to see the world.’
`A lot of people love the look of her,’ says Carolyn, `When I first saw her I admit I was not immediately smitten, but people who are sailors really like her lines, and once you get used to her, you can appreciate that she just doesn’t look like anything else out there. In the Mediterranean everything is white fibreglass. When we arrived in Southern Croatia and we were at the Customs’ Office, the Customs Officers recognised her as an FPB. Wherever we have been, people walk up to look at TOCCATA, a lot of the time they know about FPB and Dashew Offshore, but they have never seen an FPB in the flesh before. You definitely get well treated if you are an FPB owner! The down side is you always have to remember to put clothes on when you wake up, as for sure, there will be someone staring at the boat!’
Whilst TOCCATA settles into an English winter and a small refit programme at Berthon, her crew are now back at home in the USA, getting back into the swim of normal daily life. Of course, playing Frisbee and planning next season’s cruising programme are an important part of that!
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