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Sequel on the ICW: Preparations and A Cruising Prequel (BLOG/VIDEO)

Join John Hanzl and wife Amy as they traverse the ICW from Miami to Rhode Island in their 38-foot Sabre express, Sequel. Get to know the boat and see how John and Amy prepare for their adventure.
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June 5, 2014: Cruising Prequel

Somehow, during the course of this spring, while I was developing the outline for Into the Devil’s Throat as well as working on getting an audiobook in the works for Out of Hell’s Kitchen, my wife Amy and I ended up purchasing a boat. And not just any boat – but the boat we’ve been in love with ever since the first of her kind rolled out of the yard in 2005 (no small thanks to Peter, our boat broker from DiMillo’s Yacht Sales in Portland, Maine).

Her name, naturally enough, is Sequel, a 2006 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express. She’s currently in Jupiter, Florida and Amy and I will be flying to Florida in less than a week to begin a 1,400 mile voyage to bring Sequel home.


During the trip I hope to share our experiences on this blog – so that even though I may not be working on my sequel, I’ll be working on the Sequel none the less.

June 5, 2014: The Steed

Before I can even begin the story of our journey, I’d be doing the story an injustice if I didn’t first introduce the boat that is a new part of our family. Sequel is a 2006 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express, built by Sabre Yachts in Casco, Maine. She’s a downeast style cruiser, with a 38′ length at the waterline – about 43′ in length overall.

For power Sequel has a pair of 380HP Cummins QSB5.9 electronically controlled, common rail diesel engines that give her a top end of about 30 knots, operated by a TeleFlex drive-by-wire throttle and shifter system. She carries 350 gallons of fuel, 100 gallons of water, oh and 40 gallons of “black” water – three capacities we’ll need to keep an eye on during the trip. She also has an 8kW Onan generator to keep things powered up while on the hook, including four separate air conditioning systems to keep things cool.

Leading down five steps from the helm deck is an interior that is very nicely laid out for a couple on an extended cruise (I’m beginning to sound like a sales brochure), and can easily accommodate guests, as the salon table lowers so that the addition of filler cushions the salon converts into a guest room. We like that there’s a built in wine rack in the salon too – I’m telling you, this boat was designed for us!

The helm deck has a pair of (very comfortable) Stidd helm seats, along with an L shaped settee with a beautiful pedestal table. The Stidds can pivot aft and lower to face the settee, and there’s a second ‘fridge, ice maker and sink here so we won’t have to worry about cocktail hour!


Aft and down two steps from the helm deck is the cockpit with a pair of benches facing each other, along with the required drink holders and a receptacle in the sole for another pedestal table for alfresco dining. Up three steps both port and starboard are wide side decks leading to a fairly expansive bow (perfect for sunning!), where there’s a 40 lb QCR anchor on a chain / rope rode (the length of which I don’t recall, but will no doubt find out pretty soon..).

Apart from the original setup we’ve also added the following:

  • New 4kW 4′ open array radar
  • New 12″ touchscreen multifunction chartplotter with built in digital depthsounder
  • New VHF radio with DSC, loudhailer, foghorn, and intercom
  • New AIS receiver system to automatically display AIS-equipped vessels on the chartplotter, including name, heading, and speed information
  • 10’6″ AB RIB with 9.9HP Honda outboard
  • Freedom Lift hydraulic dinghy lift with carbon-fiber lifting arms. The entire mechanism is installed beneath the swim platform and is operated via wireless remote
  • Rod holders in cockpit (and a Magma grill system that fits in a holder)

Of course, all this (and much more) has been done some 1,500 miles from our home in Boston. The only time we’ve seen Sequel (well, she had a different name back then) was in April when we went down for the marine and engine surveys and sea trial. Still – we fell in love with her, and she’s only gotten better since then.

Following are a few images of Sequel, some as recent as yesterday (emailed to us), by way of introduction.

The author, right, and the other woman, wife Amy on the left.

The author, right, and the other woman, wife Amy on the left.

June 9, 2014: Vehicle Swap

Today we dropped our jeep off at Pirate Cove Marina in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Sequel’s new home. So now we’re committed – the only way we can get that sucker back is by taking the long route – specifically, by flying to Miami, driving to Jupiter, then boating 1,400 miles north. Well, we could also just ask friends to drive us back down to RI, but there’s no fun in that.

'Til next time...

About the Author:

John Hanzl is currently the Diving Safety Officer for the New England Aquarium, where he dives in the aquarium’s largest exhibit – the Giant Ocean Tank – feeding the exhibit’s 700+ inhabitants. Along with his wife Amy, John completed an ICW cruise in the summer of 2014. He is also a published author of two books. To see more of John's work, visit his website here.