Donnelly Great Loop Adventure 2017

SV Serenity



We are the Donnelly family, taking a year away from work and heading around the Great Loop in 2017-2018. We are on our PDQ36 sailing catamaran named "Serenity," which is a reference to the space ship, not 'peace of mind!' We are accompanied by our Dog, Lucky and maybe by our Cat Sid. Though we are holding out to see if Sid, who is 17 years old, makes it to our departure in May.

Fort Myers: A tale of two cities.

Fort Myers turned out to be one of the most interesting stops on the trip. Not because of the town itself (though it was nice and we enjoyed it). Rather because we stayed in two different places, had two different experiences and realized that our trip is changing. Continue reading “Fort Myers: A tale of two cities.”

Preventative Maintenance Matters (12/5/17)

Let’s be honest. I have not, as I have grown up, shown any great aptitude or even good attitude when it comes to maintenance. Of anything that has an engine.  Computers I love breaking/fixing and breaking again, but mechanical stuff?  Forget it. For example, I burned more cars (two) than I fixed or worked on (zero) through college. Upon joining the Army, I got drilled into my head that preventative maintenance is key to making sure you stuff works. That is–take care of the equipment by doing the routine services and it is going to last a lot longer. But I didn’t actually DO the maintenance; just made sure it got done! I mean, your hands get dirty and stuff! When it came time to get work done, I outsourced it to someone else. Rather have someone else dork it up than me! Continue reading “Preventative Maintenance Matters (12/5/17)”

Pelican Bay. Old Florida. Mosquitos, Alligators and we LOVE islands! (12/2/17-12/4/17)

We have had the best luck on this trip when we stop at out of the way islands. Beaver Island in Michigan, Washington Island in Wisconsin, Hope Island in Canada. And now another gem; Cayo Costa. An island just outside of Fort Myers, reachable only by boat. And it was a winner!!

Continue reading “Pelican Bay. Old Florida. Mosquitos, Alligators and we LOVE islands! (12/2/17-12/4/17)”

What the hell is in Sarasota?

Start: Manatee River Anchorage, mm93, Tampa Bay, 0854
End: Marina Jacks mooring field (ball T1), Sarasota, FL, 1305
Total Distance: 21.1 nm
Time: 4:11
Average Speed: 5.0 kts
Number of bascule bridges: 3 1

While we were sitting in our boat musing about the day, Jan said, “if you asked me before we started the trip what I thought of Sarasota, I would have said ‘retirement community, old people.’ Not money!”

Who knew?

But I jump ahead. Continue reading “What the hell is in Sarasota?”

Back into the Gulf! (11/29/17)

Start: Welch Causeway Bridge Anchorage, MM 122.1, 0830
End: Manatee River Anchorage, mm93, Tampa Bay, 1243
Total Distance: 25.0 nm
Time: 4:13
Average Speed: 5.9 kts Continue reading “Back into the Gulf! (11/29/17)”

Manatees, Grey hairs and other exotic species (11/28/17)

Start: Tarpon Landing Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL, 0843
End: Welch Causeway Bridge Anchorage, MM 122.1, 1419
Total Distance: 29.2 nm
Time: 5:35
Average Speed: 5.2 kts

We woke up the crack of 7am this morning without an alarm. We are heading out today, but our scheduled trip is just 30 miles south, so we aren’t stressing. The fuel dock doesn’t open until 8am, so Lucky gets a good walk, we get two cups of coffee and when the dock opens, we make our way over.

Continue reading “Manatees, Grey hairs and other exotic species (11/28/17)”

Cuttin’ the corner: A 171 mile day (and night) (11/25/17-11/26/17)

We put in the longest day (and night) on the trip: Over 24 hours underway as we cut the corner and move down to Tarpon Springs, FL

Continue reading “Cuttin’ the corner: A 171 mile day (and night) (11/25/17-11/26/17)”

Decision Day (11/24/17)

Our time in St. Joe is done and we leave relatively early for a destination that we have yet to determine. We have been squirreling around with which way we are going to go south and given we that trip will start tomorrow,  today we are going to set ourselves up one way or the other. Continue reading “Decision Day (11/24/17)”

We are thankful for our ’detour’ to Port St. Joe (11/21/17-11/23/17)

We took a wrong turn, ended up in Port Saint Joe, liked it so much we stayed for Thanksgiving! Continue reading “We are thankful for our ’detour’ to Port St. Joe (11/21/17-11/23/17)”

Blog at

Up ↑