Long before social distancing, David and Cathy Orlando had it down pat, at least on Friday nights. Now that they’ve had to practice social distancing for weeks on end, they’ve found a way to stay safe and still enjoy time with friends–all thanks to their Grady-White boat.
“My husband tells people our boat is an incredible fishing boat,” says Cathy. “But we don’t use it for that. To us, the Grady is our every Friday, date night rendezvous.” When they were first dating, David, and Cathy, along with their four-legged friends, would head out of Houston, Texas on Friday evenings and go straight to the family lake house. Upon arrival, they’d jump on their Grady and kick-off the weekend by relaxing and catching up. “To us it’s the perfect end to a long, hard week,” notes Cathy. She goes on to say, “fortunately, we live in Texas where the weather is warm enough to get on the boat almost every Friday.”
The Orlando’s Fisherman 216 is actually their third Grady-White. “You just don’t have to fix things because nothing goes wrong,” notes David when asked why he’s owned three Gradys. “We go down to the boat every Friday, turn the key and go.” He does elaborate to say that he has a great dealer at Marine Max in Texas, and he makes sure his boat is properly serviced like the manual suggests. He bought his first Grady-White back in 1995, a Tournament 22, after going to a boat show. He ordered the 22-foot boat after only looking at the 18 and 19-foot boats on display. When his new boat was delivered he was astounded! “Oh my goodness, this 21-foot boat is a lot bigger than the boats at the boat show,” he exclaimed. It didn’t take long for him to get comfortable onboard, and he kept that Grady for 10 years and his second, an Escape 209, for more than 10 years as well.
After going through hurricane Harvey in the fall of 2017, David and Cathy wanted to do something for themselves. They went to their local dealer and started looking at new Grady’s. They settled on the Fisherman 216. While he said it was basically the same size as their current boat, David was amazed at the new features and technology on the newer model. In addition, they also couldn’t resist the cool new colors and opted for the Harbor Blue! “We’ve gotten tons of compliments on the color of our boat,” Cathy says. David went on to say that the new boat even rides better, which he didn’t think was possible, and he loves the upgraded captain’s seat at the helm.
Just like their other Gradys, this boat is giving them plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water, whether it is the two of them on a Friday night or with family and friends. “Each summer our family from Boston visits us here on the lake, and we spend every single day on the boat,” noted Cathy. “That’s when we break out the toys to go tubing and skiing!”
Now, going on three months into the pandemic, David and Cathy are using the boat as a great way to see friends while still social distancing. This Friday night the Orlando’s are going to change up their usual Friday date night. They plan to pick up dinner on the boat and anchor out with another couple where they’ll eat together – but each in their own space. “For me, I just don’t know what I’d do without our boat,” says Cathy. Getting out in the fresh air, seeing friends at a distance – that’s how I’m keeping my sanity!”