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Grady-White Boat Creates Lasting Memories for a Father/Daughter Duo and Their Extended Family

 

 

“I’m first mate, and I sit next to him,” was music to Mike Skowfoe’s ears as his daughter, Ava, perched herself on the helm seat beside him on their new Grady-White. In the past, Ava was never very big on boating, and it was always a bit of a struggle to get her onboard. With their new Grady-White, which Mike’s fishing friends call “The Sea Caddy” because it rides like a Cadillac, she’s ready to go every time he lowers the boat into the water!
 
Prior to getting the Grady, Mike owned a few “go-fast” boats and then purchased a center console model. However, his fair-skinned daughter wasn’t too interested in spending time on a boat that offered little shade and few comforts. Mike decided they’d outgrown that boat and started looking for a replacement. He found a 33-foot Grady-White dual console, the Freedom 335, that easily checked all the boxes: cockpit and helm shade, lots of comfy seating, and more creature comforts like air conditioning, grill, and refrigerator. For Mike, who usually fishes 50 to 70 miles offshore, the solid feel and hull ride in all types of sea conditions were impressive. “The first time I took the boat offshore, I said, ‘Wow! This boat is overbuilt—really strong and solid,’” Mike remarked.
 
Growing up in south Florida, Mike and his grandparents created many fond memories while boating. The trips they took from Florida to the Bahamas were some of Mike’s favorites. After purchasing the Grady Freedom 335, which he named Reelized Gains, Mike knew it was time to recreate those memories with Ava. Being sold on the reliability and seaworthy performance of the boat, Mike had no concerns about taking it across the open ocean to the Bahamas. It was an easy pitch to his extended family, who eagerly signed up for the adventure. Joining Mike on the trip were his daughter, Ava, younger brother, Stephan, Stephan’s wife, Christine, and their two children, Brody, 8, and Leah, 6.
 
Mike began planning the trip with a “buddy boat,” but as the day for the trip grew closer, the buddy boat owner had to cancel. Undeterred, Mike found a boating forum and connected with a few other boats scheduled to make the crossing at the same time, two of which happened to be Grady-Whites. One, a Canyon 306, was making its ninth trip. The boats met at the marina early in the morning, departed before dawn, and communicated via radio the whole trip, never meeting in person until they arrived in Hope Town in the Abacos.
 
While in the Bahamas, the family stayed busy making cherished memories such as Brody catching his very first fish and all of them swimming with sharks, pigs, and sea rays. They visited numerous islands, making every day a new adventure. Mike noted that navigating the boat was very simple: “I found an app that would let me download waypoints and sync them to my chart plotter and navigation. Each night I’d ask everyone, ‘what do you want to do tomorrow?’ They’d pick a location, and off we’d go the next morning.” Of the 650 miles they logged on the trip, Mike only actually had to steer the boat for about 40 miles—the rest of the time, he put her on autopilot.
 
On the return trip, they experienced rougher conditions with 3- to 5-foot seas and an occasional 6-foot wave. The crew was so confident in Mike and the boat’s ability to get them home, they all slept the whole way back, worn out from the excitement of their experience and comfortably dreaming of a return trip next year. “This is definitely an annual excursion for our family!” said Mike, who fondly remembers the ride home with Ava stretched out on the helm seat behind him. “I stood for about 6 hours of that return trip so she could sleep!” said Mike. From the sounds of it, this trip was as much a dream come true for his crew as it was for Mike!

 

Mike Skowfoe’s boat, appropriately called, “The Sea Caddy” by his friends who say it rides like a Cadillac, anchored in the Abacos.

 

Stephan Skowfoe, Mike’s brother, and his children, Brody, 8, and Leah, 6, ride comfortably on the bow of the Freedom 335.

 

Mike Skowfoe’s boat, appropriately called, “The Sea Caddy” by his friends who say it rides like a Cadillac, anchored in the Abacos.

 

Stephan Skowfoe, Mike’s brother, and his children, Brody, 8, and Leah, 6, ride comfortably on the bow of the Freedom 335.

 

Swimming with the pigs was one of the trip’s highlights!

 

The crystal-clear water allowed them to see everything swimming below the water, including this shark!

 

Swimming with the pigs was one of the trip’s highlights!

 

The crystal-clear water allowed them to see everything swimming below the water, including this shark!

 

The entire crew poses on the back of the boat after another day of exploration and comradery.

 

Ava and Brody try some fishing, conveniently positioned by the cockpit door – ready to pull in their big catch!

 

First Mate, Ava, helps dad drive the boat.

 

Ava and Brody try some fishing, conveniently positioned by the cockpit door – ready to pull in their big catch!

 

First Mate, Ava, helps dad drive the boat.

 

Reelized Gains, Mike Skowfoe’s Freedom 335, sits with the cockpit ladder down ready for the crew to climb aboard.

 

Not only did the Abaco trip bring back fond memories for Mike, who had traveled there as a young boy with his grandparents, but it also created great new memories with his daughter, Ava.

 

 

The girls, Ava, Lea and Mike’s sister-in-law, Christine, look radiant after a day in the sun!

 

Not only did the Abaco trip bring back fond memories for Mike, who had traveled there as a young boy with his grandparents, but it also created great new memories with his daughter, Ava.

 

 

The girls, Ava, Lea and Mike’s sister-in-law, Christine, look radiant after a day in the sun!

 

Ava poses in front of Reelized Gains, the Grady-White Freedom 335 that changed her perspective on boating!