July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


Womens Roundtable
By Kismet, Monday, October 1, 2012

By Lisa Targal Favors

With approximately 40 female members in attendance at the Women’s Roundtable session (during the MTOA 2012 Southern Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach, Florida), I looked forward to a little lighthearted bonding with some of my female counterparts who were assembling in the meeting room. As the appointed time approached, the chatter died down, attention quickly moved to the front of the room as the moderator, Sue Wingginton called the session to order. I guess I could safely state that female cruisers have some unique concerns about their boating lifestyle, ones their male counterparts do not share, thus the need for a “Women Only” session during this four-day MTOA rendezvous. Whether it was safety or emotional concerns, women were ready with their questions and prepared to share information.

Women’s Roundtable heats up at the MTOA 2012 Southern Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

If you are a regular reader of our BoatU.S. Cruising Logs, you may already know that we belong to several boating clubs. Two of those clubs, MTOA and AGLCA, regularly schedule women’s sessions because the need is substantial within these large boating communities. AGLCA provides a women’s session during their spring and fall rendezvous. I usually try to attend these sessions as I have a keen interest in what I might learn on both sides of the fence. Some of the questions and concerns I’ve heard before and often, especially while gathering stories for our book, Women On Board Cruising, they seem to be recurring topics, unique to women boaters.

On this day, the program started slowly, with a few sobering accounts of actual medical emergencies or safety situations. These were quickly followed by remedies, solutions and suggestions by either the story teller or another member as to how each solved a similar problem.

Karen Siegel, of Active Captain, talked about how to handle a medical emergency on board while at dock. She suggested that five horn blasts would get a lot of attention when docked in a marina. The horn noise would alert people nearby to the distress on your boat. Her second suggestion was to use the VHF radio, as neighboring boaters might monitor their radios even at dock. If all this failed to raise someone nearby, she’d suggest using a cell phone and dialing 911 for local emergency response. Karen said not to forget to gather location address and slip number before calling to give to the operator (this info might be on the receipt you received at the marina when you checked in. In 2011 we attended the PNW MTOA Fall Rendezvous and a similar conversation was addressed during an open session about medical emergencies out on the water. It seemed the consensus was to use a MAYDAY call on the VHF radio first in order to reach either the Coast Guard or those within immediate reach of your vessel, using the phone after that to get help if still needed.

Karen also suggested making a laminated card with emergency medical specific information or procedures, like CPR instructions, that would be kept in a handy, easy to get to, place.

Next we discussed different methods of deterring intruders on our boats. Not many boaters like to carry guns on board. Possessing a firearm can be a major problem if you want to visit Canada, so the women shared their weapons of choice which included: bear or hornet spray, door alarm or one of the most creative methods I’ve heard to date… placing tacks, point side up, on the deck where an intruder might board. Guess you’d have to remember to remove those in the morning.

Sometimes you just want a good, reliable, and quick source to ask a question when a need arises while cruising, so we discussed the value of the MTOA List Serve (an online forum for members only). All you need to do is sign on and ask your question and you can be sure someone will answer in short order. In addition to the List Serve, the MTOA Port Captain Program (members who are ready and willing to provide assistance and advice to any member traveling in their area), is a valuable resource when needing local knowledge.

One woman, just starting out on her first long boat trip, asked the question about how she could stay in touch with her parents while gone for long periods. Communication methods have improved greatly during my seven years of long-distance boating. I remember leaving Charlevoix for our first Great Loop boat trip in 2005 and I was still trying to figure out how to use the Wi-Fi feature on our new laptop and how to find a workable signal. Now the options to communicate with family, friends or run or do business while traveling are almost too numerous to mention. Skype has been around for a while, now many people have Facetime on their phones. There are also many mapping programs or apps, such as the new DeLorme inReach hand-held tracking device (which also is a two-way SOS emergency response system), another is the Spot Personal Tracker. These devices will show or even track your location so that interested parties can keep an eye on your progress, whereabouts, and safety.

The Delorme inReach provides an easy way to stay connected with two-way satellite text messaging, SOS alerting, Follow-Me tracking/Find-Me locating. An easy way to provide tracking for your family and friends while you are long-distance cruising.

Some of the more emotional concerns revolve around leaving one or more family members behind while you follow your dream of cruising. It can be because of offspring who don’t understand, or the guilt of leaving aging parents to fend for themselves while gone for long periods. One woman shared a distressing situation with one of her daughters, who was very upset with her for leaving, had begun to withhold grandchildren time from this woman to get her to cancel her trip. The woman was visibly upset at these circumstances, which apparently surprised even her. You can just imagine the support she received at this meeting; not only good advice about sticking to her guns, but how she might include her daughter in some way…. so she would find some understanding and acceptance.

Another safety measure discussed during the session was the ditch bag (a bag prepared ahead of time with abandon ship items). Many suggested having it ready the night before. MTOA has lots of information about ditch bags and what they should include in their online forum (you have to be a MTOA member to access). One good suggestion was to include a battery operated, handheld radio in the bag. Another important note shared was to remember that coolers float and may be something valuable to hang onto if all else fails.

One really good suggestion for women concerned about cruising in bad weather was to check weather buoys before going out. BouyData and NOAA are good resources for this. Set your own limits on the wind, waves, and stormy weather you are comfortable cruising in – set them and stick to them. Another suggestion was to scrap plans to go out if the weather is bad and enjoy a good book at dock or anchor. A more creative suggestion was to entice the captain with a little “amorous liaison” as a diversion from the, “We have to go rain or shine, wind or waves” mentality. It was mentioned that perhaps our male partners actually like us to take this initiative, to insist we stay at dock. By doing this they won’t look bad in the eyes of other captains and, in essence, we can help save them from themselves – and ourselves in the process. Overall it’s a good practice to set up a few “rules of engagement” early on in your crew’s cruising discussions. Better to know each other’s limits ahead of time and agree or at least compromise to set limits before a situation arises and you are headed into something that might turn you against boating with your crewmate forever.

Sue, the moderator, brought up the subject of first-time women boaters taking a Power Squadron class, to jump-start the learning curve. In addition, there are woman-focused courses through Sea Sense or a course taught by Wendy Young, a personal boat trainer who was in attendance at this roundtable.

Jim and I have a laminated card with our boat’s information. On the card, we list things such as height (with mast up and with mast down), width, and draft for use when approaching a bridge or marina. We keep this handy just in case we have a brain fart or are about to mistakenly use or give old information from a prior boat.

No Women’s Roundtable would be complete without a review of the MOB (man overboard) drill. It was strongly urged that women not familiar with the MOB GPS feature or radio operation learn the steps and practice the drill with their captain.

Lastly, a few tips on food preparation and provisioning in general. Don’t be at a loss with limited space and appliance functions. Women before us have a lot to share on almost any galley concern. We found out during the session that there are several provisioning lists to be found on the MTOA List Serve (must be an MTOA member to view). I also like this website, The Boat Galley, it has lots of useful information to get the most out of food storage and preparation on board.

On our second Great Loop boat trip, during a forced layover, due to flooding on the Illinois River, on the free wall in Joliet, Illinois a new acquaintance, Linda, on Shore Thing, shared this amazing recipe which was a big hit at cocktail hour on the dock. Jim and I can now only eat saltine crackers prepared this way.

Fire Crackers
  • 1 lb unsalted saltine crackers (4 sleeves)
  • 1-cup canola oil
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet ranch dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)


  • Mix oil, dressing, red pepper, and garlic powder in bowl.
  • Stir till mixed well and not settled on the bottom.
  • Pour mix evenly over crackers
  • Close lid tightly, flip container over every 5 min. for 20 min.
  • Lightly shake back and forth to coat all crackers.
  • Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag.

Servings: 24

Will keep for about a week – if they last that long!

Firecrackers were a popular snack item during cocktail hour on our second Great Loop trip in 2008 when we were docked at the free wall on the Illinois River in Joliet, Illinois.

The more recent onboard food buzz lately, and timely mentioned at the Women’s Roundtable, has got to be the 3-2-1 Cake, a microwavable cake that’s fits perfectly with our boating lifestyle; easy to make and clean up.

3-2-1 Cake

This recipe is called 3-2-1 Cake because all you need to remember is:

"3 TBLS mix, 2 TBLS water, 1 minute in the microwave!"


Mix together in a gallon zip-lock bag:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake Mix

Just remember that one of the above mixes has to be the angel food mix (the cake mix that has the eggs whites in it); the other is your choice (Red Velvet, Chocolate, Spice, Banana, Strawberry, Lemon etc. use your imagination on the mixes.)

Mix together and pour into a microwave safe container like a ramekin or other small baking dish or paper bowl:

  • 3 tablespoons cake mix
  • 2 tablespoons water

Microwave high for 1 minute.

Makes 1 serving

Let rest for 15 minutes and serve with fruit, whipped cream or other toppings. Be creative.

Keep remaining cake mixture stored in the sealed Ziploc bag for future use. Does not need refrigeration.

Enjoy 3-2-1 voila!