The first Healthy Grin was a 26 Albemarle. Then it was a 30 Albemarle. Currently, it is a 35 Carolina Classic. Through them all, I had a little Hydra Sports with a 2-stroke carbureted Johnson outboard.

We trailered that boat to Smith Mountain Lake to catch landlocked striped bass. I’d run it from my house in Seaford, during the wintertime, in the dark, hugging the shore, but avoiding the Rockpile, to the James and on up the Elizabeth River to the Hot Ditch to be the first boat in the Cove. During the summertime, I’d run it across the bay and up the Eastern Shore to catch tarpon. I have no idea how many cobia and drum have been caught on that boat.

I’ve always liked the Parker boats. When Dare Marina ( ) became a Parker dealer, I thought that I’d replace the Hydra Sports with one when it finally died. It never did. That dang Johnson is still running great.

Recently, but before the world turned upside down with a pandemic, I spoke with Mike Hanna at Dare Marina about the Healthy Grin. My usual mechanic was out of commission. He’d left the generator mid-repair months ago and it was time to service the main engines. Mike said the he had a guy and that they would take care of everything. “Fantastic, while you’re doing that, could you look the whole boat over? Over the past year or so I’ve been considering if it is time to put this Healthy Grin on the market.”

New heat exchanger on the generator, service has been done, and Mike gave me his assessment. “We would want to detail the boat from the props to the top of the tower. Everything needs to be in working order and you’ll have to put windshield wipers back on the boat.” Windshield wipers? One of the first things I’ve done with all of the Healthy Grins is to take the windshield wipers off, don’t like them, in the way, and Rain-x does the job. It became apparent that the things needed to be done were going to get in the way of fishing.

After a lot more talking, both the Healthy Grin and the Hydra Sports are at Dare Marina. It only took 3 pick-up truck loads to get everything off of the boats.

I thought about the chart plotters on the Healthy Grin. All of those wreck numbers, locations of all of the record grouper, tilefish, tautog and others are on there. I thought about clearing all of those but I’ve decided to leave them. Whoever the new owner ends up being can decide what to do with those. Neither boat is on the market yet but both will be after Dare Marina says they are ready. You can contact Dare Marina to ask about them: (757) 898-3000.

What I have on my boat lift now is a Parker 23 SE, in time for drum season. As for an offshore boat, I don’t know what will happen. We’ll see after the 35 Carolina Classic is sold. There is a beautiful, new 32 Albemarle sitting at Dare Marina that I can’t stop looking at…

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