Cruising Beaufort's waterways 'Vintage Style'

By Cindy Reid | Maybe you have noticed some of the gorgeous vintage yachts for hire around our Beaufort waterways lately and maybe you have contemplated taking a cruise on one, either for a special occasion or ‘just because’. Well do yourself a favor and go for it because it’s a pleasure from a bygone era that is not to be missed.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do, this is it. We are so blessed to be able to enjoy our waterways, from raucous sandbar fun, to fantastic fishing, to just plain goofing off in a boat that it is easy to lose sight of a slower way of enjoying the water. But one day you should put your boat keys down and step back in time. There is no better way to appreciate Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea than from the comfy seat of a vintage yacht.

We recently enjoyed one such cruise on the Beaufort River on the charming Annalee, a 1930 Elco Cruisette. Friends had engaged Capt. Tim Deckard of Vintage Voyages for an afternoon on the Annalee and we were lucky enough to be included. If you have ever seen the Annalee at her slip at the Downtown Marina, or even better, gliding along the river, and wondered what it would be like to take a ‘vintage voyage’ I am here to tell you it was as lovely as you can imagine.

Our cruise started with Captain Tim, whose low key attitude and attention to our comfort made me feel right at home and in good hands. Captain Tim is a USCG Licensed 50 Ton Master, as well as a local fishing guide, and knows these waters very intimately. Invited to ‘make ourselves at home’, we did just that in the spacious cabin while Captain Tim got us out of the slip and into the river.

Cruising on the Annalee is very peaceful because it is powered by a “custom designed hybrid engine, with whisper quiet electric drive, is non-polluting and friendly to the environment and wildlife,” according to their website It was very quiet too. Perfect for carrying on conversations and enjoying nature as we caught sight of water birds and a dolphin or two.

We sat back, relaxed and watched the world go by. Vintage music by Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and others of that era were a perfect complement to the cruise. Free to explore the boat we admired the spacious berth and were able to perch up front with Captain Tim as he expertly steered us through the waterways around Lady’s Island.

Our perfect day was not perfect weather wise as very dark clouds trailed us where ever we went. As much as we wanted to continue our cruise we heeded “safety first” and headed back to the Downtown Marina and made it into our slip just as the weather hit. But snug as could be in the cabin we all hung out and enjoyed snacks while the rain poured down around us.
You wouldn’t think a rainy day on a boat could be fun… but it was. Of course good company, good food and being on a luxurious yacht sure did help.

A big ‘Thank you’ to Julie Hales and Captain Tim for a very fine time, on a very fine yacht, on a very fine Beaufort River.