When Drew Locandro looked out to the Gulf from Alys Beach—his three children now grown and moved out of their Atlanta home—the beauty of the water reminded him of home. The waters and rivers in New Jersey of course feel much different than those upon the Florida Panhandle. The vessels upon them, too. But the memories the ocean view stirred up in Drew inspired him.
Though it had been years since as a child Drew had crewed on his uncle’s boat in New Jersey, he carried his love of sailing with him through adulthood, and after purchasing a home at Alys Beach with his wife, he couldn’t help but think about the memories he could make with his own children and grandchildren through time spent on the water.
So Drew and his wife, Beth, went to the Annapolis Boat show with the intent to charter a sailboat, to experience that nautical pastime once again. But when Drew saw a brand new, Jeanneau 49 monohull for sale, it just felt right. And in what was an unexpected purchase on what became a fateful trip to Maryland, the boat became theirs and a new chapter in the Locandro family’s life began.
When it came time to name the boat, Drew and Beth knew the choice was obvious. Their home, which is outfitted with an incredible sound system, is appropriately named “Casbah,” first giving a nod to the Moroccan architecture and a wink to famous song by The Clash that surely would play over the speakers. So the boat was aptly named Casbah II. Hailing Port: Alys Beach, Florida.
“One of the reasons we purchased our home at Alys Beach was to have a space for our children and grandchildren to come back to and gather,” says Beth. And their beach home has been just that. Here, the family, who is spread from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, comes together to celebrate life together, whether that’s a long weekend getaway or a Thanksgiving supper by the sea.
“I have such amazing memories of my family, growing up on the water and sailing with my family,” says Drew. “I want to make those same kinds of special memories with my children and grandchildren, too.”
Drew even got a small Tiwal, an inflatable sailboat that is easy to store and great fun in waters like the Gulf, which lacks ports of deep water access that would allow for a 49-foot monohull too maneuver.
“I think I’ll let the grandkids get their start on this one,” says Drew. And you can sense the pride, being able to create memories around a place and a pastime, in a place that means so much to him and his family. For now, the Casbah II is kept in the British Virgin Islands, which draw sailors and boating aficionados from across the globe. And on the stern, bobbing proudly upon the water, reads a little reminder of its Florida Gulf Coast home.