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Sunday Fun Day: Don and Amanda Gardner

Given that their weekend ritual involves getting out on the water Friday evening after work and hitting it again on Saturday, Don Gardner and his wife, Amanda, of Cape Coral, Fla., rarely boat on Sundays. “We’re still trying to figure out how to do that,” Don said, then laughed. “We can’t seem to figure it out.”

Instead, they tend to spend Sunday’s cleaning their boats, which for Don, an aerospace engineer and Amanda, who works in advertising, is another form of relaxation and decompression for the coming workweek. Such is the life of a two-career couple with with two catamarans—a 30-foot Doug Wright powered by twin Mercury OptiMax 300XS outboard engines and a rare vintage 24-foot Arnow that was converted to an open-bow layout and is powered by a single 250-hp OptiMax outboard.

Don and Amanda Gardener are Fort Myers Offshore regulars in their 30-foot Doug Wright catamaran. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

The smaller cat tends to be their vessel of choice for Friday evening cruises.

“There are 22 speakers in the boat,” said Gardner. “You can probably hear it from three miles away.

“On the weekends, we don’t go anywhere in a vehicle,” he added. “If we can’t go by boat, we don’t go. We always boat together—we’ve never boated apart.”

Come Saturdays, the Gardners take to their 30-footer, which they bought four years ago and formerly ran as a canopied Stock-class raceboat. Two years ago, they converted the catamaran to an open-cockpit model.

“From 40 to 70 mph, it was really loud inside the boat with the canopy,” said Gardner. “So we cut off the top. We did all the work at home by ourselves. We’ve had it up to 108, 109 mph so far. We’re still trying to get it to 110.

“On Saturdays during college football season, we’ll usually go to a local sports bar to watch the games,” he continued. “When it’s not college football season, we’ll either do whatever Eric (Belisle, the president of the Fort Myers Offshore club) has in store for us, or just to go lunch somewhere.”

And then comes Sunday, a day of boat cleaning—and rest. But that, too, they tackle as a team.

Said Don, “We do everything together.”

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