Port man and brother will ride WaveRunners from Florida to Newburyport

By Joshua Boyd/jboyd@cnc.com

Thu May 22, 2008, 01:13 PM EDT

Newburyport - Two North Shore brothers are really looking forward to something dismal next month. The Caseys, Bill from Ipswich and Joe from Newburyport, are looking forward to making a side trip off the Intracoastal Waterway to visit the Great Dismal Swamp. The swamp is the northernmost of the famous southern swamps (which also include the Everglades, Okeefenokee and Big Cypress).
The two won’t be following a traditional road map on their journey because they won’t be traveling on pavement. They’ll be riding Yamaha WaveRunners (FX SHO model), and the Great Dismal Swamp will be just one stop on their planned multi-day ride from Fort Lauderdale to Newburyport.
“It’s fairly shallow and stuff, just a huge swamp between Virginia and North Carolina,” says Joe Casey. “There were just new canals opened there.”
The brothers each run machine shops in Ipswich: Joe owns Thomas Machine Works; Bill operates K C Precision Machining. They share a love for water sports and, most recently, they’ve become big fans of riding WaveRunners.
The brothers also have a long history with the Young Men’s Christian Association, so it’s logical they would plan their watery ride up the East Coast to benefit the Ipswich Family YMCA.
“I’m not a member of the YMCA,” says Bill Casey, “but I pretty much grew up at the Beverly YMCA. I want to do what I can for the Ipswich YMCA. I’m involved in all their charity stuff … the auction they have.
“We participated in the YMCA so much when we were kids,” he adds.
The Casey brothers will start out from Cooley’s Landing in Fort Lauderdale June 9 and finish anywhere from seven to 10 days later at River’s Landing Marina in Newburyport. Along the way, they will be communicating with friends, family and the Ipswich Family YMCA.
“We’ll give our location on Google Earth each day,” says Joe.
“We’re going to show an Eastern Seaboard map, pinpointing their location,” says Gerry Beauchamp, executive director of the Ipswich Family YMCA.
Beauchamp is grateful for the charitable efforts of the Caseys in the past, but this undertaking is entirely different. The YMCA and the Caseys are welcoming pledges for the ride (see donation and pledge information on page 15) to help make it possible for the YMCA to be enjoyed by anyone of any economic status.
“I know Bill Casey has been a staunch supporter of the YMCA for the past five years that he’s been here,” says Beauchamp. “He’s been tremendously generous for our purposes, for our campaign so that kids and families can come to the YMCA. No one is turned away from the YMCA.
“This year, we’ll give away over $60,000 to kids and families, and we do it in different ways,” Beauchamp says. “We do a golf tournament, and we do an annual campaign to solicit from our community. This is one that is certainly novel and yet it’s a combination of athleticism and spirit.”
Hatching a plan
Pam Casey thought of the idea ‑ and then after some “thinking time” aboard one of the WaveRunners, decided she didn’t want any part of it.
“The idea for the trip actually came from my wife,” Bill recalls. “She thought it might be a fun trip for the two of us to do. However, after spending about five hours riding one day, she decided that 10 days on one [WaveRunner] might not be all that great. My brother, Joe, and I still thought, ‘It will be a good time.’”
Bill and Pam Casey have only owned their WaveRunners for three months, but Bill and Joe have already made one trip of some distance ‑ 110 miles to and from Bimini in the Bahamas.
“It was 55 miles each way, so it was about three hours each way,” said Bill.
The brothers aren’t foolhardy; they made the trip from Florida to Newburyport once before, on Bill’s 48-foot powerboat. It had “all the comforts of home,” Bill said, but there aren’t comforts like that on a WaveRunner. In fact, there aren’t any such amenities.
The route the Caseys will follow will closely match the Intracoastal Waterway, a designated shipping and recreational route that uses a mix of natural and man-made bays and canals to provide a nearly direct route from Florida to New Jersey.
“We’ll go up the Intracoastal Waterway at least until Virginia, then we’ll have to decide whether to stay inside or go outside,” says Bill. “It’s faster to go outside [because of the lack of no-wake rules].”
After their short 110-mile jaunt to the Bahamas and back, both had some trouble walking the next day.
“Most of the parts of my body I thought would be sore were,” says Joe. “I’ve got to make sure I get to the gym [before the trip].”
This isn’t going to be lounging around the deck of a large powerboat, after all. But if the Caseys’ trip makes it possible for someone to enjoy the YMCA who otherwise couldn’t, they say it will be worth some sore muscles.

By Courtesy photo

Joe Casey, left, and his brother Bill, right, are ready to take on the Eastern Seaboard upon their Yamaha WaveRunners.

To make a pledge for the Caseys’ journey:
If you’d like to support Bill and Joe Casey’s journey with a “per mile” pledge or a straight donation to their ride, pledge sheets are available at the Ipswich Family YMCA or a pledge can be made by calling Bill Petryszyn at 978-356-9622, ext. 108.
In 2008, the YMCA celebrates 150 years of serving all kids, adults and families, regardless of their ability to pay. With the support of donors, the YMCA intends to continue its long-standing tradition of helping those in need. The Ipswich Family YMCA awarded more than $60,000 in financial assistance to more than 450 deserving youth, teens and families in 2007 and this year, the need will be even greater.
For more information of the Ipswich Family YMCA, go to the Web site www.northshoreymca.org.