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Marco Island offers many wonderful ways to get away from the pressures and strains of everyday life, but few can compare to the absolute relaxation, peace and tranquility offered by sailing through the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I was lucky enough to join Capt Hugh Cross on his gorgeous 22' Maine Cat early one sparkling morning recently and I re-discovered how beautiful the waters around Marco Island really can be. Cross Cruises is based right on Marco's beautiful beach in front of The Eagle's Nest, Marco Beach Ocean Resort and Club Regency. Most days it is very easy to board the boat from the beach but when the seas get a little rough he picks passengers up from his marina on Isle of Capri. Capt Hugh says that his Maine Cat's composite hull makes it fast, light and very solid. This, com-bined with his passion for sailing, means there's less engine time and more sailing than on most other sailboats. The boat, (which can easily ac-commodate six people) has a draft of just 10", which makes it absolutely perfect for use in our ever-changing shallow waters - "it enables us to get to all the best shelling spots which are just not accessible to larger craft" he told me. It's also extremely comfortable, with the music of your choice (the radio is usually tuned to a smooth jazz station but Capt Hugh is happy to switch to whatever kind of music you pre-fer), trampoline areas which just beg you to lay down and bask in the sun and maybe even nap a little, as well as a large sunken