Friday, December 18, 2009

Ups and Downs

After taking advantage of the proximity of the marina to a West Marine and Publix we (Gypsysails and I) left our $90 per night marina slips and anchored south of Causeway Island to get ready for the next leg of the trip to Key West.


I finally got to do something that I have wanted to do since Milwaukee – jump off the stern into warm water and swim.  It was delightful, and weather permitting will be a frequent occurance.


We took off from Ft. Pierce in south winds and beam seas.  There was just enough veer that I was able to sheet in about 105% of the jib right against the spreader.  This made for a much more comfortable ride.  In addition to beating to windward we also had to cope with the Gulf Stream.  It comes very close to shore on the Ft. Pierce to Miami coast.  We spent most of the trip on the 50 foot depth curve.  That meant we were about ½ mile off shore.  There were two other sailboats paralleling our course but further out in the stream.  We tired to raise them both on the VHF but only got an acknowledgement from one of them.  At about sunset Capbam, the sailboat that had answered our call asked us our destination.  We told them we intended to sail all night and get to Miami Beach in the morning.  They had been planning to pull in but decided to join our happy little band and continue on.  With adverse wind and current we finally arrived at about noon, several hours later than our projected arrival time and got to meet Cappy and Bam in person.  The three boats traveled down “Government Cut”, hung a right, passed under the bridge, hung another right and headed for Miami Beach.  We anchored opposite San Marco Island


The weather forecast was pretty ugly with wind from the South so we relocated the next morning between Watson Park and Palm Island.  Little did I know that my trauma was about to begin.


We took a dinghy ride into the Miami Yacht Club to arrange to have parts that were being shipped to us delivered to the Yacht Club so we could pick them up..  How hard could that be?  Apparently “above the grade” of the staff of the Yacht Club.  When two packages arrived they accepted one and refused the other because they did not know who it was for.  Then they didn’t want to give us the first package because they thought it was for the Yacht Club.  After several minutes of pointed out that it was addressed to Gyspysails rather than the Yacht Club they finally gave up the box.  But of course we had to deal with Federal Express and get the second package redelivered with little hope that it would be accepted.  It did arrive the next day and we did get it.  Of course it was raining cats and dogs and blowing like stink.


Cappy rented a car and we went to Sailorman.  This is a very famous new and consignment boat store in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was fun but I was not motivated to buy.  We then shared a nice dinner in a local diner and headed back to the boats.


The wind started to pick up and the weather radar showed a solid band of rain and thunderstorms to the south.  At around 1 AM Reboot started to drag anchor.  Fortunately Maury was up and zoomed over in his dinghy to help me reset it.  Before the day was out we would reset it 4 more times.  We finally got out the Fortress, set it as a stern anchor on 350 feet of rode and Reboot seems to be holding position.  By that time I was totally exhausted.  In addition, the entire day has been one of thunderstorm, high wind and heavy rain (and dragging and resetting the main anchor.)


Finally tonight the rain seems to have stopped.  We took the dinghy into the Miami Yacht Club, swam in the pool, and got warm showers.  Tomorrow the weather forecast is for strong winds.  In addition, the wind shift means that the waves in the Atlantic will be nasty.  So we are planning to depart on Sunday for Key West, a trip of about 120 miles.  I will be in the company Capbam until Marathon.  The final destination for Gypsysails, like me, is Sigsbee Island at the Naval Air Station Key West.  I expect to also see other retired military that I met in Little Creek, Norfolk, and Jacksonville.  Hopefully we will get some nice weather and have several days of easy and enjoyable sailing.


Today we had three cruise ships in Government Cut.  The Atlantic coastal forecast was nasty: strong winds, thunderstorms, high seas, etc.  Did that stop the cruise ships?  Of course not.  They all left on schedule this evening.  I wonder how the passengers are fairing.


I got a chance to spend some time on the phone with both Trevor and Spencer.  It’s final exam time for Spencer; he has one down and three to go.  I can still remember (however vaguely) how much I hated that time.




  1. Ouch! At 90 bucks a night, that soon buys a much bigger anchor and windlass.
    The best place to be in a storm is to be tucked up in a cosy pub somewhere.
    Nigel & Sue

  2. Actually I don't intend to get a bigger anchor. I intend to add 150' of chain to the 50' already on the rode. The problem was that the channel was too narrow to put out the entire rode.