February 17th - The key to success in sailing - Part One
Well, sailing successfully to a key, anyway.
As I write, we're anchored off Rodriguez Key south of Miami
doubt, those of you who've commented on my logs
noticed I've not been saying much lately. The "why" of that is
another story altogether, but it suffices to say that our last
many weeks have been varied and different in many ways from our
first several months afloat.
Before I get into the sailboat stuff, for those who may have been
concerned, we've been attending to a lot of personal (as compared
to cruising) business. Among them is the expiration of our Cobra
coverage under Lydia's prior employment insurance
Those of you on Lydia's log got a flavor of that in her last
. That expiration led us to try to squeeze all the
last-minute stuff we could into our policy.
So, we came to Miami
, where we not only managed the final refill
on our medications on the day before our expiration, we got a
final colonoscopy and my light-vision test as the final item
needed for my medicals to qualify for my USCG commercial license
for me, and a mammogram and a nasal resection for Lydia.
Lydia's mammogram was a very distinct departure from every prior
one she's ever had, as it was done with one of the new digital
machines. We men
have no concept
of what women suffer in
mammograms, but the new machines not only don't do the suffering,
it's over in a flash.
Her nasal resection was over quickly, too, but despite the
marvelous "stuff" (flower children
may use a different, more
scatological, euphemism.) she was provided, she strenuously
objected to the pain in her nose for a day until the packing was
removed from her nostrils. She's been breathing freely, ever
since. She even noted to a friend that, as a result of her having
to sleep on one side for all her life, she has wrinkles on one
side of her face which aren't present on the other. She's making
up for lost
time, sleeping nearly universally on the other side,
now, so, while she'll tell you it (the pain, compared to the
gain) wasn't worth it, for the rest of her life she'll be able to
breathe easy, so to speak. Already, she doesn't need nearly as
much sleep as she did, the sleep interruption resulting from her
obstructed nasal passage
having caused frequent apnea-like
symptoms being what caused me to finally put my foot down and
demand she see an ENT.
All of our medical
stuff in Miami, including my vision test, was
as a result of a connection forged with the cruising community.
That doctor - who was also an FAA examiner, and thus gave me my
light test (the means to confirm that I wasn't a danger
water!) - was instantly able to refer us to some of the very best
in the medical
community in Miami.
Now that that's over, however, we went sailing. I'll come back to
the immediate past, but first...
We sailed down to Miami from Lake Worth
- but only after making
the inside passage
from there to Ft. Lauderdale, including the 21
opening bridges. It took two days to get there, with an overnight
stop in "Lake Boca Raton" - a puddle off to the side in the
Intra-Coastal Waterway - where we were, again, able to get a very
Once we reached Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale commercial
port, we headed south in lousy conditions, but made it to Miami
without incident. We even threaded the needle in extremely
, getting to our St. Steven's mooring
off the Miami
Yacht Club without grounding. Getting on that mooring
was a bit
exciting in the wind
, however, and we fouled our prop with the
Into the water
with my hookah rig (a compressor
on the deck
a long line providing air below) and wetsuit, I got it untangled
with only the loss of one tool but no other real excitements, and
we hooked on for the night. Side trips excepted, we've been there
ever since. In the meantime, however, since St. Steven wanted a
car at the yacht club so he could use it when he flew into the
area, we rented a car, made a dash back to St. Simons, drove both
cars down, and his car, too, has been at our disposal for our
entire time here. Mucho gracias, multi bene, merci beaucoup and
every other form of thanks you could imagine. We'd not be able to
have done it without your generosity.
Before we got into our medical stuff, Saints Steven and Michael,
along with their wives, came for a visit, which is related to the
title of this log. We'd hoped to sail to where we are, now...
gods, however, had gotten the schedule confused. It
was nasty enough that their arrival was delayed by a day, and
once here, the day we could leave had the wind
from the south, which is great for a Gulf Stream
not much for getting down the island chain inshore. It's been
quite a while since I did this particular passage, the last time
being when we took possession and delivered the boat. As a
result, I'd forgotten the fine details, and when I looked at the
overview of the chart, it appeared that there was ample room to
tack down the channel, and, even though it would take a long
it was ok. They'd come to sail, and that would be sailing, wouldn't
it? So, it would be all right. That it was at night was of little
moment, as it would
mean that we'd arrive at daylight, allowing for more snorkeling
time, and allow a night passage experience as well.
However, not only did our tacking give us next to no forward
progress (in the total scheme of things), as we approached the
Fowey Rocks weather
station, and continued to look at the detail
of the route
, it was apparent that Hawk Channel was the only safe
way to navigate the last portion of the trip. To go outside of
would mean bucking the Gulf Stream's current
possible that we'd make no actual forward progress at all.
Unfortunately, Hawk Channel is very narrow, so tacking was out of
the question, and, worse, has day marks only to show where we
should be staying, even if we were to "drive" (motor vs. sail)
it. That meant that we'd not be able to navigate it in the dark.
So, at about midnight, after deciding to let the second watch
sleep in for many hours past our expected changeover, Steve and
I, the first watch, made the executive decision to head
other way, taking advantage of the prevailing wind of the time,
and of the expected wind shift to the other direction allowing us
to come back the following day.
Sure enough, we dashed north, and arrived off Miami in short
order. Given that they'd come to sail, the destination
important as the experience, and since the wind was scheduled to
come around the other way on the following day, it would make for
a nice return, as well. So, off we went, expecting to go into Ft.
Lauderdale for a leisurely rest before returning.
As the sailing was so good, we kept on going, and woke the next
shift when we were about 5 miles north of Miami's Government
at about 4AM. Lydia, Mike, Vicki and Dianne took over as the wind
built on a perfect broad reach. However, they all were gossiping
so much that they entirely missed Ft. Lauderdale as it went by,
and by daylight, were nearly to Lake Worth
. When they realized
their mistake, they attempted a reversal, only to foul both
. The ensuing noise
woke both me and Steve, and we were all
for the bash into the building wind to get us back to Ft.
Lauderdale. We managed to tack our way back in, keeping close to
shore to minimize the waves and try to take advantage of any
counter-current off the Gulf Stream
Once into Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades, we headed down the
to an area Steve and Mike knew, pulled up to a restaurant to
have a late lunch, and assessed where we might spend the night.
Flying Pig is substantially deeper than either of their boats, so
finding an anchorage was going to be challenging. Neither of the
in the area responded to either VHF radio
hails or cell
calls, so Steve and Mike set out on foot to reach the
marina on the same side as the restaurant.
There, they encountered one of our newest, charming, unique
friends - Ricki, a big-boat Captain
living on her own massive
trawler/cruiser there in the marina. She told them we should come
on in and it would either be free or a trivial amount to stay.
Nobody's home most of the time, there, due to its being under
, and being a weekend, it was no problem. Hot showers
ensued, and, the weather being what it was, we stayed
another day, as to go south in the rain which was building, along
with the strong winds, wasn't appealing.
However, Steve and Mike needed to be back in the air, and,
fortunately, Mike's plane wasn't far away, since they landed at a
nearby in Ft. Lauderdale when they came down
(see Steve's car at the marina for reference). We inquired about
calling a cab, and Ricki insisted, instead, on taking them there.
So, as they headed off to their airport
, because the weather was
to be building, and even worse than it was at the
moment, we shipped out as well. With a strong following wind and
seas, we rolled around and crash jibed several times, breaking,
first, the shackle on the deck side of the preventer (the line
from the end of the boom, led forward, supposed to prevent the
boom from flopping the other way if the wind shifts), and then,
on the boom attachment point. So, we put in the sails
motor-sailed on bare poles, making over 8 knots at times.
With all the rolling which happened without any sails to steady
us, I took advantage of the cleaning
action to run the fuel
polisher. As our vacuum guage has stayed at the same level as a
new filter, I'm convinced that we got as much as will likely, or
even possibly, be dislodged, from the walls and floor of the tank
as a result of our wreck and trip back to the yard afterward last
year at about this time. None the less, it makes me feel secure
to think that our Racor
filters get only the best, cleanest fuel
and any future filter changes will be presumptive rather than
As my dear friend George says, this is reaching 4 pages, so the
rest of the story will have to wait for another time. We arrived
in Miami none the worse for wear, got ourselves back on the
mooring ball, and set about our medical chores. I'll tell you
more about the keys and Ft. Lauderdale in the next installment.
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
February 17th - The key to success in sailing - Part One