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Old 14-12-2010, 10:37   #1
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Sarasota to Key West

A group of five college kids left Sarasota, Fl at 12:00PM on Friday 12/10 for Key West and arrived at 10:00AM Sunday morning.

The trip was a breeze, litteraly. With Winds blowing 15 knots from the North and following seas, we made the trip in just over 40 hours. We had 5 people on board, sharing 4/5 hour shifts.

We planned on leaving at about 8:00AM on Friday, but well plans never seem to work out too well on the boat. We found a deflated dinghy in the morning and an outboard that needed a water pump replacement and some fancy rigging to make a not-so-great prop work. After a quick patch job and trip to a parts store, we were on our way. I made the mistake of letting a friend navigate us out of Big Pass in Sarasota while I looked at charts and messed around with some new chart plotting software. In his defense, my boat drafts 5', and I've come close to hitting the same shoal once or twice. After my laptop kissed the newly stained floorboards I lurched out into the cockpit, unfurled the jib and spun us 180 with the help of the diesel and we were back in the channel. We averaged about 5.5 knots Friday, despite about half a dozen windshifts before sunset. There wasn't much worth mentioning on Friday night, just some sea sickness that left ramen noodles and PB&J over the side of the starboard hull.

Saturday the wind picked up and stayed steady from the north the whole time. We trolled a few new lures with no luck, amd just enjoyed the beautiful weather. The tranquility quickly subsided at about 2:00AM. The line towing the dinghy snapped and luckily we heard it as it was happening and saw it break loose. I was the only one on watch and yelled out to the crew sleeping below and in a matter of seconds they were out in their underwear with flashlights and a spotlight. The moon was covered and the stars didn't give us much light so we lost the dinghy for at least two minutes. After circling back to the MOB coordinates, we found it bobbing along on our starboard side and secured it with a new line. We rejoiced with Sailor Jerry and Sam Adams made a surprise appearance before the crew returned back to sleep and left me with the few stars that weren't supressed by the cloud cover. Just as I was settling in again and starting to relax, the main sheet block shot off into the dark and a pretty wild jibe ensued. Again, the crew was up in no time wondering what the hell happened and asking what I needed. We had an extra block on board and replaced it with no other damage.

I ducked in and napped right before sunrise, and the morning crew woke up with the rest of our immediate world. Despite the problems the night before, Saturday was a pretty calm day, the wind picked up again and was blowing close to 20 knots by sunset. Saturday evening was full of excitement, we were cruising at 6.5 knots most of the night and we were so close to Key West that plotting our position on the paper charts every 3 hours became a party.

We entered the channel at 10:00AM Sunday and were sitting at Pepe's eating a hearty lunch by noon. There was a strong front chasing us from the north the whole time and by 7:00PM Sunday evening we saw it roll over top of us while we sat at Key West Bight. We were originally going to anchor off Christmas tree, but the gale force watch in effect made us reconsider, so we decided to split the dock fees and explore Key West until the weather passed.

We've seen Hemingway's house, explored the Naval Base, done the Eco-tour, been to the southernmost point, watched some incredible sunsets, dined at some pretty fancy restraunts and met some incredibly hospitable Key West locals and cruisers so far.

We'll probably hang around and explore the island some more until Thursday and take advantage of a wind shift to the Southeast and head back home.

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Old 14-12-2010, 10:56   #2
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Good timing!
In case you need it, Key West Marine Hardware is just up from Pepe's and so is West, if you need another block. While you're in that 'hood B.O's Fish Wagon has a great lunch, Harpoon Harry's has a great breakfast and anything else you might need is at Schooner Wharf!
Any fool with a big enough checkbook can BUY a boat; it takes a SPECIAL type of fool to build his own! -Capngeo
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key west, sarasota

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