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Old 19-08-2011, 00:53   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: In Aberdeen, Scotland, but retiring to Spain.
Boat: Westerly W-35 (Latterly sold as Conway 36 Aft Cockpit)
Posts: 509
Images: 28
Windless in the GOM

Picked our new (old) boat up from Ft Lauderdale in mid July, with the intention of delivering her to Kemah... Never make plans that depend on the weather.

A couple of friends flew over from New Zealand, and my wife and youngest son came in from the UK, so we had a pretty full boat for a little 36 footer. We were delayed waiting for new upholstery, but eventually set off from Dania Beach on the afternoon of the 26th and motored down the intracoastal to Bayside Marina (wife is a salsa fan). We only ran aground twice on the run down, which I guess is quite good for a 6 ft draft and a bunch of non-locals... 'Sweet' pivoted off with ease each grounding. Left Bayside next morning and had a delightful few days marina hopping trip down to Key West, calling at Miami Beach Marina, Key Largo and Marathon. Great sailing, broad reaching and running most of the way, with some motor sailing, aren't the Keys a beautiful area to sail down. Arrived Key West 30th July and stayed for a couple of days at Conch Harbour Marina.

Wife and kid flew off on the 31st and us three guys motored out on a windless Monday morning the next day, heading for the Mississippi inlet to try to avoid the Gulf Stream hub in the center of the GOM. There followed six days with no wind, relentless sun, and the Gulf Stream. With insufficient diesel to make it to the Mississippi inlet we turned tail on the 6th and headed for St Pete, arriving there with only four gallons of diesel left. Filled with diesel, found a berth for the night, and set off again next morning having secured a dry berth at Marathon (work commitments wouldn't allow time to resume the Kemah trip). Perversely the wind got up once we had abandoned the Kemah plan, and we had a snorting two day/night sail down to Marathon, entering from the GOM side through the seven mile bridge. Hauled 'Sweet' out in the Marathon Marina, and laid her up for the hurricane season. No more sailing for me until I retire in two years, but with 'Sweet' in such a lovely location for working on her we look forward to vacations in the Keys until then.

So didn't get to make the delivery, but had some great sails anyway, and some salutary lessons on GOM conditions.
Sweet are the uses of adversity.
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