My name is Mark, my boat is Taylor Lynn. She's a 1976 26 foot Grampian sloop
that I bought and moved aboard in April of 2013.
I found her in Marathon that February. I was working as a waiter in South Beach and figured I could get her up here over four days off. I still think that was reasonable, but it didn't work out like I planned. The day I pulled away from her slip, there was a small craft advisory.
After I motored out of boot key, I found the wind
was too heavy to raise my sails
. I'd seen several boats in the channel on the way out, apparently waiting out the weather
. Given that I needed to be at work, I decided to motor
on. Months later, I fixed my blocks so I could raise both main and fore sails
from the cockpit
, like it was designed. That day, I made it through about five statute miles of wind
and waves with my outboard propeller
coming out of the water
every few seconds before I finally decided to abort. Finding a channel, I motored in, threw out my anchor
, and promptly dragged aground.
A kind couple in a motor
boat pulled me off and out to the nearest channel marker, to which I tied off, then began smoking cigarettes and drinking until my hands stopped shaking.
The next day, I managed to raise my sails and make it up to long key bight where I misjudged my position and ran aground again. This time, there was no one around, so I threw out my anchor
again and waited. About three hours later the tide freed me, but it was too dark to try to get into the bight.
The next morning was ugly. I was amazed when a sloop
about my size that had anchored near me overnight raised her sails and took off. I stuck with my motor. Coming around into the channel, my rudder
snapped off. I untied the motor and used it to steer. I made it to the mouth of the bight and the motor died.
I threw out my anchor. Consulted my chart, too far out. Putzed with the motor. After maybe twenty minutes I tried it again and it started. I headed into the harbour. Fifteen minutes later, the motor died again. I threw out my anchor. Checked the chart, not ideal, but the motor was dead. Screw it. Called my roommate to come get me, secured the boat, and rowed ashore.
Turns out I forgot to check the oil
level in my little four-stroke engine
. In the month that followed, as I came back down on my days off, I learned my 20 lb. danforth was inadequate. Taylor Lynn dragged all the way across the bight, twice. Fortunately, she kept hitting the southern edge and didn't get dragged out to sea.
It took two months to get her up to Miami
Beach. I gave up my apartment in April last year, and have spent the time since refitting her.
New motor and motor mount. New battery
bank and a hefty solar
panel. More than adequate ground tackle. Replaced some frayed rigging
. Oh yeah, and me and a friend who works in a boat yard fabricated a new rudder
based on a lot of internet research
. It turned out beautiful in both form and function.
I've done some day sails and some overnight sails in the bay. I keep fixing what doesn't work right and learning
from every mistake I make. Finally, I feel like my baby is ready. The boat is solid, even if the skipper
still needs some work.
My restaurant closed, so now I'm planning to sail down to Key West
and try to make a life there for at least one season. I'm finally introducing myself because I might need to start a couple threads for advice.
I won't pretend that I'm an expert, I learn more every day. But I have learned a lot in the last year about my boat, about sailing, and about living on the hook.
I hope you'll accept me, and I hope I can contribute some good advice to those coming behind me.
Hello cruisers, my name is Mark.
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