Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vero Equals Friends

Good friends from our home marina, Kathy and Gary
of Sabre 42 GATSBY, made a delicious dinner on board....
We feel at home in Vero Beach City Marina because we always see so many cruising friends here. The city has created one of the best cruising stops on the entire east coast. There are plenty of mooring balls with a great marina, fuel dock and a nice laundry and bathhouse. The boaters' lounge has a TV, computer desk and book exchange, plus the city provides free bus service every hour to and from town! The ocean beach is only 4 blocks to the east and there are bike and walking paths throughout the parks, marinas and town. What is there not to like about a stop in Vero Beach City Marina? NOTHING!

Our raft of three on mooring ball #24

This place has a nickname among the boating community and that is "Velcro Beach" because we all tend to pull in here for a day or two and then we stay and some never leave. They get stuck, if you call this stuck. We happily spent the winter of 2007-08 here on our boat while working on new Masters' degrees in Education from Drexel University. We set up a Verizon Broadband network and two laptops and processed 45 graduate credits from the boat! That was exciting and very challenging. So, returning here year after year is wonderful. We really like Vero Beach!

Here are some photos of the good friends and the good life at Vero...

Vero Beach City Marina to the East of the AICW

The Merrill Barbor Bridge, Welcome to Vero Beach
Boats are rafted three per mooring ball

Wendy and Craig were vacationing in Cocoa Beach, FL, so they come to visit us

Wendy and Radeen by the banyan tree

Craig and Hayden

Radeen posted a sign....why not have happy hour on a Monday?
There is one every Thursday, too.

Craig played and sang; he is the Team Island Spirit band 

John of ISLAND GYPSY played along on his harmonic

All the ladies love Steve of IP38 SLOW FLIGHT,
including Radeen and Michele of IP35 SIMPLE LIFE

Radeen, Craig, Wendy and Hayden after dinner at TooJay's 

The view over our bow in the mooring field

IP38 ALPENGLOW with Tim and Susan are ahead of us

The north mooring field at Vero Beach

ISLAND SPIRIT rafted to SLOW FLIGHT, with the south mooring field in the distance

Breakfast with Radeen's homemade coffee cake
Thank you, Steve, for the Champagne for mimosas....
we are roughing it with Laurie and Jim of IP350 KISMET
As it seems now, with the us needing to fly to AZ for our family Thanksgiving, we too will get stay here and not press on to Miami. Oh well, we cannot think of a better place to be. Vero has got us again, and so it truly is VELCRO BEACH......

Friday, November 14, 2014

Offshore 300nm leg SC-FL

Sunsets at sea are so special...
Spending nights at sea on a sailboat is a special aspect of cruising. It is also challenging, exciting, boring, beautiful, and very tiring. So why do it? We set sail for sea to cover longer distances in shorter periods of time. Then again, there are some trips where you must spend nights at sea. Running the East Coast to the Caribbean can take 10 to 15 days and nights!  Cape May NJ to Block Island is a 36 hour run that takes one overnight. That is a summer trip we have made  ten times. Sailing from Acadia Maine to the Cape Cod Canal is also one overnight trip. So, we do it because we want to get to the destination. We do it because we have a lot of confidence in our boat systems, fuel system and engine. If it breaks or stops running offshore, then we have to fix it. Lucky for us, our brand new engine, with 100 hours, ran perfectly. Hand built by a Bavarian, we now call it Yannie-New BMW, and it runs like one too. What a great engine. Thank you, Alfred, of Schooner Bay Marina, Wisconsin!

Radeen harnessed in
We try to run watches at night so that we are each on in two hour shifts. That way the one off watch can catch some sleep. Sometimes we extend this to 3 hours, but we find we are so exhausted and tired that the one on night watch usually needs relived in two hours. Hayden usually does not sleep well and in this 52 hour trip, he only had 4-5 hours of sleep. While on watch, the person at the helm needs to be harnessed onto the boat so that they can not be lost overboard while the other person is asleep. No one is allowed to go onto deck unless the other person is up. No sail changes alone. If anything is not clear, like a ship crossing or a navigation issue, then get the other person up to help. Keep the boat moving, push 5-6 knots of speed with sail, or sail and motor to keep it going. We are not out here to extend the trip, we want to make a safe and speedy passage. Usually this means that if the wind is over 15 knots then we can use sails only. If it is 15 knots or less, then we add some engine to keep the speed up. This trip was forecast to have 10-15 knots NW, but we had 0-10 SW winds. (See previous post for weather map proof!) On a course of 195 degrees, this required sails and engine at 2,000 to 2,300 rpms. On day two, the winds came in as planned and we had 15-20 NW. We finally killed the engine and sailed the final 9 hours!

So here we are in FLORIDA. We are 964 nautical miles from Rock Hall, MD where we departed on October 8 for the Annapolis Boat Show, the beginning of our Fall 2014 cruise.

Check out these ocean sunrise and sunset photos

Ship crossing in the AM sunlight

Here comes the sun

Sunrise off Cape Canaveral, FL

I love to take these sunrises at sea

A focus on the ocean waves. This is a calm sea, 30 miles offshore

Radeen, the librarian, reading and happy
Her book? Seven Wonders by Ben Mezrich, author of
:Breaking Vegas (made into the movie Bringing Down the House)
and The Accidental Billionaires (made into the movie Social Network)

Ship on the horizon under the jib

The blue sky, clouds and sunset

The moon over our mast, but look at out worn out mainsail..ugh

Good Morning sunrise as we sail SOUTH

The sunrise is always exciting and wakes you up

This is a CALM inlet as the 3 knot flood current pushed us into the inlet

We always have sails up in inlets in case our engine stops!

Fort Pierce over the rock jetty

Bell Buoy with a wake, 3 knot flood current taking us in

This is WHY we fear SHIPS....look at this 34-40 sailboat and a 1,000 foot ship

Another view of the same sailboat and this 1,000 foot ship!
They run at 15-20 knots of speed
We are so grateful to be on anchor, safe and secure in Fort Pierce. Now we can enjoy the Farmers' Market and then move up to Vero Beach to see good friends and boat buddies.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Beaufort SC to Fort Pierce FL Plan

Ocean, SC to Florida...
We will head to sea today, Nov 12, taking the ebb tide 22 nm out to the sea buoy from the wonderful town of Beaufort, SC. Again, that is Beuuuuuuuuuu-FORT, SC, not Bowwwwwwww-Fort, NC! We waited out the last north winds due to high and confused seas. Now, the low has pulled offshore and the waves are calming down to 2-4 feet from their 4-6-8 feet level over the past few days. Of course, there is now less wind and it looks like it will be a motor sail for much of the leg.

We are pressing on as we need to store the boat near Miami so we can fly to AZ for our family Thanksgiving. This leg will be a 300 nm trip, if all goes as planned. As Captain Ron famously said, "We must be close, because we had just enough fuel to make it and we just ran out of fuel!" Our motoring range is about 350 nm and this trip is 300 nm, so we better be able to sail some of this or else it will be a Captain Ron event as we near Fort Pierce! (Just kidding!)

North winds 10-15 knots off our stern

If you are interested in planning ocean routes and looking at sea state, pressure and winds, then we direct you to study up at www.PassageWeather.com. We find it very helpful to learn what we can expect when we get to sea.

Here are the planning photos...

Low pressure moving out
Marry Poppins Winds, North Winds, here we go
Ocean waves in meters. The arrows point down wave

Sunset Ashepoo Coosaw River, our anchorage before Beaufort

Arriving Lady's Island Swing Bridge...ahhh, Beaufort SC
We enjoyed our 24 hours here...drinks with Jeff & Marjorie of IP 45
Far Niente on the deck at Luther's and an amazing dinner at the Old Bull Tavern

The waterfront park of Beaufort is beautiful
22 nm to sea from Beaufort

A direct route would be 50 nm offshore,
we may curve toward land to stay away from the Gulf Stream

The Fort Pierce FL inlet, where we will arrive Friday late afternoon
Thanks for following along. We will be pressing our SPOT at noon, 6pm and midnight and 6 am. This will show up on our SPOT maps HERE.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Charleston Friends

Radeen and Captain Bill IP 380 Tamarack, our good friend from Rock Hall, MD
We enjoyed low country lunch alfresco at Amen Street on East Bay. Cheers!
Our days at Charleston South Carolina have drawn to a close, as our extended dockage stay ends today, Monday. We enjoyed our Rock Hall IP fleet buddies catchin up to us and they now have passed us as Captain Bill pushed on to Beaufort SC. While here, we enjoyed our time together with IP 31 Propromenon, IP 380 Blue Skies and IP 380 Tamarack and walks around town with these good friends.

Our next plan is to get to Florida ASAP and that was to include heading out the inlet today, but with high waves, 5-6 feet, and a building low pressure with 25 knot winds gusting to 30, we will move down to Beaufort SC and head to sea from there.

Here are a few more photos to our time in Charleston, SC

Our MD-SC team:
Reuben, Nina, Bob and Hayden touring Fort Sumter
Our Buddies from our Home Dosck
Hayden, Radeen, Bob, Carol, Bill, Cherie, Ken and Dave
Cherie and Dave, IP380 Blue Skies

A must stop, the pecan praline candy shop

Longtime good friend Janet stopped in for a  lively visit

Saturday Date Night with Radeen

Hayden and Radeen, on our way to dinner at Toast with Rock Hall friends

Annual HOSPICE memorial with one umbrella for each who passed this year

Circular Congregational United Church of Christ

Beautiful restored Johnson's Row
And this is great wind for sailing south.....but...
The waves are building to 2-3 meters!
So, down the ICW to Beaufort, SC, that is pronounced Beauuuuuuu-Fort, SC, not to be confused with Beaufort, NC or Bowwwwwww-Fort.