DREAM AWAY Update 04-23-2012
The passage from Georgetown, South Carolina, to Key Biscayne, Florida, was interesting. We left the dock with the four of us on board: myself, Kitty, and our English friends, Nicola and Noel, around 0730, on the morning of April 15th. We left on an outgoing tide, and were rewarded with a great ride down Winyah Bay, sometimes reaching over 7 knots.
When we got outside the bay, and headed south, the speed dropped, and never got much better. The whole passage was a good news/bad news trip. We had hoped for a break with the winds and current, but basically never did get it. The wind was pretty much on our nose for the whole trip. We did not have any really bad weather until our last day of the passage, so far. We did raise the mizzen sail, and put up the stay sail to steady the boat, and tried to get any push out of the wind we could.
When we left Georgetown, there were 2264.15 hours on the main engine, and when we pulled into the marina on Key Biscayne (where we are at this writing), the hours registered were 2413.73. That tells the story about how much sailing we did. Needless to say, the newly rebuilt transmission got a great test, and passed with flying colors.
During the passage, we were never more than 40 miles off shore. After we passed Cape Canaveral, we hugged the shore to stay out of the effects of the Gulf Stream. From Palm Beach south we pretty much rode the 30' line until we turned into Government Cut, in Miami.
We did have one issue come up, and it is not yet resolved. When running off of the port fuel tank, the engine would stop, even though the tank was half full. This happened twice. It was time to trouble shoot the problem. My first thought was that the vent hose was stopped up, but inspection showed that was not the problem. Then I suspected that the fuel hose from the port tank to the fuel manifold was either collapsing or coming apart. We ended up having to hand-pump 20 gallons of diesel from the port tank into the starboard tank so we would have enough fuel to ensure our trip to Marathon. When we got to Crandon Park Marina, we pumped the last 20 gallons out of the port tank, so now it is empty. When we get to Marathon, I will purchase a new fuel hose, and replace the piece that is now on the port tank. I will then pump the fuel from starboard tank into the port tank, and replace the hose on the starboard tank. Hopefully that will fix the problem.
On April 20th, my watch from 2200 until 0100, on the 21st, was beautiful. We were making five knots, and DREAM AWAY was in about 40' of water, 1/2 mile from the beach. Kitty came on watch at 0100, and had a pretty uneventful watch. I was with her most of the time, as we were going by Port Everglades with four anchored ships off shore, and lots of boat traffic around the port entrance. When Noel came on watch at 0400, the fun began!
We had run up the back of a storm, and it was really windy with lots of rain. We had to get the mizzen sail down and the staysail down quickly, because of the high winds. I went back to sleep, leaving Noel on watch. At 0700, I awoke because I knew Noel needed some hot coffee, so I got up to make it. Before making the coffee, I put the stay sail and the mizzen sail back up to help steady the boat, and to try and get more speed. I got the coffee going, and sat in the cockpit with Noel. It was a very wet morning, but the hot coffee helped!
We listened to the weather radio, and the 2-4 foot seas they mentioned were really closer to 6-8 foot seas, and the wind was much higher than the predicted 15 knots. The prediction for the next couple of days was for a strong cold front with 20-25 knot winds from the west, and then the northwest. This was not good news for us trying to make it to Marathon, in the central Keys. It was at this time we (read I :-) made the decision that we would not continue on to Marathon, but would instead head into Miami, and make our way to the Crandon Park Marina on Key Biscayne. It was a fun ride, but we made it into Government Cut. The seas settled down, and it was a nice ride from there to the marina. We arrived at the marina around 1300 on April 21st.
At the marina, we made arrangements to stay for three days. This was another change in plans. Our crew Nicola and Noel have to be in New Orleans the 1st of May to catch their flight back home to the UK. It was pretty obvious we would not be able to guarantee we could get to Louisiana by the 1st of May.
So, there is a new plan. We will stay in Crandon Park Marina until the morning of the 24th of April. The weather looks as if it will be good, and we should have 10-15 knots of wind from the Northeast. This portends that we may at last get in some sailing. We plan to leave early in the morning and sail down to Rodriguez Key, and spend the night there. On the morning of the 25th, we plan to finish the trip to Marathon in the central Keys. We plan to be on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor for about a week. On the 28th of April, we will drive Nicola and Noel up to Fort Lauderdale, so they can fly to New Orleans. They will spend a couple of days enjoying the city, and hopefully the annual Jazz Festival, before their flight home.
Kitty and I will drive back to Marathon, and spend a couple of day kickin' back. Our 43rd wedding anniversary is on the 30th, so we will enjoy that day, and hopefully by then a weather window will have presented itself. Once I feel good about the weather window, the crew will arrive, and we will set off on the passage to Louisiana.
Please do not forget to follow our mooring and passage with the Where Is Captain Jim link on the web page.
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