2010 Cruise Log #1
Embarking on our Third Voyage
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Departed: Vero Beach, FL at 08:18
Arrived: Fort Pierce, FL at 10:10
Distance: 12 nautical miles
Departed: Fort Pierce, FL at 11:37
Arrived: Lake Worth, FL at 19:12
Distance: 49.7 nautical miles
If you are thinking that this sounds a little like last year’s departure, you are right. We can’t seem to make a clean break from Florida. We’d originally planned to head out to sea from Ft. Pierce Inlet and arrive the following morning in Lucaya, Grand Bahamas Island. After getting Chris Parker’s weather forecast and hearing something about 9-10 foot seas in the gulfstream this morning, we modified our plan slightly and decided to stay in the ICW until we got to Lake Worth and then head out across the gulfstream in calmer conditions. Once again we are traveling with our friends on Veranda (Bill, Christy and boat dogs Molly & Tucker) and Far Niente (Jay, Diana and boat dog Tinkerbelle). Our crew this year includes Tippy the boat cat and a year-old Orange cat named Snap.
Last year Veranda developed engine problems right after leaving Vero Beach. This year Far Niente lost their autopilot. For day sails on a lake or even trips down the ICW, you can make do without an autopilot to steer the boat; but when you are out in the ocean for over 24 hours straight, an autopilot is essential safety equipment. Our autopilot failed earlier this year crossing the NE Providence Channel to the Abacos in rough seas. After hand-steering for over nine hours, we were both seriously fatigued. So, when Far Niente told us that they were pulling into the Fort Pierce Anchorage to troubleshoot and fix their equipment, we and Veranda joined them.
After a couple hours and a trip to the West Marine Store in his dinghy, Jay thought he had the problem licked. In the meantime, I’d received a report from another boat that the seas along the Florida Coast were only 1-2 feet. We quickly cobbled together Plan C and headed out the inlet at Ft. Pierce into the Ocean. We were treated to about a half an hour of rolly (side to side) waves as we went out the inlet and headed east into deeper offshore water. It was just long enough for Snap’s eyes to get big as saucers, for me to discover that the provisions in the forepeak weren’t secured quite as well as I’d thought, for Di to lose a couple of her Christmas Ornaments from the wreath on Far Niente’s bow, and for Jay to find out that his autopilot was still broken.
Once we turned south, the sea conditions became mild. Unfortunately, the winds were also very mild, so we motored all day. By afternoon, Far Niente decided that the auto pilot really needed to be fixed before they could head across the gulfstream to the Bahamas. It took us until just after 7 p.m. to reach the Lake Worth inlet and drop our anchors. Sunset was at 5:30 so we had to navigate the busy channel in the dark – but it all turned out okay. I’d made turkey soup in our pressure cooker while we were motoring today, so we were enjoying a hot meal and a cold drink within minutes of setting the anchor. Ah…
We still have a good weather window for making our passage to the Bahamas Sunday night although most of the time we’ll probably have to motor. We’ll leave Lake Worth at sunset and arrive at Port Lucaya marina on Grand Bahama Island on Monday morning. We’ll stay in a slip at the marina for one night before heading south east into the Berry Islands and beyond. This year we plan to spend time in the Jumentos and other unpopulated areas. We are also carrying charts and guidebooks for Cuba… just in case.
We have crammed our lockers, holds, v-berth and every inch of space on Solitaire with food, spirits and supplies. I made a last minute trip to the farmers market and stocked up with a month’s worth of fresh vegetables – all wrapped in “green bags”. Food is packed in the freezer and refrigerator with the precision of a jigsaw puzzle so that we can get the doors closed. We have sixty new DVDs to watch, forty books to read, cards, games, Sudoku and crosswords.
We’re set to go and we’ll keep in touch. We love hearing back from you as well.
Nancy and Jim, and boat cats Tippy and Snap