Saturday, March 23, 2013

Last Overnight Of The Winter

Final Overnight for the 2013 winter

Thursday and Friday was the last scheduled overnight for my Catboat friends and me, Roland will be packing up and leaving for Maine next week and Davy will be making some changes to his Catboat before he heads out to West Va. for the summer.

We left Thursday about 11:00 to meet up with Davy, who had to sail about seven miles to join us for the sail out to Manatee Key, where we chose for our overnight anchorage. The wind was light out of the SE and eventually died out completely, for about an hour, before it picked up again. The temperature was in the eighties so it became a little uncomfortable for me, I don't have a Bimini top to protect me from the heat of the day. I know, you up there in the North are saying," you poor soul, while you are basking in the sun, we are freezing our arses off". I know this because I talked with Paul Smith during the cruise and he gave me a weather report for the Brick Town area, needless to say, he wishes he was still in the Keys.

We anchored off Manatee Key and organized our boats for the night, we rafted up and went aboard Roland's boat for cocktails and dinner, after which we sat around talking about the winter of sailing, how the boats performed and what we have planned for the summer back home. Eventually the time to get below and put up our mosquito netting, before the little pests descended on us. As always, everyone brought some reading material to pass the time until the Sandman arrives. Lights out at 8:30 for me, then up again at 4:00 to read some more before falling back to sleep.

Friday, we all decide to put in a reef, the weather report was calling for 15KT. winds, it always blows harder than they predict, for some reason. We went through manatee cut and by the time we got out into the open sea, we were glad that a reef was in place. Two foot seas and a wind on the nose made for some great sailing,  until a squall line appeared in the distance, as luck would have it, we were heading right into it's path.. Erring on the side of caution, we ducked in the Lee of another Key and had lunch. The Squall eventually dissipated and we were once again sailing toward home. I chose to sail half way to Davy's port while Roland, who was expecting his wife form Boston, sailed home. After all was said and done, I came in to our harbor just a few minutes after Roland arrived, Roland's course caused him to make many tacks, he was heading directly into the wind, on the other hand I was able to make just two very long tacks that allowed me to make up some time.

I have provided a chart showing our various courses both days and the location of the Keys that we visited.

Click on a picture once it enlarges, twice for a close up.

Legend of trip courses
Black, Davy to meet us
Turquoise, me to Davy
Magenta, Roland to Bottle Key
Red, all out to manatee Key for the night
Orange, all back to Bottle Key then home
Rust, Roland home
Yellow, Davy and me
Green, Davy home
Light Blue, me home

Roland, goodbye Florida Bay, until next year
Heading toward Stake Key
Davy, "who's better than us"?
Roland, seeking shelter, during the Doldrums
A chance encounter of an "Old School Outward Bound Pulling Boat"
Those aboard for a six day adventure were a group of Prep School student's from Texas
Sharing an anchorage with an Outward Bound group
Shoal off Bottle Key

Check out that water color


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