Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Thirty Hours to Clearwater

Made it! We left Marco Island at 9 in the morning on Saturday morning. NOAA website showed light west winds (~5 kts) for the next 24 hours along Florida's west coast. Perfect. This is why we stayed in Marco Island...to wait for helpful winds.

We started out with enough wind enough a-beam to motor sail with all sails up. About an hour into it the wind had spun back to the north west! By afternoon it was right on our nose and had piped up to 15 kts. This is what we DIDN'T want to do. I don't understand how consistently wrong NOAA can be. During the late afternoon we were bouncing in 4 foot seas. We had to bear off our rumb line (~340 degrees) and head more and more to the north and then north-east to keep some pressure on the sails, our speed up and avoid going straight into those seas. A couple of times we had to hike out to the west to get another angle. Our speed was down to under 4 knots at some points. We considered going into Charlotte Harbor since we were making little head-way. However by the time we were at the mouth of the harbor it was dark and we both decided that we didn't need to navigate a new channel with following seas in the dark. It was safer out in the wide open spaces.

After sundown we sailed over toward shore south of Venice hoping to catch an offshore wind. That worked. During the dark hours we motor sailed along the coast and just navigated with the depth sounder. Kept the boat in about 25 feet of water and we kept that off shore breeze. By morning the wind was down to nothing which is better than having it on our nose. We made the rest of the trek to Clearwater motor sailing in either no wind or, later, more wind on our nose. The wind NEVER blew west. It was North or northwest for 30 hours. Why do I even listen to the weather radio?

We found our way easily to our slip next to the Clearwater Yacht Club and tied up around 3 pm. A thirty hour run. Our friends Ange and Wendy were waiting for us there aboard their 44' Hunter - Big Kahuna. Now for some sleep! While making a long run we only sleep in 2-3 hour hunks and when it was rough we didn't sleep at all.

Good news is that the Perkins engine ran 30 hours non-stop. It's good to have some confidence in the iron genny!


Cindy said...

Glad to hear you have landed! Now for a restful, long sleep in your big rocking chair called "Enee".
May your summer WATERS be CLEAR of foul weather :->

Erik said...

Wow that was close! You were almost at sea for the crowning of the next American Idol!!!!!!