Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stuff that's happened lately

Hello everyone!

Its been quite a while since my last blog entry but things have been happening. As I mentioned in the last entry I had moved my boat to Sarasota. She’s docked at Marina Jack’s which is right in the middle of downtown Sarasota and only a short trip to the Gulf.

I’m presently living on my boat “part-time”. The marina rules state that they cannot have full time live aboards and give a definition of what they mean by “live aboard”. Since I work in downtown Sarasota—only a 15 minute walk from the marina—its very convenient for me to stay on the boat. However, since they have a clearly defined rule and I can’t really afford to get kicked out of the marina, I still spend a few nights a week at Jimi’s in Port Charlotte (which is about 50 miles away).

My mother came down for a week stay and during that time we went on a short sail into the gulf. Peter, who had helped me move the boat from Punta Gorda to Sarasota, and his wife Jeanne came along for the ride.

The wind and weather reports had forecast a sunny day with reasonable wind and waves in the Gulf to about 2 foot. When we cast off the wind was a little low and the waters in the Sarasota Bay were a tad choppy. Not bad, really, but I should have taken this as a warning.

We motored south--against the wind--to get to Big Pass. As we entered the 25’ water right before we get to the channel markers at Big Pass we got a look at the Gulf waters. The waves look a tad bigger than 2’. They sort of looked huge.

However, that stretch of water is really, really shallow. In fact, there were birds actually walking on water between us and those waves. The Gulf waves hit that shallow area and crest, making it look much worse than it really is. I kept thinking that all the way up until we made the turn into the channel markers where we finally had real access to the Gulf. The waves were definitely larger than 2 foot… more like 4 foot with a 5 second frequency. Ugh.

Jeanne hadn’t been on a sailboat before, and I knew my mother was very uncomfortable with water, so I decided maybe we should head back. However, the whole crew assured me that they felt ok and wanted to go ahead and try it. It wasn’t a matter of safety with me, I was 100% confident in my boat and knew she could handle way more than this, I was just concerned about the comfort of my crew. Since they wanted to keep going I was game.

The next 15 minutes were pure torture with a dash of adventure. I was correct when I mentioned the behavior of the waves in relation to the water depth. I had miscalculated the affect it would have as we went through it into the relatively calmer waters of the Gulf proper. The boat pounded through the channel and finally into the Gulf. Unfortunately the wave heights were still a little larger than anticipated, but manageable. I went forward to manhandle the sails so we could finally cut the engine. This was the adventure part.

Anyhow, once we got to sailing and shut of the engine it was a very enjoyable sail. There were some green faces when we turned around to head back and boat settled into a corkscrewing motion, but we adjusted course somewhat to alleviate that.

That’s the only time I’ve been out since the move to Sarasota and now.

I’m a little disappointed in myself that I haven’t gone out more. With working full time and a side job that consumes much of my weekend its not as easy to just toss the lines and cut loose for a couple of hours as I thought it would be. However, I have been getting some work done on the boat.

I finally got my furling genoa installed. This was one of my big ticket items and something that I felt had to be done before I head to the oceans. I had some minor work done on the diesel engine which a surveyor had told me was critical (cracks in the exhaust hose). The interior of the boat got a thorough cleaning while my mother was here. I’ve also replaced the dinette table with something that was more comfortable to work on.

My next projects are some work on the mast which needs a windex (a device which shows the direction the wind is coming from) and the anchor lights replaced. I’m also getting the steaming light replaced as it stopped functioning during the trip up from Punta Gorda. The biggest project, and the last “critical” one before I can make passages, is some form of self-steering.

I plan on doing some sailing on the Sarasota Bay this weekend. In fact, I’ll probably be headed out with Jimi and Arrielle as soon as they get back from Arrielle’s bowling league outing.

Until next time!

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