Monday, December 5, 2011


Vero Beach, FL 27º39.643N | 80º22.325W

We started today, before sunrise, decidedly in the NO, uh uh category.

You remember that anchor that wouldn't grab no matter what yesterday? All NINE times? Well, I went to raise that same anchor in the dark, just before the sun came up, and guess what?

First of all, this whole place seems to be made of mud. Not the brown, slather-on-your-skin-at-the-spa mud. This was black treacle, sludge, Texas tea, coating the anchor chain like it had been dipped in gross, smelly chocolate. (Could this be why they call it 'Cocoa'?)

So, I was up there with a vacuum pump sprayer, spraying every link of all 100 feet. Then, crunch. It stopped. The damnable anchor was now suck hard in the mud. The windlass just spun, no chain coming in, no anchor coming up.

I let out a little chain, and signaled Chip to power us forward to pull up the anchor shaft, standing it up, so it would release from the mud. One more try and a ridiculous Cocoa-covered anchor came up from the depths.

With the anchor onboard, we got underway, but there was a river of black mud, all over the forward deck and along the side rails. It took at least an hour to get it cleaned up.

Just as I was finishing, the engine dropped RPMs. Uh oh. Fuel problem?

We discussed how best to change the fuel filter, either anchoring or putting up sails, killing the engine and doing it underway. The engine decided for us. It stopped before we had sails up.

At least we were in an open spot along the ICW that was perfect for anchoring, better actually, than Cocoa. And as a bonus, I could give that anchor chain -- and the anchor locker a good cleaning.

So, while I was getting rid of black sludge, Chip was de-sludging the Raycor filter. Also in the bonus round, he discovered that the external fuel pump is working (we thought it wasn't).

He had us back in operation in 20 minutes. I, on the other hand, took another 20 to slowly raise that chain, washing it as I went.

Just as I had the anchor above water, the windlass started slipping. It's been so long since that happened, it took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't the windlass failing; it was the clutch slipping (remember the spinning this morning? Clutch loosening.). I dashed below to get the clutch handle, tightened the clutch and, voila. On the road again in under an hour. All systems working perfectly.

We had planned to go from Cocoa, land of the muddy bottom, to Fort Pierce inlet where we intended to head offshore predawn tomorrow.

The pit stop set us back just enough that we couldn't make it that far, so Vero Beach it was. To top off a no, well, maybe no-ish day, we had trouble pulling up to the fuel dock and I scraped my arm on one of shrouds (vertical cables) as I was going forward. Ouch.

Ah well, we got to raft up with Anastasia.

Tomorrow is another day, hopefully a YES day, since we're headed offshore to Palm Beach. Finally, after weeks of bad weather offshore, we have a chance to leave the ICW behind and sail, SAIL, heading southeast with east winds.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh! I hope the rest of your week has been nothing but "yes" days.