Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Miami Beach, FL 25º47.239N | 80º08.847W

So, after two eventful days, we set the alarm for 2:30 a.m. in Lake Worth to check the conditions for a 12-hour sail to Miami, hoping for favorable winds and calm seas.

All was peaceful under a half moon, so we lifted a very short anchor chain (7 feet of water), raised the mainsail and ghosted out of a blissful inlet at 3:20, strangely enough, behind two other sailboats. They must have been headed for the Bahamas, because we didn't see them again.

An 11-knot southeast wind pushed us along the coast but, after dawn, started dropping off. The north-flowing Gulf Stream is uncomfortably close to shore along this stretch right now, some places less than three miles, so there's not a lot of sea room when you're headed south. If you stay really close to shore, there's a countercurrent. I experimented on my watch, and it would kick in just under a mile offshore.

I know to land people that seems comforting, but to a sailor it's unnerving. Most of the dangers are associated with being near shore, you know, rocks, land, reefs, all bad. With eastern swell and east/southeast wind, it was one reason we opted to anchor for the night rather than wading up the shore in the dark.

By the time we had Miami in sight, the countercurrent had us flying at a whopping 8 knots (motorsailing). Yahoo!!!! There was a huge squall off in the distance, but sunny and near-perfect where we were. This was the day I'd wanted yesterday.

We traversed a strangely empty Government Cut at 2:15, only about 6 hours after we would have come in had we sailed through the night. All told, while the overnight wind would have been nice to have, I was glad instead to roll in on 7 hours of peaceful sleep. We were in the dinghy on our way to South Beach in less than an hour.

It's beginning to feel like a Miami Christmas!!!

1 comment:

  1. wow great i have read many articles about this topic and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work!