Friday, March 30, 2012


Rodriguez Key, FL 24º03.523N | 80º27.254W

Dropping anchor west of Boot Key.
We left the mooring in Boot Key Harbor yesterday midafternoon to fuel up, fill the water tank, and then anchor off the west end of Boot Key for an easy takeoff this morning. All good.

As we approached the dock at Burdine's Marina, it was clear we were with wind and current. Bad. (Lesson learned on several occasions: Don't do it.) So we opted to turn around. Bad. Actually the decision was good. The spot was bad.

The current funnels right at the marina, and as soon as we were broadside, the wind and current started carrying us right toward this:

Chip did a masterful job of keeping us from hitting anything, even though we tried to hit a lot of things. At one point, our bow inched out just missing that schooner bowsprit.

I was making my way around the deck, ready to fend off anything that came my way, but I never had to push off.

If you look really, really close, like I did, you'll see that the very tip of that bowsprit has a red star on it. From the bow, I gave it a little squeeze -- without even reaching very far. Yep, that close. YIKES.

So, we never did get turned around there. We went all the way down to the end of the channel and came all the way back, pulled up to the dock pretty as you please, against wind and current. Good.

The fuel was expensive. They charged us for water. We took our 'free' ice, but it made the refrigerator unit freak out (still not sure why), so we turned it off for the night and now have an enormous glob of ice in there. Bad juju on that stop.

We anchored mostly uneventfully, although not restfully, and left early. Cara Mia felt like a slow-moving walrus. The engine, what little we used it, was sluggish.

The water was pleasantly smooth with 2-3 foot waves, wind was decent, 14-18 knots, more than predicted (imagine that, she says sarcastically). In this case, a misprediction worked in our favor!

This boat sails much better with minimal heel, so we put a reef in (shortened the mainsail) about midday. It was blowing just short of where we could point, so we had to tack south, backtracking a little, every 5 miles or so. Cara Mia did great. Her crew was tired, fumbling around, tripping, oversteering on tacks (me), never satisfied with sail trim (Chip). Once a jib sheet (rope) caught a boat hook, and I had to stop mid-tack while Chip went forward to retrieve it, jib lines flying all around his head. The dinghy slowly deflated as the day got cooler, loosening the straps and moving about.

It took us just over 11 hours to go 45 nautical miles, slow enough to cause a murderous road rage for some, a slow sail with no engine to us.

Rodriguez Key, home for the night.
We are anchored in Rodriguez Key on clear, placid water. We lowered the dinghy to inflate it, and, while we were at it, have a look at the prop.

No wonder we had such a hard time turning around in wind and current! Chip will be up first light to scrape Boot Key stowaways off the prop for there will certainly be some motoring tomorrow if the wind prediction is right. Ha.

Pre-reefing. Hot dogs anyone?
Our chichi Rodriguez neighborhood. Anchored next to a Trumpey (I think).

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