Two Brave Fins, Jukka and Paul, joined us for the wet and miserable sail from Lake Worth to Miami.
Jukka is a constant traveller, born in Finland, citizen of Finland and Canada and US permanent resident. Jukka had been dreaming about cruising on a sailboat for 30 years.
Paul is a third generation, 100% Finnish, Yooper (from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). He most recently worked as a electrical troubleshooter for Australian mining giant BHP.
Jukka seem to love every minute of our miserable sail from Lake Worth to Miami, while Paul, I am sure was thinking “Oh lordy, next time Jukka says let’s go sailing with a crazy Australian-Minnesota family I’m gonna make myself invisible quick. Ja, you betcha.”
It was not until after we arrived in Miami Paul confessed in the olden days Fins were not allowed on sailing ships because it was thought they brought bad luck. Now we know who to blame for the miserable conditions!
What the old sailors must not have know is that Fins are brave and good company. We loved having them along!
N25 43.556 W80 14.279
Left Lake Worth at sunset and proceeded about two miles offshore.
We found ourselves in a 2.5 kt north setting current in with a 10kt northerly creatin steep seas. Moved back to within 0.5 miles off shore and plotted a new route, 0.5 to 1 miles offshore staying in 30-80 feet of water. Seas moderated significantly, but rain pesisted for the remainder of the trip.
Motored till midnight as north east seas overwhelmed light northerly winds then sailed on a pleasant beam reach until the wind died. Were well ahead of schedule and nearing the Port of Miami when the wind picked up again so sailed under double reefed main with engine idle until we reached the ship anchorage a around 05:30. Waited for sunrise and the last of the flood untio 07:30 when we passed through Governer’s cut in perfectly calm conditions.
Now on a mooring ball at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
On a cruising sailboat, a good anchor set can make the difference between a sleepless, stressful night and a good nights sleep. Lately we have been having some sleepless nights. If the anchor drags or the worse – fails – the boat could easily drift into another boat, or worse end up on the shore. Needless to say, anchors are one of the most important pieces of equipment on a cruising sailboat.
Up until the 1990′s the available anchors tended to work better on one surface or another. If a sailor planned to travel outside their home range, they usually needed to carry two or three anchors to suit the conditions they expected to encounter. Sea Change II came with a Bruce and CQR on the dual bow rollers and the Delta hung off the stern.
We used the Delta the first time we used the boat when the engine quit and we found ourselves without power in a narrow channel heading straight towards a luxury motor yacht. We dropped it off the stern and it stopped the boat in it’s tracks. The Delta is a good, light weight easy to store anchor but it has the reputation of being more prone to mechanical failure than some of the other anchors.
The CQR was a good anchor on sandy, hard and weedy bottoms of Lake Superior and Lake Huron. However, we have found the CQR hard to set (sometimes it takes two or three tries before it sets). We also have found it less than reliable in situations where the wind or tide reverses during the night. In these cases, the anchor needs to pivot up to 180 degrees and then reset itself. For this reason we have only used it occasionally on the US east coast where we are commonly anchored in tidal areas.
Our Bruce anchor excels on the muddy bottoms on which we found ourselves anchored most of the time along the US east coast. We love it. It has held us in 40 knot sustained winds, and through tidal changes in swift currents. It seldom dragged and was always there for us. However, since arriving in South Florida we have found it harder to set and hold. The reason for this is that has a tendency to skip along the harder surfaces on which we now find ourselves anchored.
Both the CQR and Bruce anchors were premium anchors when Sea Change II took her her voyages in the 1990′s. Since then some new all round anchors have been released. These anchors are especially good at setting and resetting themselves. Some include roll bars to prevent the anchor lying on it’s side.
Today we purchased a state-of-the-art Manson Supreme anchor. Our new Manson Supreme has a self righting roll bar and a reputation for fast setting/resetting. We are going to retire our CQR and… if we can get them both to fit snugly… keep both the Manson and the Bruce on the bow. The Bruce works better on soft bottoms than the Manson.
We are hoping for more restful nights!
N26 50.296 W80 3.323
Last day on the ICW. Left the anchorage around 9am and rode the tide to the St Lucie inlet. Our luck seemed to stay with us most of the day, catching all bridges on time for opening. Enjoyed the company of Canadian boat “Kind of Magic”.
Towards the end of the day the engine ran irregularly and we stalled right before the last bridge. Managed to nurse the boat into the anchorage where we replaced the primary fuel filter on arrival. Also took the opportunity to clean the raw water filter and tighten the packing nut.
Now anchored in North Lake Worth in Palm Beach, FL. We hope to meet our friend Jukka in Saturday then sail to Fort Lauterdale on Sunday.
As we travel south the marinas and mooring fields carer more and more to cruising sailors. At the beginning of our trip in Lake Superior, cruising sailors were far and few between so marinas and towns, with few exceptions, were not setup to cater to them.
Three of our last destinations, Melbourne, Titusville and Vero Beach are destinations in their own right. Good protection, staff that caters to most of the needs of cruising sailors, great showers, club room, laundry, grocery stores in walking distance and/or free shuttle buses. They are very comfortable.
Perhaps a little too comfortable for my taste. But they meet the needs of the typical cruiser – a 50+ couple wanting a comfortable, hassle free cruise down the east coast of the USA to Florida to the Bahamas. They are full of lots of nice, happy, greying people living their dream.
Tonight we are at anchor again in a strong northerly. We put out an anchor on heavy chain, set it and hope it holds. The Garmin GPSmap 740s anchor alarm is turned on to warn us of dragging, but I am still up during the night visually checking our position. It is work and worry but our trip feels a bit more like an adventure again.
The floating retirement villages are nice, and maybe we will end up in one, but we are not ready for one just yet!
N27 15.023 W80 13.321
Left Vero Beach at 11:30am in a blustery westerly and travelled down the ICW to Jensen Beach. Made a lot of leaway and needed to be careful to keep in the channel between markers. Pass by Fort Pierce inlet without incident. The shoal in the channel north of the inlet did not show on our depth sounder. Anchored on the southwest side on the Jensen Beach bridge in about 7′ of water. There are two liveaboards here and half a dozen cruising sailboats. Looks like it is east to take the dinghy ashore to a park, but given the conditions are probably going to stay on the boat. The wind has started to move to the northwest as forceast, blowing about 20kts. The anchorage provides less wind protection than I expected but there is good protection from waves.
N29 53.73324 W81 18.69293
Left Melbourne, FL about 8am and sailed down the Indian River until the channel narrowed again. Made Vero Beach around 2pm. Vero Beach is another sailing hotspot, hosting Thanksgiving potluck every year. Excellent facilities for sailors transiting south. It is so busy at this time of the year there are two to three boats per mooring. (Sailors lingo for this is “rafting”.)
Forecast is for another cold front to come through tonight so we will stay here for a few days. Good place for me to get caught up on work and for us to pick up our mail.
N28 5.38926 W80 34.6833
Cold fronts are coming fast and furious down the east coast of Florida so we are stuck on the ICW again.
Left Titusville around 9am.
Luckily the ICW opens up at Titusville and there was plenty of room to sail on a close reach down to Melbourne, FL in 15kts. Sea Change loves any kind of reach.
Just a quick note to let you know we are now in Daytona Beach, FL. Leaving for Titusville this morning.