Friday, January 22, 2016

Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. Day Four, Holed Up in a Harbor

Well, the rain day is here. We ended up moving Arielle (Temp Name) to a different location. We are having a hard time figuring out how much rode (Anchor Line, Damn sailing terms) we let out. When the rain and winds started we were swinging way close to a sea wall and I really wasn't comfortable with this knowing that we had 25+ knot winds coming. So we relocated into the harbor 30 yards then just held down the fort. It literally pure all day like someone up above had their water break. It wasn't fun. Around 5PM it started to let up and I was able to catch a rather cool picture of Miami under weather siege.

The waved died down and the winds stopped, it was almost eerie. Especially knowing what was coming tonight and tomorrow.

We learned a few things again. Sailboats leak. I have more maintenance to do. A couple windows need some maintenance on the seals. No big deal but certainly supports the "boats are a hole in the ocean where all your money goes" theory. 

Oh, we haven't talked about dinghy issues. Good god, people are annoying. If you own a dinghy, you are satan, I have figured that one out. But that is probably another story. For now I am tired, I need some sleep and I see tomorrow possibly being a very long day. Good news? Sunday is looking like an awesome sail day! 

Night all! 

Yo Ho Yo Ho a Sailors life for me, Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. Day Two, First Sail!

Weather, it can be such a bitch. We knew there was a front coming and that it might mess with our plans. But we didn't know it was going to span from Toronto to Cuba. Now that is a storm. 
Winter Storm Jonas in January 2016

If we set out for Key Largo from Biscayne bay we would maybe have a chance to make it, However, we have no guaranteed safe Harbor and not knowing the area, this is a Risk. Top that off with if we fail to Make Key Largo, we have Friday to sail the rest of the way. Surveying our options we decided that it was best not to make a run to Key Largo, Risk not finding a solid Anchorage and Wind up holing up in some corner harbor hoping we could Hold. The forecast is for Friday the 22nd to have strong winds, Rain and thundershowers. Winds would be out of the south and we would be fighting 8' seas, head winds and the Gulf Stream while trying to make sail all the way to Key largo.  If something went wrong in the plan we would face a full force gail with predicted seas of 12-18 feet, steady 30-40 knot winds, and up to 50 knot gusts. I think we will stay put in our little corner.
Grib Chart for Saturday January 23rd 2016

But for now, lets not make it a loss, Lets get that first sail in and shake out the sheets! Thursday we had 13-17 knot winds out of the east, A perfect sail day to give the sails a test, or should I say, Test the Sailors. Heading out of Port of Miami up Fishers channel we anticipated the journey ahead. If you have ever taken a cruise out of Miami this channel is the same one you would take in the Cruise Ship.  In the channel, the waves were pretty harsh.
Leaving Port of Miami up Fisher Channel

I was motoring at about 6 knots and heading straight into the wind and waves. Several times we put the bow under the sea and into neptune world. Heading out the Ladies decided to go under and do a few things, that.... might have been their undoing. As we were rocking and rolling and having a good old time bashing through the waves, they started to turn a little green. Coming up on deck, I don't think they ever fully recovered until we were motoring back in to port. But enough of that, We put sails up!

After what seemed like the longest motoring up a channel, we turned the bow into the wind and started to unfurl the main when we realized all the running rigging was stuffed into shopping backs for stowage. Noe, we had not even prepared. We didn't review the lines, what was what and I call that  a Captains mistake because I should have reviewed with the crew. Well, We live and learn. After a few false starts and some experimentation, we had the main up and took in one reef. (Refine is shortening the sail in strong winds) We didn't have to but we wanted to take time and learn.
Miami from a mile or so out to sea

What did we learn. First is that a Furling main doesn't fit into a track along the Foot (bottom edge) and that it acts more like a Jib that a standard Battened Main Sail.  Next we learned the we need to keep tension on the inhale line while we are out hauling the Sail. The in-haul line is used to pull in the sail, the outhaul, to pull it out, Not keeping tension on both seems to bunch up the sail. Good to know.

OK, now we have a sail up and it is flapping like mad and literally has no shape. As I surveyed the sail I realized the Clew was not pulled tight to the boom. The Clew, if you remember from an earlier post, is the bottom corner of the sail where the outhaul line attaches.

To pull in the Clew and tighten the leach of the sail, we locked down the in-haul line and started cranking down the outhaul line. This worked magic and the clue was now pulled in tight and the leach was looking better. However we still had way to much shape to the sail and it was rubbing on the Shroud and Spreader so we then used the wench and pulled down the Boom Vang and wallah, a perfect sail shape.  

Having the sail set I turned her north on a starboard beam reach (Wind coming over the beam from the right side) and off we went. A few minor adjustments to the main sheet angle, we set it at about 45 degrees) we sailed several miles north. By now the girls were looking a little more green, recovery was;t going to happen in rough seas and we were getting hit by intermittent 4-5 foot swells. Not a miserable hight but for someone not feeling well, that is probably no fun. So we came about in what I would call a remarkably smooth transition and sailed back into port. I call the day a success! Nothing Broken, many lessons learned and and we had fun. One important lesson, when the sea is a rocking' Stay above deck. 

Captain Scooter, I got the helm!

May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yo Ho Yo Ho a Sailors life for me, Drink up me 'earties, yo ho. Day One, The Move!

So I am a little behind on posts. Life, well it has been incredibly busy. Yes, We bought a boat, Yes I will backfill posts that should have been made.

Today we made our first sail in our boat. What is she you ask, She is a 2006 43' Beneteau 423. We searched long and hard and this is the one. But more on that later. Today, We sailed!.

Day One: January 20th 2016
The plan, as it be, went south as so many sailing plans do, we just can't control the weather.  We were to make sail on January 20th leaving Pompano Beach FL and head south to Belles Island in Biscayne Bay, a hearty sail of about 45 nautical miles. Well, if winds cooperated, we could make the sale but they did not and since this was a must make point, we cruised the intercostal almost without event. I say almost because the first thing we needed to do was turn a 43' sailboat, with a rudder and keel, 180 degrees in a 60' wide canal. How did I do you ask, Very well thank you, I executed a perfect standing turn in these tight quarters and all went well until a line fell in the water and I didn't see it slip under the boat. I turned right over the line and we fouled the prop. Thanks to some handy breath hold diving by Sam, my friend, We we able to free up the line and only lost 30 minutes or so. Other than that, and the oversight of reading the bridges, It was a good day.

One Pucker filled moment was as we approached the I-195 Bridge over Biscayne Bay. All fixed bridges on the Intercostal Waterway are 65' except for one and that one is somewhere between 54' - 56' but different sources quote different heights and nights after all ar mean high tide so at low tide, you get some extra room. Well, Arielle, We will call her Arielle for now, is 54'4" tall, this might be a problem.  Also almost all bridges have guesses telling you what the hight is based on the tide. They are simple little signs that give you a level of comfort, This bridge didn't have one. So I had my first real Captain decision to make, Motor under very slow ready to reverse at the first sign of fail, or turn back and loose the day. I decided I was going for it. As I crept forward inch by inch, the winds started blowing and I needed throttle to keep control. Just then three workers on the bridge collard at us and said we had it by about 8 inches. They had the angle and could see we were clear. Now I will tell you, Looking straight up at a mast that is 54'4" at a bridge that is 55' tall, 8" is almost impossible to judge but my little worker angels made the day and we ended day one in Biscayne bay. Then we settled in to read the weather and chart the next day. Ugg!

Bridge Height Guage

So the day was a success, the ship survived her Captain and Crew and we all lived another day to tell tails. And the universe gave us a nice farewell to the day with a spectacular sunset.

May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.