Saturday, May 25, 2013

Business Trip

 My sister Desiree arrived back in Orlando last week. She attends college in New York and has been missing out on all of the sailing fun. Her vacation coincided with my business trip to Key West. I dropped her and my daughter off at the family house in Islamorada and then continued along the Overseas Highway to Mile Marker 0.

I was only in the Keys for about 24 hours, but was able to give Miss Marisol some attention and even get some wind in her sails. Or as my daughter says: "Let her hair down."

We've been getting to know Miss Marisol since March. I've enjoyed watching passengers react to sailing for the first time. Some people love it, others don't. A few could take it or leave it. Tonya (seen above at the helm) has really seemed to enjoy sailing. She wants to go fast, and make the boat "tippy" with our toe rail on the waterline. Our best speed was around 5.4 knots in beautifully calm conditions with winds around 10 knots.The brief cruise ended with a swim at White Marlin Beach. I dove under to check the bottom for barnacle growth. It was interesting. The bottom was fairly clean, but the propeller has some big barnacles. I'll need to pull it off and have it cleaned to get better performance while motoring. This could explain some of the difficulties we experienced while cruising from Port Charlotte to the Keys.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sailing with Gusto

New Top Speed

Saturday morning I coordinated with family to meet up at White Marlin Beach after a cruise in the bay. The kids wanted to ride on Papa Dave's Boat (my dad), and I found myself plowing through light green chop with my wife Mistie.

Miss Marisol was heeling, or leaning, quite a bit due to the steady winds around 20 kts, and the helm was not responding well to the winds. I decided to reef the mainsail, which is to lower it a bit and give the sail less total area. This gave us more control and made for a more efficient sail. We actually increased speed.

Just before we passed under the famous Channel 5 bridge from Florida Bay to the Atlantic Miss Marisol hit 7.4 nautical miles per hour. Amazing! We were flying.

Mistie and I sailed back and forth on the bay side of Lower Matecumbe Key for a couple of hours. She is excited about sailing, and was happy to take control and let me get some sun. 

Later in the afternoon I took more family sailing, including a bunch of kids. Their eyes got so big when I raised the sail and Miss Marisol healed to the side. I don't think they believed me when I told them it was going to get tippy. I let each of the kids take a turn at the wheel and believe their first experiences sailing were positive.

I didnt' get to introduce Alligator Lighthouse to Ms. Marisol. That will have to wait a few weeks.

Finally, at the end of the day while cleaning a boat, my brother saw a manatee in the canal. The heavy winds pushed tons of sea grass into our canal and the manatee was feasting. I jumped into the water and swam nearby, admiring the big old lug. I'm happy to report zero propeller scars on this one's back. Here's hoping it stays that way.