SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013
FL to CT Day 7
Vero Beach, FL to Cocoa, FL
We took our time getting ready to leave this morning… “Sanctuary” was leaving from Fort Pierce 2 hours behind us and we were planning on meeting at Cocoa, FL for the night… so a little later start would allow them to catch up and maybe cruise with us.

The forecast was partly sunny skies and ESE winds under 10-15 knots… it was a little choppy but nothing that really had any effect. Watched boat and boat leave from Vero Beach as we took our time getting ready… watched TowBoatUS come in and tow away a sailboat adjacent to us… took Beecha to land in the dinghy and we went for a nice long walk… returned to “Sails”… lifted the dinghy back to the top of boat and we were ready to get underway. Susan graciously volunteered to handle the mooring ball lines and at approximately 0830 we were headed out of the harbor and back into the ICW.

I received a text from “Sanctuary” as we entered the ICW informing me that their ETA to Vero Beach was 0845-0900 so our late departure worked out as intended. I ran a slower than normal to allow for them to catch up… once I could see them I came back to cruising RPM and we were able to cruise relatively close to each other all day.

We planned to go to the Cocoa City Docks but they are small… maybe room for 2-3 boats depending on length of the boats… late afternoon as we approached I could see that the docks were empty… not a single boat so we would have no problem with space. I docked as far forward as I could on the east end of the dock… there was a gentlemen there fishing and he became a little upset when he saw us docking… thinking we were going to dock directly in front of him… I yelled and assured him we would not block his fishing area… he was happy after that. “Sanctuary” docked on the far west end of the dock where the dock is lower and allows easier egress on and off the boat. That left approximately 50-55 feet of space between us.

Once we were both settled I noticed another boat sitting off the dock eyeing the space between “Sails” and “Sanctuary”… and he appeared to 42-45 feet in length. I signaled to him to bring his boat in and we would assist him getting docked. It went surprisingly well from the thoughts I was having about it crashing into the stern of us or crashing into “Sanctuary”… he slipped right in… gentleman on the bow tossed me a line… I wrapped it around a piling and ran it back as a spring to a cleat mid ship… this stopped him from sliding backwards from the wind and also stopped his forward momentum.

Our location for the evening…. N28°21.297’, W080°43.324’. We traveled for 7 hours covering 47.12 nm averaging 6.73 knots.

Tonight we would have dinner at Ryan’s Village Pizza… one of my favorite places to eat as we travel north.
Posted at 4:18 PM
Monday, 8 April 2013
FL to CT Day 6
Stuart, FL to Vero Beach, FL
We departed from Stuart, FL at approximately 0745… “Sanctuary” left with us and we headed slowly out to the channel… it was pretty shallow so it was slow going. Once in the channel we were able to come back to cruising RPM… however, we were pushing against a flood tide and 6 knots was about all we could do against the current.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and this made up for fighting the current and also knowing that in a few miles we would reach the ICW and we would have a boost of speed with the current pushing us.

Exiting the St. Lucie River into the ICW is always interesting. This area shoals badly and the shoals shift around. The Coast Guard does try to keep the channel marked with cans and nuns but you never know for sure what you are going to find. This trip was not too bad… saw some 6 foot readings… mostly 7 foot readings and then it drops off to 12 feet plus as you enter the ICW. As we made the turn north up the ICW the current as expected was on our stern and was soon pushing us over 8 knots… very nice when this happens.

“Sanctuary” was following us and was going to Fort Pierce to meet friends. We planned to anchor in the Fort Pierce area but when we arrived it was 1130… again way too early to stop for the day… we opted to continue on a couple more hours and go to Vero Beach.

One bridge to open just past the Fort Pierce Inlet… Fort Pierce North Bridge… a sailboat had hailed the bridge for an opening just as we were approaching and we did not even have to slow down… straight through the bridge no delay.

Two hours later we were in Vero Beach. We had contacted the Vero Beach Municipal Marina and reserved a mooring ball for the night. At approximately 1330 we were secure to mooring ball #11 for the night. Our location for the evening…. N27°39.350’, W080°22.231’. We traveled for 5.75 hours covering 37.4 nm averaging 6.5 knots.

Shortly after mooring a dinghy approached us and it was Elaine and Bud Lloyd from “Diamond Girl”. They are good friends and fellow MTOA members. We later dinghy’d over to their boat and joined them for cocktail hour.
Posted at 11:20 PM
Sunday, 7 April 2013
FL to CT Day 5
Moore Haven, FL to Stuart, FL
We departed from the Riverhouse Marina, Moore Haven, FL at approximately 0900. As I looked behind us I could see a trawler approaching… it looked like it might have been our friends Peg and Jim Healy… sure enough, I was hailed on the VHF and it was Jim aboard “Sanctuary”… a 36’ Monk… they were just a quarter mile away. We exchanged some chat on the VHF and headed together toward the Moore Haven Lock.

We had to wait only a few minutes at the lock and were given the green light to enter the lock chamber. 14 minutes later we had risen 3.5 feet and were underway. I thought Jim would run a little faster so I told him to take the lead and I would follow.

Weather was nice… forecast was for 6-10 knot winds and a moderate chop on Lake Okeechobee… which we would be crossing today. There was not a lot of boat traffic… few fishermen and a couple of other boats.

We saw maybe three or four alligators… thought we would see more but with Jim running ahead of us… they were most likely getting spooked before we got to them.

The lake was surprisingly calm for the forecast… almost glass smooth so the crossing was really very nice and soon we were approaching Port Mayaca Lock… and another surprise… Jim hailed the lock and they told us that they would open the outer gate and we could continue non-stop through the lock chamber. We had done this several years ago but the last few years we had to stop and lock through… never seemed like much of a change in water level but we still had to go through the whole locking process… was really cool to just zip right through the lock non-stop.

We had not gone a mile and the wind suddenly started to pick up…. Saw gusts to 24 knots and we had steady 15 knot winds… and these winds stayed with us the rest of the day… we got across the lake just in the nick of time… with those winds the crossing would not of been on glass smooth water.

We had planned to stop at Indian Town Marina which was about an hour past the lock… Jim was going on to St.Lucie Lock or Stuart depending on time. We came to the marina about 1500 and looking in their entrance channel we could see there was plenty of room but we made a last minute decision to continue on... not sure how far but it just seemed to early to stop.

Jim was just ahead of us maybe a 1/2 mile and passed through the Indian Town Railroad Bridge… just after he passed the RR bridge started to swing closed… it’s very rare to see this bridge closed… but today I guess we were lucky to be there just at the right time… I hailed the bridge but received no response… that is until we were sitting at the bridge and the bridge tender hailed us and said… “I should of hailed him and let him know I was coming… he would of held it open for us… now you’ll have to wait 15 minutes for the train to pass…” I just acknowledged him and did not pursue that I had tried to hail him… it would of accomplished nothing… so we sat for maybe 10 minutes and the train passed and the bridge was swinging open for us to continue on our way.

We decided at this point to go the St. Lucie Lock and anchor just before the lock across from the small park / campground that is adjacent to the lock. At this point “Sanctuary” was from my estimation was about 3 miles ahead of us… I heard him hail the St. Lucie Lock about locking through. We talked on the VHF and I told him we were planning to anchor just before the lock.

We reached the lock and Susan was not thrilled about the anchorage location nor the park… we again made a last minute decision and opted to continue on to Stuart for the night. I hailed the St. Lucie Lock and told him we were waiting for eastbound… he responded with he had an eastbound boat in the chamber now and no westbound traffic waiting so we would be next… wait for the green light.

When the boat exited the lock it was “Sanctuary”… I thought they had locked through already… they hailed us and asked where we were going… I told them Stuart… he acknowledged and said they would be watching for us.

Soon the lock was open and ready for us to enter the chamber… there was one other boat waiting and we locked through together… 14 foot drop… went by fairly fast for such a large drop in water level…. 47 minutes after arriving we were once again underway heading toward Stuart.

I called Jim aboard “Sanctuary” on the phone and asked where they were… they had anchored just a few minutes ahead of us… I told him we were heading toward the Stuart City Docks… he said he would look for us to pass and follow us there… there was some concern that the anchorage area he was in was not big enough for both of us so the dock sounded good.

We passed Jim and he fell in behind us and we proceeded toward Stuart… we traveled another 30 minutes or so and we came to the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart. I hailed the bridge and the bridge tender was one of the most pleasant bridge tenders we had ever experienced… she was delightfully nice.

Just past the bridge we turned to starboard and headed into the Stuart City Docks… I docked first and “Sanctuary” pulled in ahead of us. We were secured at the docks at approximately 1935. Our location for the evening…. N27°12.137’, W080°15.217’. We traveled for 7.58 hours covering 62.2 nm. I figured our average moving speed was 6.5 knots. I removed just over an hour of time that we sat waiting for or in the locks.
Posted at 10:07 PM
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