SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Friday, 8 April 2011
Franklin Lock to Moorehaven (Florida to Rhode Island - Day 2
We made it back to boat from our meeting and were underway at 1425 hours. We had 3 bridges and 1 lock to pass today... Alva Bridge, Fort Denaud Swing Bridge, Labelle Bridge and the Ortona Locks... no problem at the first two bridges but we arrived at the Labelle Bridge at 1650 hours… right in the middle of the period that it is closed for opening… 1600 to 1800 hours… the bridge clearance boards were reading 24’… which was the lowest clearance at the left and right side of the bridge opening… making the clearance at the center either 27’ or 28’ due to the arch in the bridge spans… our mast has a lightning rod on it and is approximately 28’ off the water… lowered the VHF antennas and inched forward to see if we could slip under… NOPE! We were about 2-3 inches higher… so, we did not want to wait for over an hour for the bridge to open at 1800… so down to the engine room and grab some wrenches to unbolt the mask and lower it… this would drop our air draft down to 21’ and we could clear the bridge easily… 10 minutes later we under the bridge and heading towards the Ortona Lock.

We arrived at the Ortona lock at 1753 hours and did not have to wait to enter… green light as we approached… at this lock we were lifted approximately 8’ higher… at 1807 we departed from the lock and were bound for Moorehaven.

We arrived at Moorehaven at 2000 hours and docked at the Riverhouse Marina (N26°49.842’, W081°05.462’).
Posted at 8:52 PM

DELAYED (Florida to Rhode Island - Day 2)
Today we have an appointment we have to attend in Fort Myers at 1330 hours and will not be leaving the Franklin Lock docks until after this meeting. Jack Lohman a dear friend is going to pick us up at the locks with his car and take us to Fort Myers for the meeting and then bring us back afterwards. Hopefully, we will be back to SAILS by 1430 hours and get underway. We plan to make it to Moorehaven and spend the evening at the River House Marina.
Posted at 11:05 AM
Thursday, 7 April 2011
Punta Gorda to Fort Myers (Florida to Rhode Island - Day 1)
We started the first day of out trek north for the summer. Our final destination will be Block Island, Rhode Island where we will spend the summer months anchored in the Great Salt Pond. The trip will take about a month. We do have one layover planned in Stuart, Florida where we will be attending the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We will be docked for a week in Stuart at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Resort Marina for the MTOA Rendezvous.

On the way to Stuart we will be crossing Lake Okeechobee which at this time the water level is really low… end locks opening on restricted schedules… every 2 hours on the odd hour… anyway, we needed fuel for the trip but because the lake level is low we only wanted tp take on a few hundred gallons to minimize our draft requirements… we draft 4’-8” but will full tanks it’s more like 5’ draft… at the current lake level the route 1 navigable depth is 5.53’… going to be slow going in a few places where this 5.53’ depth will be… luckily there are only a couple of spots to watch out for… ?

We departed from Fishermen’s Village Marina in Punta Gorda Florida at 0800 hours and headed south… We had to rendezvous with one of the Reliable TowBoatUS boats at Pelican Bay to hand off my paperwork form the last few days towing. Then we started the search for the best price on diesel fuel… the price at Fishermen’s when we left was $4.19 per gallon… we found lower prices in Fort Myers at several locations… just under $4.00 per gallon… best price we found was at Jack’s Marine South… they quoted us $3.70 per gallon and with BoatUS discount $3.40 per gallon… so that was where we decided to get fuel… one problem… they closed at 1700 hours and we would have a hard time making it to them before 1700… they said to call when we got closer and if it was only a few minutes after 1700 they would wait for us… so we picked up the speed a notch and crossed our fingers we would make it in time… ?

The other issue this placed before us was that Jacks was about 10-15 minutes from Franklin Locks which was only opening every two ours on the odd hours… so they would be opening at 1700 and not again till 1900… we could not make the 1700 opening so we would have to wait until the 1900 opening… it would take a several minutes to take on the fuel but not anywhere near the hour and a half we would have after fueling.

The tide and currents were in our favor and we made it to Jack’s for fuel at 1650 hours… we did have a small issue in that there was a trawler at their fuel dock that had engine problems and could not move so we had to raft up to them to get fuel… the rafting placed the port fuel tank fill at just over 30 feet off the dock… so getting the fuel hose to reach posed a problem for a few minutes… but after some creative routing of the hose over the trawler we managed to get the fuel hose to reach with maybe six inches extra. Put 150 gallons in the port and switched to the starboard tank and wanted to out 150 gallons in it also… when we hit 147 gallons the pump started spitting and sputtering and managed to squeeze out another couple gallons and that was it… we had drained their tank.

We departed from Jacks at 1730 hours and had 90 minutes to go 1.8 miles to the lock for the 1900 opening… the wind was on our stern so I let SAILS be pushed by the wind towards the lock… used the engines to keep us straight and we spent the next 60-70 minutes “sailing” towards the Franklin Locks… we arrive at the arrival point with about 20 minutes to wait for the opening… we sat and watched the tarpon rolling waiting for a green light to enter the lock.

At 1700 promptly we got the green light and we entered the locks… we were joined by a large catamaran sailboat. The lock raised about 2 feet and we exited at 1717 hours.

We had made a reservation at the Franklin Locks State Park docks for that night and it is located just on the northeast side of the lock…
took us a few minutes and we were docked. At the docks we were met by Peter and Nancy Colket that were also heading across the lake to attend the MTOA rendezvous. It was Nancy’s birthday and they invited us to join them that later that evening for birthday cake… we got settled and ate some left over Chinese food from the day before and we were off to join the Colket’s for birthday cake. We had a very nice evening with Peter and Nancy and did not get back to SAILS until 2200… time for bed!
Posted at 10:16 PM
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