SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Sunday, 21 April 2013
FL to CT Day 12
Fernandina Beach, FL to Jekyll Island, GA
We spent the last week in Fernandina Beach for the MTOA Southern Rendezvous and had a great time with our MTOA friends. You just can’t fully describe the experience, but now it’s time to return to reality and continue our trek north.

We departed from Fernandina Beach at 0730 and headed north on the ICW. Forecast for the day was WINDY… NE winds 20-25 knots with gusts 30-35 knots… and the forecast lived up to the actual conditions… VERY WINDY.

There is one inlet that we have to cross that with these winds can be very rough… St. Andrews Sound… coming south last year we had similar conditions and crossing was far from pleasant… so we opted to take an alternate route this trip… Floyd Creek, Satilla River, Dover Creek, Umbrella Creek… it’s marked as a alternate route to the ICW on the charts. Great part is it takes you around St. Andrews Sound in protected waters… bad thing was it was approaching low tide and there is at least one shallow area in Floyd Creek… we arrived to the shallow spot at about an hour before low tide and slowed to an idle… just before the markers A25 and A26 we grounded out… we tried a couple of alternate approaches to the markers but each approach ended in the same result… GROUNDED. So, we backtracked a few hundred yards and dropped the hook to wait for more water at 1130.

At approximately 1345 the tide had turned around and we had almost 1.5 feet more water than when we arrived at 1100…. 2.5 feet above MLW. We pulled the anchor and headed back toward A25 and A26… we approached at idle speed and move very slowly between the two markers… the depth sounder stopped and was flashing 5.0 LAST… meaning the last reading it was able to make was 5 feet and it was now shallower than that. We kept inching forward expecting to ground out again but shortly the depth sounder started displaying readings again… 5.3… 5.4… 5.5… 6.0… we made it past… we continued on with depths from 5.5 to 6.0 till we reached marker A24… then the depth increased dramatically… 12… 18… 25…. 30 feet… all was good at this point.

We continued on out into the Satilla River and then to the NW to Dover Creek… no real shallow water here… think the lowest I saw was 10 feet… we soon reached the Dover Cut which was very narrow… had some shallow water to begin with but the majority of the cut was deep. This cut dumped us into Umbrella Creek… a little shallow as we exited but deep enough to pass. The last section that was concerning me was the Umbrella Cut that took into Jekyll Sound… it was charted at 6 feet… however, when we passed through never saw less than 12 feet.

We headed east across Jekyll sound back toward the ICW… it was a little choppy… 2-4 foot waves and current on our bow… very slow going… the wind had also increased and was blowing steady over 30 knots with gusts as high as 40 knots…. But we did not have far to go… a few more miles to where we would be stopping at Jekyll Island.

We approached the dock and decided to dock with current on our stern and the winds on the bow… we were not having a lot of push from the current even though it was a flood tide… but we had a lot of wind. We were securely docked at approximately 1545 at N31°02.548’, W081°25.389’. We traveled for 8.25 hours covering 33.2 nm our average moving speed was 5.5 knots. I figured the average on “moving” time rather than total time… 2.25 hours waiting for tide in Floyd Creek.

Soon after docking we saw “Serendipity” with Norm and Peter aboard… we helped them with lines as they docked behind us. Our help docking was rewarded with cocktails aboard “Serendipity”… Peter and Norm are very gracious hosts… providing far more than we needed to drink.
Posted at 6:23 PM
Saturday, 13 April 2013
FL to CT Day 11
Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL
We departed from Jacksonville at approximately 0900 and continued north on the ICW to our destination for the day… Fernandina Beach, FL.

Shortly after departing we were hailed by a fellow MTOA boat… “Sea Flat” with Robert and Jane DeBois aboard… who were also headed to Fernandina Beach and the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We chatted briefly and was then hailed by “Serendipity” with Norm Briggs and Peter Behr aboard… we had left New Smyrna Beach the same day they had… slightly behind them but had almost caught up to them… they too were heading to the MTOA Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach.

We had a yo-yo of current today… initially pushing us 8 knots plus and slowing us to 5.7 knots in places. However, the weather was nice… sunny and the winds had diminished… a very nice day and also a very short one. We had to travel a real short distance going only 20 nautical miles.

We arrived to the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina at approximately 1145… “Serendipity” was just ahead us and we had to hold off till they were securely docked and then we pulled into the marina directly behind them on the far southern end of the face dock. This will make for some long walks to shore.

Our location... N30°40.164’, W081°28.028’. We traveled for 3 hours covering 19.4 nm averaging 6.5 knots.

We will spend the next week here in Fernandina Beach for the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We plan to depart and continue our trek north on April 21st.
Posted at 2:19 PM
Friday, 12 April 2013
FL to CT Day 10
St. Augustine, FL to Jacksonville, FL
Had a very windy night on the mooring ball in St. Augustine… SE winds steady over 20 knots with gusts to 30 knots… made the dinghy ride to shore for Beecha a bit wet. The mooring ball held strong all night… it did calm down a bit a few times in the early hours of the morning but for the most part was really whipping up… 2 foot waves in the mooring field.

We had hoped to get to Fernandina today but calling them yesterday we were informed that they were full up and no space for us until Sunday when we had reservations… maybe Saturday but unlikely… they did not even have a mooring ball available. With the winds like they were last night and same forecast for tonight we did not want to be on the hook. We decided to try a new location… the Jacksonville City Docks on Sisters Creek… publications state they are FREE for 72 hours… so, we can hang out here until Sunday morning and then shoot up to Fernandina Beach… only takes a couple hours to get there from here… maybe 3 hours at most depending on current.

We left St. Augustine at approximately 0930… this was about 45 minutes before high tide… we did have current against for a few minutes as we approached the inlet but once we made the turn to port heading north up the ICW we got an instant boost of speed… well not instant… nothing is instant with “Sails”. Soon we were going over 8 knots and several times during the day we hit over 9 knots… 9.5 was the fastest I noticed… but we were never under 7 knots unless slowing down intentionally for small boats or no wake zones.

Very little boat traffic today… couple of small fishing boats and one sport fish passed us… other than that we were alone.

We finally lost our boost from the current when we reached the St. Johns River… then we had the current on our bow against us… but we only had just over a mile to go before we would be stopping for the day at the Jacksonville City Docks.

We passed under the Sisters Creek Bridge and another 1/8 of mile and we turned to port to find the docks… very very nice concrete floating docks right located right on a park. We will mark this spot down for future trips.

Our location for the evening…. N30°23.893’, W081°27.504’. We traveled for 4.5 hours covering 34.1 nm averaging 7.6 knots.
Posted at 2:34 PM
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