The Adventures of CS33 Borean
2003 - 2004


Instalment 3 - November 20th, 2003 - Key Weird 

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(Occationally, editorial comments from Don of S/V Destiny Calls, host of this web site and southern waters frequenter, will appear in green italic)


Second Installment
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Good day folks

Time to let you know what has happened, and what is ahead. We are currently on a mooring ball in Garrison Bight, just off Key West. As I sit here writing I am listening to the VHF radio…call after to call to the coast guard reporting yet another boat dragging anchor in the harbour. I will get to this later.

We were in Miami for ten days, anchored off the Miami yacht club. This yacht club is similar to the Pointe Claire Yacht Club …it is on the water, friendly, and they have an active junior squadron. Racing is a big part of the sailing life here. During our stay we met up with some Canadians who were training on their Tornado’s for qualifying rounds for the Athens Olympic games. Being in the middle of the fall semester , the kids start their lessons on Friday afternoons, and sail till the sun goes down, and usually have a series of races in their club made Opti small boats on Sundays.

There were a few repairs to do on the boat. The incessant rains in Lauderdale, and the fact that we had not inserted the drain tube on our mast, properly caused water to seep into our cabin floor ,buckling some of the woodwork on the floor. With some drier weather in Miami , we were able to dry the wood out and epoxy the wood back in place. Being on a boat is really like being in your house, there is always something to attend too. Which does not mean that we did not have time to relax. There is a little island called Bay Island, a short dinghy ride away from the Miami Yacht Club ,that became our very own little oasis in the middle of the city. This little stretch of paradise virtually to ourselves. We walked its length, sat on the beach, read and rested.

I did say the weather was drier, but it was no less windy. That is why we were in Miami for so long. This is our second trip through here, and I must say it is probably one of the worst times of the year to be here trying to get from point A to point B. While at anchor the wind was blowing continuously , and one particular afternoon the gusts were so strong that some boats were dragging anchor, with one sailboat running aground on a municipal launch ramp.

Yes, I know we are a sailboat and we should be happy for the wind. Janette said I was getting antsy , and she was right. Listening to the weather radio as if it were a religion I was looking for an opportunity to start heading down through the Keys to our jump off point of Key West. The original plan was to do it in three hops. We have to do it on the outside in Hawk’s channel, as some spots of the intercoastal waterway only has 4 1/2 feet of water , and we need 5 feet.

The meteorologists were calling for a strong front to hit us in a couple of days, and I was not wanting to stay in Miami any longer so I made the decision to leave. The winds were from the east at 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30! So much for the 3 hop plan down the Keys. Pulling up anchor at noon on November 17th,we headed out the Miami cut out to sea. Once we got to the outer marker (which took two hours) we pulled out 3/4 of our genoa sail and headed south. With an east wind, and on a reach, the boat quickly picked up speed, and we were soon doing 6.5 knots. With the auto pilot on, Janette and I sat back and watched Miami slip ever so out of sight….we were glad to be on our way, even if it meant a beam sea and a rough rolly ride. The waves were the predicted 4 feet with the occasional higher ones. It wasn’t a pleasant ride and we would be happy to get out of it. All through the day and evening it was much the same….up…down and being tossed sideways by the bigger waves.

This put a strain on our auto pilot as it tried to keep a steady course. Every now and then when we were hit by a gust, we would get a lift and the boat would head up into it taking us way off course and the alarm would start up on the auto pilot. The best and easiest course of action to take was to hand steer through these till the wind settled back down.

In the middle of the night we realized that with the speed were doing, at times doing over 7 knots,and every now and then hitting 8, it was time to reduce sail. Janette cranked on the winch till we had rolled in most of the sail, leaving only a very small sail area. Even with this we were traveling at 4 1/2 knots, and we still overshot our destination. After a brief discussion we decided to carry on to Key West, we still had time before the front hit us. It took us 23 hours of sailing ( I don’t think we sailed that much all last summer) to go from the Miami outer marker to the Key West outer marker. We were ably assisted by the mooring field manager upon our arrival . He came alongside us to help us tie our lines to the mooring ball. After having had a bite to eat Janette and I went to bed and slept around the clock.

It is now Thursday morning and the front hit us last night. I am glad we made the decision to take a mooring ball. Though we are still rocking and rolling, we don’t have the worry of dragging anchor, and we can go ashore with some peace of mind that our boat will still be here when we get back. I have to go now and shut down the wind generator, we are going into town and all of our batteries are fully charged.

Our next stop…..Cuba



Don:

Over shooting land fall targets. Ironically the last time that happened to Jim was with me in 1998 aboard Destiny Calls.

We were stuck in Provo in the Turks and Caicos, waiting for the weather to settle down so we could sail north to the Bahamas. The wind had howled every single day, 25 - 40 kts churning the seas up to 16 feet.

Finally after ten or so days, David Jones, the Caribbean Weatherman (see
Epilogue) called for better weather and seas just 60 miles north of where we were. So we headed out before sundown into the biggest nastiest seas I had ever seen voluntarily. Within two hours we were surfing off twelve footers. It blew 20 - 25 all night!

David had called the weather exactly. Just past Mayaguana, the seas and winds lessened. But every time we got near a place to stop, we’d traveled too fast and arrived in the dark. So we kept going.

When we were passing Long Island in the middle of the night I figured that I had to slow the boat down or we’d arrive at Channel Rocks in the pitch black. Something most sailors only do once. (Make that former sailors since they are now boat less) So we left out a measly twenty square foot section of jib and arrived at the southern entrance to George Town at first light.

We’d covered the almost 250 miles to Georgetown in under 36 hours. Not bad for a 27 foot boat.


Epilogue

David Jones passed away on Friday, November 7th at Peebles Hospital on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He was a fine fellow who Joni and I had the pleasure of meeting several times over the years, sharing drinks and stories. Our friends in the USVI's and BVI's will miss him more than most will know.

A self taught weatherman and author of "Concise Guide to Caribbean Weather", David ran a morning weather service on SSB that added clarification and another opinion to the daily weather reports geared towards Caribbean area cruisers.

I could go on and on about David. I, Joni, Jim & Janette as well as thousands of Cruisiers want to say "thank you David Jones". The cruising community will miss you.


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to the 2003 - 2004 Borean log list