The Adventures of CS33 Borean
2003 - 2004


Instalment 7 - January 2nd, 2004

 Miami Florida


to read past instalments, click here to go:
to the Borean log list


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


Seventh Installment
BACK in the USA
(A reminder please do NOT send images by email. Only send TEXT!!!)


Hello from Miami… we are back at the Miami Yacht club, where we will bring in the New Year.

The last time I left you we were still in Havana, Cuba waiting on a weather window to head north. The long term forecast was telling us that Dec 24th…Christmas Eve was going to be the day to go. Janette and I were making the necessary preparations. A couple of days before departure the forecast changed (on paper anyways) The weatherman was calling for a new front with winds from the south east at 10 to 15 knots for Wednesday the 23rd. It wasn’t much of a chore to bump everything up by one day, all we had to do was notify the authorities the night before that we wanted to leave. Janette topped up the water tanks, made some sandwich spread ready.

We said goodbyes to our new friends and settled in for our last night in Cuba. The following morning, I and a fellow boater went to check out at the Dock Master’s office. He was haggling over his bill(which included a tip –propina) which meant that I had to wait for mine to be dealt with, this took about an hour. Having paid the bill, I then went to the customs office to start the clearing out procedure. Once that done we untied and headed for the Guarda dock where we would do our final clearing out and inspection. Fortunately for us most of the people we encountered we had dealt with before (nudge nudge wink wink!). Finally able to go we headed out to the sea bouy at the entrance of the harbour, hoisted our sails and headed for Marathon. The early part of the trip was pleasant, we were doing 5 knots and rolling comfortably in the swells. This lasted for 1 1/2 hours and the wind died down, it was time to turn on the engine. What wind we did have was coming more from the north east and that was pushing us towards Key West. At 17:00 I decided to get a little more easting and changed direction for 3 hours. As the wind picked up in the sails as we were coming about the boat heeled over and one of our diesel containers on deck cut loose. It hit hard on the deck and broke the screw cap off spilling fuel all over the deck. I scrambled forward to save what was left in the can from spilling overboard. For once I was happy that the waves were crashing on deck, it at least cleaned up the mess. I wouldn’t of looked forward to having to do something with a diesel slick on the foredeck.

Once again the wind changed direction….but not the way the weatherman had said. The wind backed to north, which made us beat into it ,this did not look good. As we headed on a course of 43 degrees we pounded into the waves on a starboard tack. This was when I should have listened to that little voice in myh head before we left to put a reef in the mainsail.Never ..never believe the weatherman. We were overpowered , sometimes hitting 9 knots. This went on all through the night, we couldn’t really stand to comfortably in the cockpit, but rather sit on the windward side and prop our feet up on the seat in front of us .

To make matters even more interesting, at 0100 Christmas Eve I was blinded by a huge searchlight off our stern. Knowing what it probably was I just kept on my course and didn,t let it bother me. Before we left Cuba I had heard on the CBC news that they had heightend the security level in the states to Orange, and shortly after we entered international waters we were buzzed by a Coast Guard jet….so I had a pretty good idea that we might be shadowed at some point. I was finally contacted by the coast guard, and they asked us the usual questions….what our names were ,boat name , registry, who owned the boat, what our destination was and what our last port was. I think it was our last port that got them to thinking.

They came back on the radio 15 minutes later to tell us that they were sending a boarding party. Great ….here we are heeled over , doing between 7 and 8 knots and getting the all to frequent lift. The seas were so rough it took the coast guard ship 30 minutes to launch there inflatable boat and crew. I watched them off the stern going from side to side, they were determining which side would be safest for them to board. They came up to our windward side. With us weaving in the waves the coxswain tried to match my speed and bring his boat alongside.

The crew chief assured me it was a rubber boat and would not do any damage to ours. As they tried to get some crew onboard our boat I would get a lift and I would head up closer to the wind and push their boat off of ours, an 11,000 pound boat is no match for a 20 foot inflatable dinghy fitted with a 100 horsepower engine in these winds. I yelled at the crew chief that I would slow down by luffing my sails. I turned the boat with the wind at my stern. It wasn’t easy keeping an eye on the sails and an eye on them.

As one of the crew had his foot on the gunwale and his hands on the life lines, the wind caught the sails and I gibed (bad gibe). The boom swung over hard almost taking out the crew member and striking the radar arch, with my topping lift getting caught on the steaming light. They quickly moved away to reassess their procedure. They approached us again and the crew chief yelled Merry Christmas and have a safe journey to Miami.

Janette and I settled in for the remainder of our journey being constantly tossed about.

As daylight came on us and we were approaching Marathon, which was going to be a rest stop for us, I could see a very dark cloud just to our north east. Since it hadn’t been a pleasant journey …why should it get better now. With my outer marker in sight (2 miles away) I turned the engine on to see if some how we could out run it. No such luck, it was a squall line. Even though the sun had started to come up over the horizon everything went black once again. The rain was coming down so hard and fast that we lost sight of the light we were heading for. Janette and I were soaked to the bone and we now know that we have developed a new leak, from the chainplates. This lasted for 15 to 20 minutes, we had to rely on our instruments to maske sure we were headed in the right direction. We finally got the hook down in Boot Key Harbor at 09:30 Dec 24th. We did nothing that day, rested, had a Christmas dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy, with cranberry sauce.

Christmas Day saw us take a dinghy tour of the harbour and calling family to let them know we were safe and sound. We weighed anchor at 14:30 to head up to Miami, this also being an over night run. The afternoon started off great. We were doing 5 knots on a reach and had some Christmas carols playing on the CD……nothing could be finer. After altering course we had to motor sail as the wind was on the nose.

We are going to hang around for a while, so it could be a while before the next update.
Happy New Year


Don:

What can I say. Less than a month in Cuba can feel like less than a year in other places I guess. A quick visit to the land of Fidel is over.

The amazing thing was their return home on December 24th. Jim called me on his cell as they approached Marathon, to let me know they were close to land and were going into Boot Key Harbor. I was happy to hear that they were safe, but had to wonder how they would be received by America's Officialdom. Everyone I have ever talked to had nothing but trouble clearing into the USA after visiting Cuba.

But Jim seems to have a pair of stainless horseshoes somewhere.

From the next telephone conversation I had with him on January 2nd, they not only cleared in from Marathon, they did it in no time, with no hassle at all.

I am speachless.

The "Cuba Policy" clearly varies all over the map.


to read past instalments, click here to go:

to the 2003 - 2004 Borean log list


E-Mail Jim and Janette

of S/V Borean