Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #63 Languishing In Paradise

The watermaker is finally working once more! We waited all week for the parts to come in and for the tech to come to install them, but at last the wait is over. Of course, the favorable outcome came with a hefty price tag, but what’s a few more boat bucks in Paradise? At least we can now move on our own schedule.

Well, almost our own schedule. We now have to account for God’s schedule. The winds for the last week have been out of the south—just the direction we want to go. And they’re not expected to shift till the middle of next week. We’ve looked into going further down the inside on the ICW, but there are 20 bridges between here and Ft. Lauderdale (most of them timed) with a view of one mega-mansion after another. What a nightmare! We have to go outside anyway from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, because of one 56’ bridge just north of Miami. We think whoever built that bridge must have been dyslexic, since all the other high-rises on the ICW are 65’. Anyway, we’d much rather make an outside run from here to Key Biscayne south of Miami, and find out if Caloosa Spirit still knows how to sail. So we’ll wait a little longer for favorable winds.

At a local home store we found a cutting board that will look and fit nicely on top of our stove, giving us a little more counter space when the stove isn’t in use. In order for it to fit exactly, however, Jim has to cut off about an inch from each side. He has a saber saw on board, so we thought that would be no problem. What we found though is that the wood in this particular cutting board must be the strongest wood that God ever grew! Jim’s saber saw blades eventually just gave up after one crooked pass on each side. So now the cutting board is sitting in the aft cabin, where all unfinished projects wait for the day when they eventually see completion. It’s all just a matter of time.

The wind was somewhat favorable today, but we haven’t yet been grocery shopping, and the weather was just too nice today. So we just sat around and read in the sun. I know. It’s a tough, lazy, decadent life, but someone has to live it.

Leisure time
Leisure time

Finally another front is due to come through, so the winds will shift to the north. We’ve made all our preparations to travel, and we plan to head out very early tomorrow morning to make a run down the coast.

So much for travel preparations. Oh, we’re still prepared, all right. But when we got up this morning, the wind was too stiff for comfort, and the forecast suggested that the seas would be even less comfortable. So we just stayed in bed, hoping that the forecast for tomorrow’s improvement will ring true. This afternoon we did weigh anchor in order to get the gook cleaned off, and then moved about five miles closer to the Lake Worth inlet. This anchorage is even less interesting than the one we just left, but spending the night here will shave an hour off the day tomorrow. We’re definitely ready to be on the move. Incidentally, when we passed by the inlet I was able to look outside with binoculars. When I saw the HUGE seas just outside the pass, I was more than happy that we hadn’t taken them on. The seas are predicted to diminish considerably overnight.

Lake Worth seems to have us on a long tether—or bungy cord—so we’re staying for another week. Ah, the high-rise condos blocking the sunset, the brown water clogging the watermaker filters, the weekend warriors whizzing by—the ambience is just so captivating. As in holding us captive, that is.

We did actually leave a few days ago. It was a close-to-perfect sailing day—an easterly at 10-15, seas only 2-4, and bright sunshine. We were making great time toward Ft. Lauderdale—or Key Biscayne if our speed of 7 knots held—but about two hours out we heard a BANG!, the roller furler and backstay both slackened, and we knew we had another serious problem. Fortunately, nothing came tumbling down from on high! The headsail and its halyard kept the sail and furling gear from falling into the ocean, and the mast stayed upright. Our mast goes through the deck to the top of the keel (keel-stepped as opposed to deck-stepped), so the loss of a single stay isn’t disastrous. Upon inspection through the binoculars after dowsing both sails, it appeared that the forestay was still attached at the top but separated at the furling drum or midway down. Jim then took a spare jib halyard forward to the bow to stabilize the mast. However, it soon became apparent that the rig was too unstable to continue on for another five hours of motoring on the open sea, so a couple of motoring hours later we were back on the hook in Lake Worth. Our intense disappointment was palpable, and, despite the cerulean skies, a slate cloud of frustration hung over Caloosa Spirit. The concept of cruising was becoming as ethereal and elusive as a mermaid, and our optimism about this lifestyle was sinking lower than Bush’s approval rating. Jim called a local rigging service, but no call-back response ensued. The rest of the day passed with agonizing sluggishness.

The next day Jim tried the rigging service again, and again got no return call after leaving another message with the receptionist. Serendipitously, after calling the Palm Beach Town Dock about pump-out service, Jim got a referral to a different rigging service in Stuart. The thought of returning to Stuart made us both ill, but when Jim called, the rigger at Mack Sails was highly responsive and gave us a date for service the following Thursday, less than a week away. The best part was that he was willing to come to North Palm Beach, rather than our having to trek back to Stuart. By the way, the other rigging company has yet to call us back.

Lake Worth anchorage
Lake Worth anchorage

Our Bahamas plans may have begun to evaporate with this latest delay. At the rate we’re going we won’t make it there much before April 1, and we don’t think we want to be there much past June 1—the official start of hurricane season. We’re starting to think we’d rather spend the next two months leisurely in the Keys. We’ll see what transpires with the rigging repair in terms of time and money. At this point having a scheduled date for service makes waiting tolerable at least, and the weather has continued to be warm and comforting.

For all those out there who are wondering how we continue to cope with the frustrating break-downs and repairs, let me just say that we still believe there’s a better day ahead. This is the season of Lent, after all.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

Posted Sunday March 19, 2006

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  1. must better than any working stiff… so just enjoy..!!if you can drop us a line…
    — Xuyen & Susan    03/23/2006 03:08 PM    #
  2. I assume you plan to replace all the standing rigging. If one went the others can’t be far behind. We’re planning to launch on Apr. 28th assuming the weather holds. Take care.
    — Mark Winzenread    04/05/2006 01:34 PM    #
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