Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #64 What A Difference A Day Makes

I was bound and determined that I would write nothing more in this log until we had left Lake Worth for the last time. And I especially wanted to begin this installment with a glowing account of bracing sails and breath-taking scenery. Alas, it was not to be. A week and a half after closing our last log we’re still in Lake Worth.

The rigger came as scheduled to repair our rigging failure, but, of course, the one needed part was not in his inventory. It turned out that a turnbuckle toggle under the furling drum had shattered from corrosion and age. That part he had. But the rigger was concerned about the fragile condition of the tang extension which fastens to the deck, and, given our experience with the one failure, we agreed that it needed to be replaced before we had another failure. That was the elusive part. A different rigger returned the next day, but the tang extension turned out to be the wrong size. While the furler eventually went back together—with some minor adjustments—the furler manufacturer (Schaefer) indicated that we should not sail with it in that condition. Back to the drawing board, and another call to the rigger. Yes, he could re-order the part, but it would probably be another week or two until it was received and could be put on.

We sat through a weekend of northerly winds that would have carried us south in record time, all the while fighting off depression over this interminable delay. But today Jim got confirmation that the correct part should be in mid-week, and we’re in the rigger’s schedule for Thursday. There is a glimmer at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

The Doldrums is a windless area in the Pacific, and any hapless boat caught there may drift aimlessly for several weeks. But once said boat drifts out of the Doldrums the wind eventually picks up and the boat—and life—starts to move once more. The same is true for our everyday doldrums. With a date for getting the rigging job done, we’ve made some tentative plans for being on the move—to the Bahamas. With a need to inject some excitement into this so-far lackluster cruising season, we’ve resurrected our Bahamas plans with a moderate adjustment. Rather than attempt to make the lengthy passage to the Exumas, we’re opting for the Abacos. Today we accomplished a few things toward that goal—a propane tank fill, a supply of cash, a few West Marine items, and a well-stocked bar and wine cellar. It felt good to be making preparations.

The best part of the day was meeting some new friends. Bobbi and Warren on Grand Eagle stopped by to introduce themselves after hearing us on the Cruiseheimers Net this morning, and we spent more time with them this afternoon. They also have plans to head for the Abacos, so we hope to see more of them there. Warren lent Jim a saw to finish off the cutting board that has been languishing in the aft cabin, and it worked beautifully. Every now and then things go our way.

We’re back in the marina. The rigger is scheduled to come tomorrow morning to install the correct tang extension on the roller furling. Jim learned from a conversation with Catalina Yachts that this particular tang extension was a custom feature for Sun Yachts Catalinas, and that’s why the one we got last week was too long. So now we’ll have the added expense of having this new piece custom-fabricated. We’ll try not to complain too loudly if we’re finally able to get underway.

Jim got the cutting board sanded and fitted, and it looks lovely. It will provide a little extra counter space when the stove isn’t in use.

Cutting board
Our new stove-top cutting board

Well, Toto, we’re not in Lake Worth any more. Yesterday the rigger came as scheduled, installed the customized tang in good time, and even gave us a more-than-fair invoice for the job. We exited the marina with the expectation of staying one more night in the anchorage, doing some more provisioning, and heading south in a couple of days. However, after listening again to the weather forecast, we heard that the winds were to be stronger today than tomorrow. So we again upped anchor, skipped the provisioning, and headed for the staging anchorage closer to Lake Worth Inlet.

This morning we headed out to make the run to Key Biscayne, and now I can give an account of a bracing sail. And I do mean bracing—as in bracing oneself, whether sitting still or moving. Both winds and seas were higher than NOAA’s prediction (of course), so the conditions were lumpier and less comfortable than we had anticipated. My stomach complained loudly, to the extent of refusing to digest even the granola bar that was my only breakfast. But did I even consider suggesting we return to Lake Worth? Would I ever vote for George Bush?? We were committed to making it at least as far as Ft. Lauderdale. We didn’t particularly want to spend the time it would take to find an anchorage there, but at that point ten hours of sailing seemed unimaginable. I must have finally gotten the sea legs that I left here a year ago, though, because by the time we were passing Ft. Lah-De-Dah I was feeling more like a sailor again.

So tonight we’re anchored in No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne, weary and hungry, but thrilled to be once more cruising.

Aah, we’re back in our kind of anchorage. The weekend has passed and the party-on-ers are gone until next weekend. Nestled in the heart of Cape Florida State Park, No Name Harbor is such a peaceful spot during the week. Today we polished stainless while watching the dolphins cavort in the clear green water around us. The pelicans stayed close to the dolphins, expecting a choice meal to be in the offing, and even a heron wanted to get into the act. As full as the anchorage was over the weekend, the only wildlife was accompanied by salsa music. And to think we once hated Mondays.

No Name Harbor sunset
No Name Harbor sunset

Two more days of polishing stainless and it still isn’t finished. Of course, the polishing has only taken place in between breaks for reading and sunning. Not to mention myriad other maintenance tasks. We want to make sure everything is ship-shape for a Bahamas crossing. Tonight we heard from friends Paul and Gail on Puffin. They are headed this way, so we decided to make the crossing together in a few days.

We’re still in No Name Harbor, but what fun to have Puffin anchored nearby. One of the greatest joys of cruising is the company of fellow cruisers, so we’re really enjoying the socializing. Today we’ve both played musical anchors as we’ve searched for just the right spot to settle in for some predicted stormy weather before a frontal passage. The weekend warriors have made the search a challenge, but we expect to see most of them gone shortly. Said stormy weather has had a significant impact on our cruising plans. Gail and Paul want to be home in Clearwater by mid-April in preparation for some summer vacation plans, so for them time for a Bahamas cruise is entirely too short at the present. We’d like to cruise with them rather than head off for a shortened Bahamas cruise ourselves, so we’ve all decided to spend some quality time in the Florida Keys. We expect to remain here for a few more days until the front moves on, but then we’ll be heading south on the northerly breeze. Making plans based on wind and whimsy puts us in a cruising state of mind.

No Name Harbor weekend
No Name Harbor on a weekend

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

Posted Sunday April 9, 2006

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