Saturday noon – 16:00 watch

After maintaining 7kts overnight, the wind has settled down and we are only making 3-4kts this afternoon.  Calm seas, slightly cloudy skies, and little to no wind. I don’t see a single whitecap in any direction.  We are hoping for more wind in the near future.

Today was laundry day, we washed some of our clothes by dragging them behind the boat for about 20-30 minutes.  We played a few games of cribbage to pass the time.  A container ship passed about 3 miles from us.  That was all of the excitement for this shift.

Our course today is 324° averaging about 3.5kts.

Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson

After another overnight sail, we arrived art Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.  Wonderful place, I’d love to come back and spend a few days on the hook here.  We spent a couple of hours on the hook, then cast off across the Gulf of Mexico for Texas.

I’m on the 20:00-00:00 shift tonight, I see some thunderstorms off in the distance to the North and some bioluminescence in our wake.  Seas are currently calm and we are making a leisurely ~5kts this evening. Tons of stars out tonight, I’m working on picking out the constellations. I found Pisces, Capricorn, Sagittarius, and Scorpius tonight!

Great food and exemplary service on Stock Island

Hogfish Bar

We made it in to Stock Island, next door to Key West, shortly after daybreak.

On arriving at the dock, we promptly dropped the jib and called Peter at Geslin Sails. He came over within 30 minutes to pick up the sail. 3 hours later he was back with the repaired canvas.

After raising the jib and fueling her, we made our way to the Hogfish Bar. All 4 of us decided on the house speciality, a hogfish sandwich, which was fantastic!

Our next stop was West Marine where we picked up a replacement main outhaul and various other spare parts.

Back on Sun Suite, Captain Tony went up the mast and wrapped the spreaders to prevent another round of damage to the job. We’re didn’t have enough time for laundry, so I guess that we’re going to be prime by the time we arrive in Galveston next week.

The Stock Island Marina was extremely cooperative and helpful while we performed our repairs dockside, I strongly suggest stopping there if you are in the area.

Our destination for the morning is Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortuga’s. Assuming that we get another clear weather forecast in we will be heading out into the Gulf of Mexico on our journey to Galveston. We expect the crossing will take us around 7 days.

Meteor shower

I have the 4-8am morning watch today. We are currently ~10 miles off of Key West, waiting for sunrise before we head in to port for a couple of repairs.

It’s quite nice this morning, I’ve seen at least a dozen meteors so far, they seem to be centered around Capricorn. There’s a small thunderstorm off in the distance that should miss us by a safe distance.

Southbound and down

Norwegian Cruise Line terminal, Port Everglades

We got hit with some heavy weather from the outer bands of tropical storm Elsa so we headed inland and took the protected intracoastal waterway from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. Our captain did not know about the 56′ bridge in Miami. Luckily our mast is 53′ so we cleared that with ease. All of us were quite nervous as we passes under it.

It was after dark when we exited the ditch for the open sea once again. There were multiple cruise ships in Port, and Norwegian Cruise Line has a fantastic terminal that was empty last night.

On our southbound journey we ran across a couple of issues:

  • The main outhaul snapped, we jury rigged it, but need to run a line through the boom to do it right.
  • The lower shroud poked a hole through the jib. We will hand the jib off to the sail maker on Stock Island for what we hope will be a speedy and inexpensive repair.

We plan to pick up some spare parts at West Marine, replace the main outhaul, refuel and top off our tanks while the sail maker works their magic. With any luck, we will be back on our way tomorrow afternoon.

If we can manage a late afternoon departure we should be able to pop in to the Dry Tortuga’s first thing in the morning to explore Fort Jefferson!

Waiting out the storm…

On the dock in Riviera Beach

After Captain Tony joined us in Fort Pierce Friday evening we set forth on our southbound journey.

We had a delightful sail for most of the day Saturday before the wind died just before sunset. Overnight we kept the sails up maintaining record speeds of 0.5-1.5kts in the water. With the Gulf Stream current we had negative speeds over ground on several occasions.

In the morning, we dropped Shelby off at Riviera Beach so that she could catch her flight home.

The storm seems to have weakened a bit, so we are slowly making it way southbound towards the Keys in hopes of siding out into the Gulf of Mexico just after she passes.

Weather

Well it’s summer, to and this is when storms hit this area of the world.

The answer to your question is, YES, we are watching the development of Potential Tropical Storm 5 closely. Still a little too early to make a decision on this today. Will have more information tomorrow.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at5+shtml/025646.shtml?cone#contents

Falcon 9 launch

We caught today’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch, I can now knock a rocket launch off of my bucket list.

After topping off the tanks in Titusville, we headed out to Port Canaveral. Since we were in the narrow Intra Coastal Waterway we spent the day motoring. Everyone got a chance to man the helm today.

Ran into a little issue with the transmission while waiting for a drawbridge on the Canaveral Barge Canal to open. We expect to have someone look at it in the morning. This will probably push us back a half day.

All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go

It’s time to start the next Sail Ripple adventure! This time I’m crewing on a vessel delivery from Titusville, on the east coast of Florida, around the Keys, then across the Gulf of Mexico to Kemah, TX on Galveston Bay. I’m flying out of Houston tomorrow so that my vehicle will be near our intended destination.

Sun Suite is a 1995-ish Beneteau Oceanis 40, she has had a recent survey and the engine has been thoroughly inspected for the trip.


Our tentative itinerary is roughly listed below, the final decision is in the hands of the Captain:

Wednesday, June 30 – Board Sun Suite and cast off the lines.

Head south close (1-2 miles offshore) to the eastern Florida coastline to stay out of the northbound Gulf Stream current.

Friday-Saturday, July 2-3ish – Port call in the Keys (Key Largo, Key West, or Dry Tortugas), top off tanks, and reprovision as needed. Cast off the lines again for the Gulf crossing.

Sail

Sail

Avoid oil rigs

Sail

Thursday-Sunday, July 8-10 – Arrive Waterford Harbor Yacht Club, Kemah, Galveston, Texas.

Yes, we will be sailing 24 hours a day, 1 or 2 people will be on watch at all times. I’m thinking 1 person during the daylight hours, and 2 people in overnight watches.

We will be keeping a close eye on the weather before our departure and during our journey.

I’ll post our satellite tracking link as soon as I receive it.