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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Thanksgiving Cruise - St Pete Beach Florida

HideAway along the ICW near Tierra Verde Florida
The last impediment on Boca Ciega Bay to the Gulf of Mexico is a bascule bridge designated by a particularly uncreative bureaucrat simply as Structure C. Motor sailing south from this relic from a slower time the HideAways began to have doubts as to the wisdom of anchoring for the night off St Pete Beach in the Gulf of Mexico. Dan and Steve following us in Miandros expressed the confidence sailors have after spending too much time ashore insisting that the easterly wind would keep the Gulf calm close to the beach.

The definition as to what constitutes a calm anchorage depends upon the boat you are sailing. Miandros, a Pearson Wanderer, is about two feet wider, seven feet longer and has more than twice the displacement of HideAway, a Compac 23. Add to equation the HideAway seems to be a magnet for wind that drinks scotch whiskey while howling at the moon all night and you can understand our concern. Noting that Miandros was flying a reefed main did nothing to comfort the HideAways.

Mihandros Reefed  ICW St Pete Beach Fl

For now though, the sky was sunny, the wind was up along with the unusually warm temperature of almost 80.  At Thanksgiving!  To the relief of everyone the usual white knuckle portion of the ICW between Tierra Verde to port and St Pete Beach to starboard was nearly devoid of traffic.  Gybing into Pass-A-Grille Channel revealed one cabin cruiser eastbound on the correct side of the channel well out of harms way.  The waters north of the channel, close to the proposed anchorage, give even the shallow draft sailors the willies. Although a cut is rumored to exist just off the rip rap and pier neither Capt. desired to explore this possibility and held course offshore to the last marker before heading north

HideAway in Pass A Grille Channel
Once north bound HideAway sailed on with a bone in her teeth . . .

(To be continued)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Florida Gunkhole Raft-up - - - Stern To?

Rafted near Indian Key St Petersburg, Florida

There must be somewhere in this big world, a snug little gunkhole as calm as a mirror. The HideAways in contrast, are quite successful at finding bumpy anchorages with 20kn winds especially when rafted next to a larger boat.

Rafting two sailboats of dissimilar weight and lengths is something of an art form. A balance must be maintained between boarding access and preventing the respective standing rigging from an expensive entanglement while keeping in mind the motion of a 5 ton boat is considerably different than a two ton.

Add to the equation, the fact that a Compac 23 does not have a hull liner and that the crew sleeps on the settees conveniently located at the beam. Also located on the beam are a series of fenders deployed to keep the boats apart. These fenders love to sing and squawk all night inspired as they are from the wave action.

A 2 x 4 Separates the Cushions for a Quiet Night

The book “How to Raft Up the Boring Way”,  A double anchor has been set and six fenders positioned to cushion the boats on a calm night.

The addition of a 2 x 4 eliminates direct contact with the opposing boat and guarantees a silent night.

SV HideAway Rafted Stern-To

Always innovators, the Stern-To Raft Up Method was invented when HideAway’s bow line untied itself in the aforementioned 20kn air. The HideAways now have a deficit balance in the Bank of Good Luck after rescue by strong stern cleats with good wraps.

It took all five of us plus a Marine Scientist who happened by in his kayak to pull HideAway’s bow back around in the strong wind. Marine Scientists are good to have around, especially if they bring a kayak. This one stayed for supper, told some fascinating stories of the BP oil spill, and then shoved off into the night with a flash light strapped to his head. (A phone call later verified his successful bay crossing.)

The HideAways had a peaceful night’s sleep dreaming of reefed main and storm jib configurations.

Anchored off St Pete Beach Florida
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