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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)