Charts, candles, weather forcasts, shopping lists, herbal tea, Riverdance Radio on Pandora… Planning a 70 mile voyage on a 500 dollar boat you’ve never seen, much less set foot on, is pretty exciting. Hopefully all the planning takes some of the potential excitement out of the actual voyage …
I am / We are moving the boat this weekend! Think about this for a minute… I am flying to Florida to move a boat that I paid 500 dollars for, and have not yet seen with my own eyes. I have no way to trailer the boat, so I’m going to motor/sail it 70 miles to its new home. Check this out:
If you can’t see the line i drew, just know that we’re taking the boat from Sarasota to Punta Gorda (Punta Gorda is in the extreme north east of Charlotte Harbor – the dock is just on the other side of I-75)
Crazy? I won’t deny it :) But I’ve spent the last month planning. I have checklists and charts. I have VHF radios, cell phones, GPS, and internet access via tethering to my laptop. I’m filing a “float plan”. I’m either staying inside the Intracoastal Waterway, or close to shore on the gulf, depending on the weather. I have lat and long, hailing frequencies, and phone numbers of each drawbridge (there are 10 of them) on the ICW, should I need to stay inside. I have a plot of each anchorage and marina on the way, and which places have gas/repair facilities/transient dockage. I can sail. I can work on motors. I can also call Sea Tow :)
I have a new recoil spring in-hand that I ordered for the old Johnson 7.7 outboard that’s on the boat. We know it runs, and that it needed that new part, but that’s about it. We know the sails are good. We also know that the bottom needs scraping badly. What “badly” means, I don’t know yet.
Here is the marine weather forecast:
.FRIDAY...EAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS INCREASING TO AROUND 15 KNOTS
IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. BAY AND INLAND WATERS A
.FRIDAY NIGHT...EAST WINDS AROUND 15 KNOTS BECOMING NORTHEAST 10
TO 15 KNOTS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. BAY AND INLAND
WATERS A MODERATE CHOP.
.SATURDAY...NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS THEN BECOMING EAST
AROUND 20 KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. BAY AND
INLAND WATERS CHOPPY IN EXPOSED AREAS.
.SATURDAY NIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS AROUND 20 KNOTS DIMINISHING TO
10 TO 15 KNOTS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. BAY AND INLAND
WATERS CHOPPY IN EXPOSED AREAS.
.SUNDAY...NORTHEAST WINDS AROUND 15 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 4 FEET. BAY
AND INLAND WATERS A MODERATE CHOP.
I really hate to Jinx the trip, but… what a PERFECT forecast!! Sure, the wind may be in our face for some of the Charlotte Harbor leg, but we can tack, or motor. Other than that, I can’t think of a better forcast for the maiden voyage of the Montego!
We have built in 3 days for this trip. The first leg is going to be short, and I’ll be by myself – Sharon’s picking me up from the airport and we’re going straight to the boat. We’re going to inventory and then head to West Marine, nearby, to purchase what is needed for safety, etc.. (Anchor? Fenders? We don’t know…). Then we’ll check things out together before she heads home to the kids and I set sail for 3 hours or so. I will probably find a marina to leave the boat at overnight, and call Sharon. They will pick me up, and we’ll spend the night at home. If all is well with the boat and the weather, we’ll all head out to the boat early the next morning, and see how far we get. If we average 5 knots motor/sailing, we have about 14 hours travel time, total. That means 10 to 11 hours between Saturday and Sunday.
But, plans are plans – and adventures tend to change them. The most important thing is that I keep the family – and myself – safe, and every decision made will be based on that. Lucky for me, Sharon already survived the Death Defying beach cat camping trip, and came back for more! This trip, although much farther, should be a walk in the park compared to our last one!