Vero, Take Three

7

ICW_Florida_SailingJason asked me the other day, “Do you ever think there will be a time when we have an uneventful day sailing and don’t even realize it?” You see, we’ve had some less than stellar starts. Every time we take the boat out, we just wait. Wait for something to go break or breakdown. But, something went very, very differently this time around. We may have only gone 37 miles, but we made it to Vero Beach, FL without any incident! The thought crossed my mind midway through our sail but there was no way I was going to voice my thoughts in fear of jinxing us. Was this finally going to be the day?

Jason_Riley_sailing

{Riley did SO much better this journey. He hardly shook at all! When he did, it was completely random and only lasted about 10 minutes. We’re so happy he’s getting more comfortable on the boat when it is underway.}

Turns out it was! We left our beautiful little anchorage in Eau Gallie, FL around 11:45 am and had a wonderful day sailing/motorsailing on the ICW. Winds were about 10 knots and the sun was shining. It was beautiful. We dropped anchor just southwest of the Wabasa Bridge at 5:45. The channel is quite narrow and twisty so we didn’t want to go through it after dark. We were up before first light yesterday morning and made the last 8 miles in under two hours. Chance is now happily moored up at Vero Beach City Marina. We plan to stay here for about 3 days so we can get the last “need to finish before we cross” projects done so we can finally head to the Bahamas. Wish us luck and fingers cross we have nothing but uneventful sails from here on out (particularly when we cross the scary Gulf Stream)!

Kelley_heeling_sailboat

{Pink windbreaker, pink wheel and pink lines. Our boat is freaking AWESOME. Oh, and I’m getting better at controlling the boat when we’re heeling. So, yeah.}

sandbar_ICW_Florida

{Now that is a serious sandbar smack dab in the middle of the Indian River.}

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hey guys. I thought I would chime in with some unsolicited advice on crossing the Gulf Stream. Even seasoned sailors do not take this passage lightly. With good preparation and a sound plan, the trip can be very enjoyable.

    1. Have a start point in the USA that you are comfortable navigating in the dark hours of early morning. Depending on where you depart the USA, you may have to leave at night to ensure a daylight landing.
    2. NEVER plan to arrive in the Bahamas after dark. There are strong currents, unmarked reefs and shifting sandbars. Do not expect charted channel markers to be there when you arrive. Ensure you have local knowledge of the arrival port before you leave. Most marina’s in the Bahamas are helpful with the entryways and you can always check activecaptain.com
    3. NEVER NEVER NEVER cross the Gulf Stream with any aspect of a North wind. This pits the wind against the Gulf Stream current and huge waves can kick up (20+ feet). You need to take this part very seriously. While you are waiting for a window to cross, wait an extra day for the winds to shift more southerly. The seas will remain rough for about one extra day after the northerly has shifted east or southeast.
    4. Use sources such as Chris Parker, NOAA, and passageweather.com to look for a safe window
    5. Watch out for traffic. This is a very busy part of the ocean.
    6. Be sure to make the course adjustment calculations for the northward current. You heading vs. COG can deviate as much as 25 degrees (depending on the current).
    7. Upon arrival, if you are unsure about the entry. Stop. Radio ahead. Some marina’s while send a boat out to follow in. Most likely you can catch another boat to follow into any channels. Talk to other vessels on the VHF. Everyone there is in the same boat (pun intended). So, they are willing to help when asked.
    8. Try to arrive on a rising tide. However, this is the lowest priority. Weather is the foremost priority.
    On the fun side: Trail a fishing lure as you cross. On the shelves of each coast, the fishing is spectacular. Expect to catch mahi-mahi. Yellow and green lures work best. If you catch the fish on the Bahamas side – claim you caught it in the USA as a fishing permit is required. The water is a beautiful deep blue and very clear.
    This is not intended to rattle you in anyway. People cross the Gulf Stream all the time. It just needs to be respected. This will be a great adventure.

    Mark

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff
    http://www.creampuff.us

    • We’ll take all the advice we can get! Most points of what you said we had already been planning to do. It is the first time that I have heard about the rising tide advice though so thanks!. We’re also planning on crossing with a buddy boat and where we cross over depends on the weather we’re being forecasted. I’m honestly pretty scared about the crossing!

  2. When we first started down the ICW I remember asking the same thing; why did every day have to have a problem or a lot of drama? There were a lot of other cruisers blogging their stories as they too took to the water but we were the only ones who seemed to have trouble every day. I’m still not sure if we were just big whiners or if others wanted everyone to think they were living a dream. But hopefully you’ve gotten the major stuff out of the way. Once you’re in the Bahamas I’m sure things will calm down.

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