1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: The Rally That Just Won't End!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Rally That Just Won't End!

Well, we made it to Miami, those for whom Miami was the goal anyhow, on December 12 as planned. A few of the boats stopped earlier, having reached their winter destinations, or to tie up their boat to go home for Christmas.
We then had a great last blast at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in, where else, Coconut Grove in Miami. Beautiful spot, beautiful views, great meal! Thanks to Commodore Janice and the staff, who helped make it such a great time.
Let me back up now a bit before getting to what's going on now.
The Sail to the Sun ICW Rally had a great time exploring Savannah and area before heading out into a lovely warm day on the ICW. There were stops at Fort Frederica, Jekyll Island, Cumberland Island, St. Mary's for a great Cruisers' Thanksgiving dinner with over 100 other cruisers heading south. Then we were on to Fernandina Beach, with the city, after Hurricane Matthew, finally getting round to providing a dinghy dock for those anchored out. Fernandina is one of my favourite stops in Florida.
From there, it was on to St. Augustine, a proverbial favourite for all. You can see how well that went from this video featuring our Sail to the Sun ICW Rally Dancing Queens singing at karaoke....
and we spent several days there before continuing south to Cocoa.
Note - the rumours of my having sang 'It's a Beautiful World' in the style of Louis Armstrong are entirely false, and there is no video of such an event - and neither did I pay to purchase any non-existent video of something that never really happened. Honest!
Our local hangout - Ryans Pizza Pub!
On to Cocoa... as they did last year, Cocoa rolled out the red carpet for the Rally, with a swag bag including a great burgee, a mayor's reception, and some great dinners. There was also a tour of the Kennedy Space Center which everyone just loved, another of local brew pubs (!) and several nights out for dinner at some great restaurants. It was with some sadness that we departed Cocoa. The great reception and the friendly locals are always a highlight here.
Now a hint - look for the Cocoa event to be even BIGGER in 2017, with some events planned for all cruisers, not just the ralliers. Look for a special two day event....with a major media sponsor and things happening that will be of interest to everyone in your crew. This will be a 'don't you dare miss it' kind of event in other words.
So the day after our closing dinner at Coconut Grove, I and Mauna Kea headed off to No Name Harbor. They needed some sewing on their dodger and I needed a haircut. I only wish my sewing was the equal of the great haircut I got... (thank you again Laurie!).
Sweet Pea on a buoy from the Bahamas....
Then, what do our wondering eyes does appear , not reindeer - but Valentine, Blue Lady, Sweet Pea and Let It Be - four of the other rally boats that were in Miami. Suddenly, No Name Harbor looks like a Sail to the Sun Rally Reunion, as everyone waits for a window to cross over to the Bahamas.
And this wasn't happening just in No Name. Back in Daytona, Reflections II and Osprey were getting together and planning to finish their trip south before crossing over. Several of the group were ensconced in Marathon, enjoying life in Boot Key Harbor. This group was really hanging together...and my liver was suffering badly as a result!
Finally, the big day - night really - came, and I woke up to an empty harbor, since I won't be leaving for the Bahamas until after the Toronto Boat Show
(You can see my schedule for speaking there from the link - I'll be discussing the trip south from the Great Lakes to Miami via the ICW, and also Cuba, and a new seminar this year, Cruising the Bahamas!)
I was able to watch the fleet's progress to Bimini via their AIS units and it was truly interesting to see how well they did for first timers heading over. The conditions were challenging for the first third, laid down a bit for the second third and were positively great for the last part of the crossing.
So, another fun filled, safe and successful Sail to the Sun ICW Rally comes to an end. I'm already missing these folks as they continue to Sail to the Sun! Fair winds....
As noted, I'm speaking in Toronto during the boat show there later this month. Don't miss it if you're in Toronto and be sure to introduce yourself.
The Sail to the Sun ICW Rally website has been updated with information on the 2017 ICW Rally, and we already have three boats and crews signed up to go. Don't wait if your plans include heading south this fall, as this year's Rally will be even better - see the 'hint' above, along with some other exciting details I'm working on now. If you'd like a Rally brochure, email me at ICW.Wally@gmail.com and put Rally Brochure in the subject line.
Until your trip south, here's some photos of the 2017 crew to 'whet' your appetite until you wet your hull!
They look like they're up to something!

There's sailing and there's how Let It Be sails

Our Bloody Mary delivery on Thanksgiving Morning at St. Mary

The crew of Blue Lady

Captain of Blue Lady...

Frivolity in Cocoa!