1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: August 2018

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Where's Wally?

Ok, I admit it. I've been taking a break from blogging. If you blog, you know how challenging it can become. Between enjoying the Bahamas this past spring (ahhhh), putting the final touches on my new book (more on that in a bit!), my regular writing, organizing this year's Sail to the Sun ICW Rally (more on this too!), plus the usual rounds of boat fixin', rum drinkin' and socializing with fellow sailors, and then having my computer fail...
The Bahamas - as beautiful as ever, what can I say? I crossed over from Fort Lauderdale to West End, an uneventful crossing with some friends, Shawn and Shar, in their Pearson 35. We headed out onto the Banks the next day and were going to anchor at Carters Cay, about ten miles past Great Sale Cay. Then the fun started.
I was preparing to drop the anchor when I looked to the northwest. I saw what could best be described as a dark grey rug, all rolled up and coming our way, maybe five minutes tops to arrival. I've seen this before, it's never good, so I called Sean and Shar on the VHF. I suggested we hold off anchoring until that mess had gone through, that it would probably be 15 minutes of some blustery wind and rain.
Was I wrong! Almost an hour later, my bimini and dodger both torn off in what were probably 70 knot gusts, drenched to the skin in rain that at times was horizontal and stung when it hit, in a complete 'whiteout' for part of it, the winds finally fell back to 'blustery' and the rain was now merely heavy, rather than torrential. It's surprising how calm 25 knots is after experiencing 70.
On the brighter side, we had both stayed in deeper water and protected our boats and, other than being somewhat rattled (!), we were good to continue. The lesson here is that had we opted to anchor, we wouldn't have had time enough to properly set the hook against winds of that strength - and we would have been within 200 yards of the shore in about 8 feet of water. Had either of our anchors not held, there was no guarantee that that boat wouldn't have been blown ashore, as the winds clocked a full 360° during that hour. I think they did anyway. The bread crumb trail on my chartplotter went in every direction.
That was the most excitement of the trip, fortunately. The most frustration was having my phone quit, and then trying to get it replaced in the Bahamas. Over the next three months (when I wasn't struggling with my phone company), I ventured as far as Little Harbour and Pete's Pub, hung out at Green Turtle Cay, Marsh Harbour, Hopetown and a few of the lesser cays in the area, did a little snorkeling, caught zero fish and generally had a great time, culminating in the Regatta Time in Abaco, a fun race series. Watch for an upcoming article in Cruising World, and check out this online article I wrote - RTIA
On returning to the States - another easy Gulf Stream Crossing, this time West End to Palm Beach, I dealt with the usual round of fixing stuff that broke while in the islands - alternator and water pump this time around. The fun never ends, does it?
I'm now making my way up the east coast to Annapolis, and you can follow the trip at the Where's Wally link, which shows my position from my Delorme/Garmin Inreach unit. Later today, I'll be in St. Augustine before moving on to Fernandina Beach and into Georgia.
I'm now looking at the final edit for my first book - "The Un-Adult, A-Rated Wally" - which is an anthology of 16 of my best stories. I've culled these gems from articles published in the past both in print and online, and added a few unpublished stories as well.
It's a fun read - well, I had fun writing these stories and then polishing them up for the book - so I'm hoping you'll enjoy it too. Expect an announcement soon both here and on my Facebook pages when it's published.
I'm quite excited about this - although it isn't my first published book, that was Cuba Bound and published by Waterway Guide, this is the first one under my own name. I promise you, it won't be the last. There are two more in the works now.
An update on my Coppercoat epoxy job: I'm very pleased. After a month on the ICW and three months in the Bahamas, there was no hard growth and the soft growth that was on the hull was wiped off with a scrub brush.
On returning to the ICW, the product was really put to the test, in the nutrient rich waters at Cocoa. After three weeks, the prop was coated in barnacles to the point that it couldn't provide propulsion and had to be scraped. The hull had some growth at the waterline, but you could wipe it off with your hand - it simply didn't attach to the hull. I suspect that had I been moving and not anchored, even that little bit of growth would not have happened. So, I'm very pleased with the results of the product. When I next haul, I'll coat the prop as well and not have to deal with that job again.
Bottom line - the product isn't cheap, but it works as promised, provided you apply it according to the instructions. Here's the link for more information - Coppercoat USA
Another product I'm super pleased with is my new Sigma Drive. It's a CV joint for your boat, and it has totally eliminated vibrations caused by misalignment in the drive train. It's very simple to install, and at around $550 isn't particularly cheap, but the reduction in noise and vibration are very noticeable. Watch for my upcoming article on this product in Cruising World.

The Sail to the Sun ICW Rally is filling up rapidly - in fact, there are two spots only available as of today, and that only because one rallier had to back out due to a health issue. For those not familiar with the Sail to the Sun, it's a two month long rally from Hampton VA to Miami Fl on the Intracoastal Waterway.
It's been referred to as a "two month long floating party", and while it is a lot of fun, the goal is to make sure that the participants have a safe, enjoyable and stress free trip.
The stress free aspect is aided along with lots of dock parties, wine and cheese receptions from marinas and cities and towns we visit, raft ups, a visit to a rum distillery...
Along with the 'stress elimination' aspects of the rally, there is also a day long seminar in Annapolis prior to the event. I have top rated speakers in to discuss cruising, with a focus on the ICW for first time cruisers, and ending with an open mic round table discussion where you can ask the group about your concerns. There is also a 'night before' discussion in Hampton where I again bring in speakers for the group during a wine and cheese 'meet and greet'.
This is the fifth year I have conducted this rally, and each year it keeps getting better. Of course, each year's 'graduating' class deems itself the best, and to be honest? They're all right about that!
If you have questions about the Rally, you can find answers at the Rally website, Sail to the Sun or you can email me using the pop up on this page, or from the website. You can also request a Rally brochure from the site. Hope to see you this fall for 'the most fun on the ICW'.
That's it for today - time to get the anchor up and head off for St. Augustine.