Two day sail to Marathon, FL

A Miami style yacht

More time at the helm. Adding that to my list of minor accomplishments; the first being able to start the dinghy with that pull-string that always seems to be locked in place!  A forecast for NE at 10-15 gave us hope for a couple decent sailing days down to Marathon. I really enjoy the easy sailing in Biscayne Bay; after Key Largo the water gets skinny in many places and the pots are everywhere- even in the channel, which mostly is nothing more than a magenta line with a heading.

A Keys style yacht

Thursday was near perfect and we were in the extremely rare travel mode of “let’s see how far we get.” I had 3 spots picked out, one for each wind possibility: virtually none, some and plenty. The promise of “plenty” that greeted us in the morning, dwindled steadily and left us with our second anchoring choice. I was more than okay with that as it was our preferred spot due to north wind protection. We basked in the easy sailing, mostly moving along at 6kts in 8kts of wind. Sweet, and yes true, thanks to a great angle to the wind- I can’t say exactly what though because we don’t have our Garmin wind direction indicator- remember?  We felt good; plans had been made to get the sail drive work done on Monday/Tues and we had several packages on their way to us, one being that wind thingy.  West Marine called to say it arrived at the store; such a nice feature they have called “ship to store”. The air conditioner circuit board would be replaced under warranty- yippee!! – and sent to us at Boot Key City Marina.

Before anchoring we calibrated our compass which had a long history of not agreeing to the electronic compass nor the GPS heading compass. For those as compass-ly challenged as I, don’t worry if this makes no sense. What we had to do was travel slowly in all four directions and use a non-magnetic tool to adjust the compass to the others. End result was close with room for improvement. By 4pm we’d anchored and were enjoying sundowners on the stern as the sun set. Ah, life IS good. As we finished up, I heard the iPhone “strum” ring; Benj was calling.  His flight to CT out of Miami had been changed an hour and a quarter earlier. Um, that would make a flight back from Nassau more difficult to connect with the Miami one. Oh well, we’ll figure out something if we are lucky enough to cross with him in December.

The next phone call bummed us out. For the second night in a row, Russ’s dad fell getting up from the dinner table. A trip to the clinic and then to the hospital for observation; not looking for fun times for any Rackliffe for the next few days.

Friday gave me oodles of time at the wheel as Russ spent half the day on the phone dealing with sail drive and Dad stuff.  Managed to squeeze in water making before the onslaught of phone calls began.  The short version of the sail drive story- yes, I am going to try-is Yanmar won’t give the go-ahead for any parts to be ordered or work performed until the yard has a look-see. Maybe warranty, maybe not. If not, our nickel. We’ve been dealing with this particular issue since before buying the boat and now it’s south vs north. The southern distributor has never heard of the fix that the northern one has had to do on several sail drives. By the end of the day Friday we had emails indicating a willingness to open talks with the other side. No way will this be our nickel. We’ll have the work done in summer- up north if it comes to that.

All in all, a decent sailing day and I skimmed by only one pot that bounced along the starboard hull a few times. The little buoys here are round and mostly quite colorful; easy to see. Russ was forced to turn the engines on for the final hour and ½ so that we could make the mooring field by sundown. With the next few days’ forecast looking like this: wind NE 20-30, I was happy with our good timing for a stay in Boot Key Harbor.

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