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C'est la Vie
C'est la Vie
Port: Everglades City, FL
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Long Key to Marathon
Jeff
Thursday October 5th 2006, Hawks Channel. FL Keys

Maybe this is why NOAA issed that small craft advisory. Our passage from Long Key to Boot Key Harbor (Marathon) was much more eventful that the previous days sail. Today we have weathered numberous squall lines... none too severe but the weather and potential for squalls has kept us on our toes. Again the sailing is on a broad reach under the 110, and again our average speed is around 6knots. We arrived in Boot Key Harbor mid afternoon with enought time to assemble the dinghy and go ashore.

C'est la Vie
Stuck in Key Largo
Jeff
Tuesday October 3rd 2006, Del Mar Marina, Key Largo

We departed Ft. Pierce mid morning with excellent winds off our port stern. The northeast winds pushing exactly were we wanted to go, but then we found the Gulf Stream just a bit south of Stuart, FL. Despite the fair winds and 34 horsepower (our speed through the water was over 7 knots) the best we could do against the Gulf Stream was 2.5 to 3 knots. If I ever come this way again the travel south from Stuart to Miami will be made in the ICW. Live and learn... The Gulf Stream current began to ease near Ft. Lauderdale/ Port Everglades, but the storms began to build. At the end of my night watch, midnight to 04:00, we encountered our first strong squall. With just enough warning to switch out the genny for a storm jib and pull 2 reefs in the main the squall slapped into us from the east. Sailing close to the wind with minimal canvas, toe rail in the water, and hull speed of 7.5 knots; we quickly lost searoom off the shore to our west. We entered the squall 2 miles offshore and finally were able to gain ground to the east after slipping w/in one mile of shore. C'est la Vie handled the approx 40 knots winds and near zero visibility better than her nervous crew. After the initial wall of wind, the rain and lightening stuck around for another few hours. By day break we were passing Port Everglades and after some debate decided to push on to the Keys via the outside. The image included is of a stormy Miami Beach. The sailing remained pleasant through my day watch, but around 16:00 we found ourselves surrounded by squalls. Unwilling to risk being pushed around among the reefs and shallows of the Keys, we holed up on the NE side of Elliot Key. On the cusp of another squall the anchor dropped. Just after diving on the anchor to ensure she found good holding the storms abated without us receiving a raindrop. Welcome to the keys…

On October first we cruised south to Key Largo on a wonderful NE breeze. We pulled into Key Largo for fuel, water, and food. We found all three and due to the late hour decided to tie up despite a $3/foot fee. Little did we know we would wake up to small craft advisories for the next four days. So here we sit. Stuck in the high rent district. Could be worse.... we do have continental breakfasts, three pools, two workout rooms, multiple bars, etc. Hopefully the winds will ease soon.

C'est la Vie
Back in FL!
Jeff
Thursday September 28th 2006, Ft. Pierce, FL

Before resuming our travels south we switched out some crew Trish Haitz took Bud's place on the boat. With Helene's passing,the forecast for resuming our offshore passage looked promising so we steered south out of Port Royal Sound, SC our goal was Ft. Pierce, FL. With thunderstorms dancing around the Sound, we motor sailed to the outer buoy. Upon reaching the outer buoy a 20NM trek, be killed the motor and quickly found ourselves becalmed. This passage was certainly different than our last. Confident that we did not have fuel for the entire 300NM passage and counting on winds in our future, we steamed through the night. Each time a whisper of breeze found us we hoisted the sails, killed the diesel, and found ourselves becalmed within two hours. We did reach the Gulf Stream off Cape Canaveral and we joined by playful dolphins and pilot whales for long stretches of time. (see image and note the crystal blue water!)

How you may ask are we sure we entered the stream? While attempting to maintain steerage and forward progress in the light airs on the midnight to four am watch the steering compass and knot meter told me I was slowing moving SW both GPS units we informing me that C'est la Vie and her crew were moving NE over the globe. It took me a few minutes to figure this out and a few hours of light air sailing to escape the Gulf Stream current. The winds arrived none too soon to alleviate our fears over dwindling fuel. Around sunset on day 3 out of Port Royal and just east of Canaveral the winds appeared. Light and on our bow at first they built though the night and allowed us to sail a broad reach into Ft. Pierce Inlet by morning. Our average speed sailing on the final night was over 6kts!

Interesting to note that while both passages were entirely different --
the first passage -strong winds and developed seas and the second passage light airs, calm seas and lots of motoring we averaged 4.5 kts over 260NM on the first passage and 4.6 kts over 300NM on the second passage.

We are unsure of the plan from here, but we will do our best to keep you all updated.

C'est la Vie
First leg of the return to FL
Jeff
Monday September 25th 2006, Beaufort, SC

C?? est la Vie left her summer home of Beaufort, NC early in the morning of Wednesday, Sept 21. Anne and Carlie are currently pursuing other adventures so I recruited John Grey and Bud Lovett as crew. With a forecast of fair weather and moderate swell from a distant Hurricane Helene we planned to sail offshore and attempt to come in somewhere around Jacksonville, FL. The seas from Helene haunted our passage and made sleeping and meals difficult. We rounded Cape Fear around 04:00 on Sept 22. We found ourselves in a small craft advisory with 20kt winds and 8+ foot seas off of Charleston, SC around midnight on the 23rd. The winds slowing veering onto our bow, we were finally forced to tack back NE off the outer buoy at Charleston, this placed us running close hauled directly into the 8+ foot seas, while C?? est la Vie performed admirably, the crew was not eager to hold the NW tack for long. The forecast called for more of the same so we bailed out and joined the ICW via the North Edisto River. Anchoring in the South Edisto River on Saturday, the 23rd, provided our first full nights sleep since leaving Beaufort. We took the ICW south to Beaufort, SC and tied up at Lady?? s Island Marina. The attached image is John & Bud motoring along the ICW.

C'est la Vie
Still working towards the launch date.
Jeff
Thursday September 7th 2006, Bock Marine, Beaufort, NC

That's right the ides of September are creeping up and we are still on the hard at Bock Marine. Between work and wet weather we've struggled to get the boot stripe and hull painted. Weather permitting… we hope Florence follows her forecasted route and stays out to sea, we should be ready to launch on Monday, September 11th. We've run the motor, started up the fridge, and even managed to get one coat of paint on the boot stripe. The hull is sanded and just waiting for the right day to apply paint. I promised an image of our new bow sprit chain plate (I guess that's what you would call this piece). The older design only had four 5/16” screws w/ fender washers on the inside. This system was failing… holes elongating and bolts bending. The newer design uses seven 3/8” bolts with backing plates and a "T” shaped plate on the exterior of the hull. We feel much more confident about this system and the extra time and $$ spent to make this repair offer us a much greater piece of mind. See image included…

C'est la Vie
Bye, bye Ernesto
Jeff
Saturday September 2nd 2006, Bock Marine, Beaufort, NC

We weathered Ernesto well here in Beaufort, NC. The storm came through on Friday, Sept. 1, our proposed launch date. Even w/out the storm we would not have been ready to launch. We reinforced the bowsprit were it attaches to the bow near the waterline. Attempting to replace the impeller, I sheared off a screw for the cover and was forced to remove the waterpump to extract the screw and retap the holes. Thanks to Bud for his assistance on this job. We still have to paint the hull below the waterline. Weather permitting we will shoot for launching late next week.

C'est la Vie
Countdown to launching...
Jeff
Wednesday August 23rd 2006, Bock Marine, Beaufort, NC

The countdown is on. Planning to launch C'est la Vie by Sept. 1, we pulled the cover off her on August 14 and the project list sprouted... repairing the dripless shaft seal, repainting from toe rail to cove strip on starboard side, rebuilding/strengthen the bow pulpit, service the engine, replace the gudgeon bushing, 2 fresh coats of bottom paint, etc., etc. etc. Things are moving along nicely and save for a sheared off screw in the impeller housing and a $125 price tag for a new gudgeon bushing surprises have been few.

In image Anne is completing the wet sanding in prep for spraying AwlGrip. Note that brace for pulpit hangs vertical and chainplate at bow is missing. I'll take a picture of the improved chainplate when it is installed.

We plan to play around the Beaufort area until late Sept. Barring any storms, I will sail south with a crew of two beginning Sept. 23. Anne is traveling and working the Annapolis Boat Show with NautiGear (check out NautiGear.net). We will meet up in FL.

What about the Puffer? She still sits in the yard waiting to be launched. I need to place her in the water to figure out where the waterline is located. Then I can bottom paint her.

Always a project...

C'est la Vie
What's next II
Jeff
Thursday May 18th 2006, Beaufort, NC

During the drive Anne & I will play catch up on all our phone messages. Seems difficult to believe we have already spent a month away. Make us realize how easy it would be to set sail for a year... years?

It is nice to be back among friends here in Beaufort. Anne already has three job offers. We have scheduled the high speed internet to be connected at the basecamp. But... so much to get done before students arrive here in the OBX.

C'est la Vie
What's Next?
Jeff
Thursday May 18th 2006, Beaufort, NC

While Anne and I catch up with e-mail, reserve a rental car for the return trip to FL, schedule a haul out for the boat, and catch up with all the good folks we know down east, First mate Carlie stands watch. We plan to sail out to Shackleford Banks around lunch were we dive under the boat scrub a bit on the hull and mark where we want the slings placed for haul out. C'est la Vie will be hauled tomorrow morning and Anne and I will head back to the Everglades via car tomorrow afternoon or Saturday morning.

C'est la Vie
Guess we need a fish ID book/chart
Jeff
Thursday May 18th 2006, Beaufort, NC

We learned the true identity of our lunch while showing our pictures to Dennis & Robin Chadwick. Fortunately I bled and filleted the fish immediately after the picture was taken. We (Anne) grilled the fish in foil with onions, then ate it on a bagel w/ wasbi mayo & tomatoes. No complaints here. We gave the other fillet to our neighbors, two guys delivering a steel hull sailboat from Panama to Maine, and they enjoyed the fish. They also told us it was a bonito. Reguadless it was a fun fight and a tasty lunch. Thanks for all the replies. It is fun to know that others are sharing along in our adventure. Please keep the comments & replies coming!

C'est la Vie

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