Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
02 April 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
27 March 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
12 March 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
10 March 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
28 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
28 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
26 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
19 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
16 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet at the dock
09 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
08 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet
05 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
03 February 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
Recent Blog Posts
16 October 2017 | St Marys, GA

The Flogging Continues

The next day after our return from Ft. Lauderdale was a day of laundry, picking up shipments at the boatyard office, and a trip to Luigi’s, a local pizza restaurant, for lunch, and all you can eat Italian buffet. After that I shopped to get groceries, prior to the delivery I tried to use up any perishable [...]

12 October 2017 | st marys, ga

The Album Part

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8728395@N03/albums/72157689375617206

12 October 2017 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Ft. Lauderdale Part

I am on watch now, the early morning 2 AM watch. We are motoring into an 8 knot SE wind with lumpy seas. Our ETA to the mark off Cape Canaveral is 7:30 AM. I have coffee and cookies, the last 6 soggy Keeblers. Dinner earlier had been a prepackaged salad to which I added 6 slices (slabs) of bacon, [...]

12 October 2017 | St. Augustine, FL

St. Augustine to Ft. Lauderdale the Canaveral Part

Our 1 day stay at Beach Marine gave us some needed rest. We ordered a pizza from Nina's who deliver to the dock. We couldn't help but have a slice before getting to sleep. I like to have a pizza on board the night before leaving. It comes in handy for breakfast with no prep and snacks later.

08 October 2017 | Jacksonville Beach, FL

Jacksonville Entrance

I awoke and felt groggy. I fried bacon, then sliced an onion into rings and fried them in bacon fat. Then I beat 4 eggs, added the caramelized onion rings and poured the batter into the pan, dusted with black pepper. As it fired, I added cheese on top, then flipped the omelet half over, cut it in [...]

08 October 2017 | Jacksonville Beach, FL

Oriental to Jacksonville Beach

Day of departure, some commotion, the owners have two Portuguese water dogs that ended up getting into mischief, poking there noses everywhere, very attentive, and hindering the owners’ departure. Additional groceries were purchased. The comment was that at least we would eat well.

The Flogging Continues

16 October 2017 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy/humid, thunderstorms
The next day after our return from Ft. Lauderdale was a day of laundry, picking up shipments at the boatyard office, and a trip to Luigi’s, a local pizza restaurant, for lunch, and all you can eat Italian buffet. After that I shopped to get groceries, prior to the delivery I tried to use up any perishable food, now the larder was bare.
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The Miata had a flat tire, one that had a slow leak and needed to be pumped up every few days. I couldn’t drive the car to the boatyard machine shop where there was plenty of sailboat fuel (air) and my little plug in air pump wasn’t working. Fortunately most of the yardbirds have plenty of repair tools in their vehicles and the tire was quickly pumped up.
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After running errands all day I felt extremely fatigued. I noticed that when I closed my eyes I felt like I was back on the boat. I needed visual reference to keep from falling over. This is kind of like the reverse of seasickness, you have to get your shore legs back.
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The photos from the delivery trip were posted on flickr and I caught up on correspondence in my email inbox.
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Among the shipments that came in were a replacement dremel-like rotary tool by Black and Decker, the RTX, and a dozen AA and AAA eneloop batteries. I now had a pile of new stuff including my purchases at Harbor Freight. I could begin work on the hull bottoms right away.
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My choice of weapons to chip off the old bottom paint was an angle grinder wheel that looks like it has chain saw teeth around the perimeter. I had an old dull one of these on the old angle grinder and it was impossible to remove it, so I left it on there and sharpened it with diamond burr bits in the rotary tool. I also had a new angle grinder and a new chainsaw grinding wheel and put them together. The paint dulls the teeth rather quickly, so a grinding/chipping session is a pass with each grinder, then a sharpening session. An additional angle grinder with a 40 grit flap disc was used to remove paint that didn’t respond to the chipping action.
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I also used the new rotary tool to cut apart the Standard Horizon hand held VHF’s battery. The battery was dead and I thought I could use the carcass to modify the replacement alkaline battery tray so that I could charge the eneloop cells that were in the tray using the charge cradle. What I found was that the charging cradle was putting out 9 volts and the original battery was 7.5 volts. The alkaline tray was meant for 1.5 volt cells, five of them producing 7.5 volts total. The eneloops are 1.2 volt cells, so the battery tray would be running at 6 volts. I didn’t feel confident that the higher cradle voltage wouldn’t ruin the eneloop cells, so I abandoned the little project.
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I had originally purchased 8 eneloop cells to get the 5 I needed for the radio. The cells came on sale in quantity of 12, so I bought 12 AAA’s and 12 AA’s. The old Garmin GPS and the SPOT tracking device use AA’s. I now had 20 AAA’s total, that would power the radio 4 times over.
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When we were relying on this radio on the delivery, the battery icon on the operating screen looked like the batteries were nearly dead. Of course the eneloops are going to give a lower voltage and low battery indication, but I wasn’t sure how low they were. We had begun to use the radio only for distant NOAA weather reports, which it did better than the other radios. The rest of the time it was turned off. Reading the operator’s manual showed that the battery icon is only shown on the operating screen when the batteries are very low. In fact, when I tested the radio for about an hour it got low enough to have a battery warning. After recharging the eneloops, the battery icon was no longer displayed, meaning the battery voltage was above the low battery threshold. Having extra sets of spare batteries means we can use this radio in the future for more than a few days, plus we can recharge the batteries in the eneloop charger which has both AC and DC adapters.
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The old West Marine VHF55 was nearly dead and I would hesitate to use it at all, but it very slowly recharged in its cradle so that there were 2 out of 3 bars on the battery icon. I guess this radio could be kept in its charge cradle and used intermittently if necessary. The charge cradle is no longer available and isn’t working properly, but it will keep the radio at a usable charge level, as long as the radio spends most of its time in the charge cradle.
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We are scheduled for another two deliveries, back to back, I will be involved in both, taking a Beneteau 50 from Dominican Republic to Miami, then picking up another Lagoon catamaran in Ft. Lauderdale and taking it to Mississippi. My electronics will now travel with me in a computer soft case. I will probably bring the Getac this time, it has a better daylight screen and is waterproof. We will use the same SPOT device. I have about 2 weeks before leaving on these deliveries, which will also take about 2 weeks to complete.
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I thought we would be using Luperon in Dominican Republic as the port where I would join the boat, but no, it will be in Punta Cana. I did my research based on Luperon initially and found a harbor map made by an ex-pat who provided a lot of information about Luperon online. He also provided an article he wrote for Soundings magazine concerning a delivery he made from Luperon to Ft. Lauderdale. Oh boy, just what I need. It turned out to be a very amusing two part article, provided no advice applicable to a standard delivery, just piled on anecdote after anecdote of a worst case delivery. It is at: http://www.thornlesspath.com/delivery.pdf
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The replacement cell phone died on the delivery and was resuscitated using the skipper’s charger. Now it has died again and I tried everything to get it recharged. It would blink red at the charge indicator which is normally solid red when charging and green when complete. I ended up finding a combination of AC adapter and micro USB cable that recharged the phone. Whew.
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The image is dawn at Beach Marine at Jacksonville Beach on the last delivery.

The Album Part

12 October 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8728395@N03/albums/72157689375617206
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A flickr link to the album of pictures taken during the delivery. They are chronological but I've put no explanation of what the pictures are of. They start in River Dunes Marina near Oriental, NC and end at the entrance into Ft. Lauderdale where a rainbow prompted me to snap a couple while we were negotiating the channel to the 17th St. bridge.
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The guy in the helm chair is Captain Ford Smith. The doggie is a Portuguese Water Dog who departed with the owners before we got underway. Thanks to them for this opportunity and I hope all goes well for the Lagoon 380 in the future.

The Ft. Lauderdale Part

12 October 2017 | Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
I am on watch now, the early morning 2 AM watch. We are motoring into an 8 knot SE wind with lumpy seas. Our ETA to the mark off Cape Canaveral is 7:30 AM. I have coffee and cookies, the last 6 soggy Keeblers. Dinner earlier had been a prepackaged salad to which I added 6 slices (slabs) of bacon, a large tomato, an onion, and 3 shredded carrots.
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The other boat that bore off to our port didn't tack back to embarrass us as to our boat speed. They must have gone into port for the night. There is a simple rule of thumb for calculating VMG to windward, the ratio of VMG/boatspeed is 1:1.4. The other boat would have to sail about 7 knots on her tacks to equal our 5 knots directly to the mark. Not impossible. If they were a longer boat their hull speed might be higher than ours and she would pass us. Our hull speed is roughly 7.5 knots, though someone posted an 8 knot hull speed for the Lagoon 380, we have gone up that high off the wind, but into the wind she seems to get into a 5 to 6 knot limit.
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The wind hasn't backed at all. My watch is over and we still have a ways to go to our waypoint. It is very rough. In my bunk I am being tossed up in the air and thrown from side to side. I needed a massage anyway for my sore aching muscles.
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I awoke a short time later and went up on deck, knowing that the skipper would be needing help raising sail. This time I was on deck when we passed the waypoint and continued on. I said I would start breakfast, expecting the sail handling to happen later. The wind was a little too close to sail on our rumb line to Palm Beach Shores.
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I chopped up an onion and began sautéing it, then opened a can of Spam, diced it and threw it in the pan. A little garlic salt and pepper, a bowl of 3 beaten eggs, then I hear the headsail unfurling. Skipper is letting out the jib.
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No, you can't do that, I said, you need sail area aft or you'll be pushing the boat to leeward with the sail and the rudder both. Well, do I want to put the main sail up now? I dread this chore. This time I'm not going up by the mast to heave it up hand over hand, I'll use the cockpit winch, slower and maybe less strenuous. I have to wait for each batten to clear each lazy jack, plus the reefing blocks have to clear, and the reefing lines have to be tended, it takes forever. Finally it's up and taught, sails are trimmed. I say, if we can make 170 True we can make Palm Beach Shores on one tack. Skipper looks at me and says, I have 170 True on the autopilot.
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I have to run down to the galley, the omelet is still on the stove. It is so rough that the skillet is sliding all around the stove. I flip the omelet a second time and we have a Hawaiian Trucker's Omelet. Cut it up and make sandwiches. What a mess I made in the galley.
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We settle down and eat and have more coffee. The wind is SE and we are close hauled with the port engine still helping to push us along. Somehow we have run the starboard engine 10 hours more than the port, so we will equalize the hours on this tack.
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It's 115 miles to the waypoint at Palm Beach Shores, then another 45 miles to Ft. Lauderdale. We could have this boat at the dock by noon tomorrow.
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The missile silos of NASA on Cape Canaveral dropped below the horizon. There are no other boats within view and no sight of land. The sea is rough and the wind is cooperative, picking up into the low teens and backing a little. The catamaran starts to get into the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 knot range in about 12 knots of wind, close reach. The Garmin GPS computes our ETA at the waypoint at Palm Beach Shores. The ETA changes constantly as the boat gains and loses speed. We're looking at 2:30 AM.
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I may sound critical of this catamaran, and it has flaws, but it also has a livability factor while in port. It's giving us a work out at sea, but we are not picking and choosing the conditions, we are on a time schedule to deliver the boat and do it now.
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Most cruisers would slow the boat down to cook meals, even lie a hull, or heave to. Many would totter down the ICW at 50 miles a day and anchor at night, especially with headwinds.
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This catamaran would accommodate 2 couples comfortably, having private heads and large bunks. The 3rd stateroom is maybe a twin size berth and would be comfortable except the motion is more extreme as you go forward and in a rough sea the 3rd berth, which is forward in the port hull, would be difficult. Both heads have showers, the owner's being nicer with a teak grating for the shower pan. A couple could definitely live aboard and have room for guests, or crew when sailing.
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The handling at the dock with two widely spaced engines enables the helmsman to turn the boat around in its own length. It can run on one engine at 5-6 knots and burn only a half gallon of diesel per hour.
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Skipper wants to take the helm. He stops the engine and we are sailing at 7 knots with nice breeze at 40 degrees off the port bow. I lay on the other side of the cockpit and rest. He says there's rain ahead. I say there is blue sky above me. The sails flap a little bit. Apparently there are thunderstorms ahead disrupting the wind. I move over to the helm. I suggest hand steering to keep the sails from flogging. He says here you take it. I hand steer and get the sails filled, now we are heading 247, toward the beach. Let's tack, I say. We tack and are heading SE. The wind keeps evading us, we are turning around and around, then I turn on the engine. The wind settles down very light, but grows in strength, and eventually we are back sailing on course at 7 knots again.
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We make course adjustments to make sure we don't cross any shoals. We are going to get closer to land, or more accurately, Florida's coast is jutting out to meet us.
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Skipper takes over again and says we don't need the engine, we are going fast enough. He shuts the engine. I tell him if you stop the engine the wind will die. The wind dies. We spend some time calculating true wind and apparent wind and how the single engine running creates enough apparent wind to give us 7 knots of boat speed, but without it we slog along at 4 or 5 knots.
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There another discussion back at the boatyard about a fellow who hooked up an electric motor to his prop shaft and drove the motor directly from solar panels. He claimed to get 5 degrees higher tacking angle to windward when he used that engine.
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We pass over the edge of Bethel Shoal near Vero Beach, it is a shoal for ships, not for a little catamaran. We have about 50 miles to our waypoint, then 45 miles to the Ft. Lauderdale inlet. I make another salad, prepackaged, and add two large tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to add to its prepackaged poppy seed dressing. Then I take a nap.
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I was expecting to take the mid watch, but again I will take the evening watch and the early morning watch. We are off Ft. Pierce and I remember taking Kaimu from Ft. Pierce one morning, going down the ICW to St. Lucie inlet, and continuing outside in the Atlantic down the coast to Miami. It was a 36 hour passage, singlehanded. If you hit the tides at the right time you can enter at either port on the low tide, ride the flood tide into the ICW, then ride the ebb out of the other port.
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I am surprised how quickly St. Lucie has come along on this leg of our trip, we are hitting 8 knots and I saw 9. It's like maybe we have been dragging something for a few days. The wind is no stronger than before. Maybe it's a local tide current aiding us.
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I took a few sunset shots with the 30D, but the sunset itself fizzled. We have a partly cloudy night time sky, looks like high pressure. Lots of cirrus. The Coast Guard gave a report that South Florida is under a weather hazard warning. Perhaps the weather hazard is giving us that additional boat speed.
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Our course to Ft. Lauderdale has to bend around the coast a bit, plus we have to hug the shoreline to get out of the Gulf Stream, and adverse current. When the skipper is on the helm, from 10 PM to 2 AM, he tries to follow the shore at a distance of 2 miles out. But when I awake and come on duty for the early morning watch he says the Gulf Stream has intruded into our plans. We must try find a counter current yet stay off the beach and out of trouble. He says something about ship moorings and heads off to sleep.
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I am enjoying this last night's sail and I find a boost in speed at about the 100 foot depth contour and follow it. There are two ship moorings, massive floating buoys that would do a lot of damage if we hit them. They are in about 150 feet of water and I can go inshore of them or pass them on the seaward side. I stay out in that same 150 foot depth and pass them, looking for them as I look toward the beach. I never see them. I do see a group of vessels ahead and to seaward of the 100 foot depth contour. Unfortunately it is the end of my watch and the skipper comes on duty to investigate them. I crash out in my bunk right away.
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When I awake the catamaran is no longer under engine power and is on station off the Port Everglades inlet. This is the entrance to Ft. Lauderdale. We do some tidying up of the boat, but I make a cheese and onion omelet and fry up some of the thick bacon for breakfast. We are hailed by the US Navy on our VHF radio.
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We have 3 VHF radios on board, the Raymarine fixed mount in the navigation area which also has a remote handset in the cockpit, a small portable Cobra hand held unit that stays in a charging cradle in the nav area, and a Standard Horizon HX571 that Carpenter Ron gave me for free. It had a dead battery, so I replaced the battery with a AAA battery tray that fits the radio, and filled the tray with AAA Eneloop lithium batteries. These batteries retain 90 percent of their charge after a year on the shelf. Guess which radio worked best? The Standard Horizon. The Raymarine fixed mount was intermittent and the handset in the cockpit died. The Cobra has its squelch control hidden in a menu. We used it anyway and it worked. The Standard Horizon seemed to have better reception, picked up the more distant NOAA weather reports better than the other two, but suffered with batteries going dead after a week of operation. We used it when we needed better reception, otherwise we used the Cobra. I wondered how it sounded to the other party.
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The Navy said they were conducting training exercises and we had better stay out of their way. We did by jibing and heading North through the anchored ships outside the port. When we were ready to go in, we went in with sails furled and both engines at 2500 rpms (sailors say "turns").
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The owner had given us a street address of the house whose dock we were to tie up to. It was possible to locate the house on Google Maps and compare its location with a chart of Ft. Lauderdale.
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The inlet was narrow and we finally found the address, but there was a long and beautiful sport fishing boat tied up there. Skipper said it was a Hatteras. A fellow was on the stern working on some teak. "How long have you been here?", asked the skipper. "A few months, on and off", replied the worker. Skipper was looking for how long the boat had been in the slip. A woman came out and said that this was her boat and her house. Skipper called the owner who said, "Throw them off of there, I have paid for that slip".
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He then called back and said his broker had given the wrong address. A simple dyslexic type of mistake. Skipper spun the catamaran around using both engines, then left the canal. There were only inches of room to spare. "The Captain", I said.
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It turned out our slip was at the house across the street from the house we had landed at, but that meant finding the canal for that side of the street, then threading our way to where the owner was pacing the dock. As we approached he asked if we could turn the boat around so the stern would line up with the power stanchion on the dock. Sure, said the skipper, and spun the boat around even faster than before. It ended up close enough to the dock I could step off and tie the catamaran off.
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What followed was a tense session of us, four people, moving stuff off the boat, moving cleaning stuff onto the boat, calculating the delivery bill, getting payment using the internet, very quick, packing up, reporting any discrepancies or damage, listening to questions of why we had to stop in Jacksonville Beach (some resupply, repair of the bow navigation lights, and refuel, with a 20 knot wind coming dead ahead).
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All was concluded. We had the feeling that the owners were not satisfied, but we were very sure we had done an excellent job in bringing their boat down to them in an expeditious manner. It is a matter of expectations, some more realistic than others.
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A fellow who had a Lagoon 410, a larger catamaran, had asked the skipper if he could deliver the boat to Mississippi, so we visited his boat. I would not be along on that voyage, if it happens, they only need a skipper, not crew. The 410 seems like a much larger boat than just 3 feet longer would suggest. It is a charter boat that had the starboard hull redone, taking out the forward stateroom and adding a larger head and shower there. Palatial.
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The owner dropped us off at the Ft. Lauderdale airport where we picked up a reserved rental car to return to St. Marys. This was a 5 or 6 hour drive, starting in midafternoon and missing the rush hour. We arrived at the boatyard at about 8:30 after shopping at Harbor Freight Tools in Jacksonville. I bought new bandsaw blades and disposable body suits for sanding and painting bottom paint.
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My impressions of the Lagoon 380 are mixed. I started out liking the livability of the boat, but hated its seaworthiness. Later she began to respond with some good sailing speeds. So, I must conclude that 700 owners can't be that wrong, this is a desirable boat.
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The image is a fortuitous photo of a Ft. Lauderdale mansion with a rainbow overhead.

St. Augustine to Ft. Lauderdale the Canaveral Part

12 October 2017 | St. Augustine, FL
Capn Andy/85 degree Tradewinds
Our 1 day stay at Beach Marine gave us some needed rest. We ordered a pizza from Nina's who deliver to the dock. We couldn't help but have a slice before getting to sleep. I like to have a pizza on board the night before leaving. It comes in handy for breakfast with no prep and snacks later.
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Sunrise was clear and calm, we motored up the ICW to St. Augustine. I unzipped the main sail cover and used a boathook this time to get the zipper all the way back to the end of the boom. We are not setting the sail, just getting it ready while in calm conditions. It would be more difficult and less safe to climb up on the cabin top to unzip the sail in a rough sea. That step up onto the cabin top is a big one. A small footstep would make it easier and safer to go up there.
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Motoring up the ICW was pleasant, very light breeze from ahead, only about 2 knots, but we were fighting a flood tide and our speed was only 5 knots. The port engine was putting out white smoke that dissipated quickly in the morning air, must be water, steam. This indicates either water in the crankcase oil or water leaking into a cylinder from a leaky gasket. We shut the engine down and did a quick inspection. This model boat has the engines installed just forward of the sugar scoops and aft of the aft cabins. This is a good design, the engines have excellent access with their own hatches overhead, plus engine noise that is sometimes a problem when they are located under the aft berths is reduced.
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There were no obvious indications of the source of the steam so we closed the engine compartment after checking the expansion tank and the level in the cooling system. This boat has Yanmar engines with only about 1500 hours on them, they were replacements for the original Volvos. This is considered a good change of engines because Yanmars have much better availability of service and parts. There are many more Yanmar mechanics around the world than Volvo marine diesel mechanics. After restarting the engine we saw it was still steaming. We would keep an eye on it.
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The flood current would increase until we actually left the ICW at St. Augustine and headed out to sea. At one point we were down to 4 knots running both engines at 2500. We left St. Augustine and headed into a SSE breeze that kept us down to 5 knots. Our ETA at Ft. Lauderdale would be late Wednesday at this rate.
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I used the 30D camera on the ICW and will post the pictures in an album on Flickr. I'm a bit worried about the data breach on Flickr's parent, Yahoo, but I don't have any purchase links there, I belong to a few Yahoo groups. I wish I had brought along the telephoto lens. I almost didn't bring the 30D, seawater isn't friendly to cameras.
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As we headed down the coast with our turning mark off Cape Canaveral, the coast fell away to the West very gradually. After a while only the tallest high rise buildings were visible. This reminded me of bringing Kaimu down this way 15 years ago and looking at the NASA assembly buildings on the cape. On that trip it had been cold, in the winter, and only off the Canaveral coast could I finally wear shorts and t-shirt.
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I had seen a tall white object and thought it was a tall light house on the beach near St. Augustine, but now I can still see it and I think it is a vessel with a tall white mast.
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Now, much later, I see it is a sailboat on port tack, probably motorsailing, heading toward the beach off to our right. They will probably tack back out to sea when they get into shallower water. I think the forecast of SE 10-15 going to E will work against them, on their tack back out to sea they will be headed and lose a lot of ground. If they get out far enough before the wind backs to the East, they can tack and head South, so if that happens, it will work out for them.
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Skipper will take the midnight watch again, so I stayed on, put on the navigation lights that we repaired in Beach Marine. They work. The product we used to seal the light fixture was Gorilla silicone repair tape. I've never used it before, it's like super sticky duct tape.
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Our own tactic to get around Cape Canaveral is to go right at the waypoint right off the cape, practically dead upwind. Our speed is equivalent to the other boat's VMG, velocity made good to the mark. So, as they come up on our beam, but way off to the West near the beach, they can tack back out to us, and if they are ahead of us, their VMG is greater than our speed through the water. We are not making tacks away from our waypoint. Our second part of our tactic is that we will hit the waypoint around 6 AM, more or less, and I will be getting off the 2-6 watch. We will hoist sail and bear away to South Florida, and if the wind has backed, we will enjoy a beam reach down the coast.
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The image is of the North side of the entrance to St. Augustine.

Jacksonville Entrance

08 October 2017 | Jacksonville Beach, FL
Capn Andy/humid, thunderstorms
I awoke and felt groggy. I fried bacon, then sliced an onion into rings and fried them in bacon fat. Then I beat 4 eggs, added the caramelized onion rings and poured the batter into the pan, dusted with black pepper. As it fired, I added cheese on top, then flipped the omelet half over, cut it in half and served up onion cheese omelet with bacon. Skipper had made a pot of strong coffee, the only way he knows how to make it, and we had breakfast.
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It was now my watch again, so I took pictures of the sunrise and adjusted course to keep the jib drawing. The main was still furled. The wind died away to nothing. On this boat the furling line comes aft on the port side and runs through a turning block that has a built in spring loaded cam cleat. It is impossible to let out the furling line without holding the cam cleat in the open position. The cam cleat is on the port rail and the jib sheets lead aft over the cabin top, one sheet to each aft corner of the cabin top. On this boat there is only one winch on each side of the boat and a bunch of rope clutches to retain the halyard, sheets, etc. This makes singlehanding difficult. Say we want to roll out the jib on a port tack. The furling line won’t release unless we hold the cam cleat open. We are at the port rail adjacent to the helm station and the sheet winch is on the other side of the boat up on the cabin top. What I did to roll out the jib was to pull a bunch of the furling line through the cam cleat while holding it open with the other hand, then go to the other side of the boat and begin pulling the sail out and sheeting in.
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In order to roll up the jib on the furler, the cam cleat lets the line pass that way without interfering, but you have to maintain tension on one of the sheets to make a nice tight furl. The starboard sheet on the other side of the boat goes through a block between the rope clutch and the winch. You can bring the sheet all the way over to the port side and manage both the furling line and the sheet at the same time. The furling line can be lead up from the rail to the port sheet winch and although it is not a perfectly fair lead, it works. Handling the jib for a starboard tack is a lot easier, since the winch and furling line are on the same side of the boat.
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On this particular boat the main traveler car is practically immobile. When we wanted to let it out, it didn’t move. But that’s not the only problem with the main. On this boat is a Doyle main, a nice sail, and a Doyle stack pack sail cover to stow the main sail. A stack pack uses stiff battens to hold both sides of the sail cover up like a trough for the sail to drop in. The battens are held up by lazy jacks, a spider web of line on either side of the main, and the fully battened main drops right into the stack pack. The problem is when hoisting the main, the aft ends of the sail battens catch on the lazy jack lines. It is very tedious to wait for the movement of the boat so that the mainsail can rise without getting snagged. Each sail batten has a chance to catch on the aft 3 jack lines. Once they get past that the sail goes up without much trouble, except this boat seems to need lubrication of the batten cars and the sail track. It was a lot of work hoisting the sail.
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The stack pack zips up, very neat, except it is up above the boom, the boom is up above the cabin top, and the end of the boom goes aft past the cabin top, past the flimsy bimini (kind of like a convertible top, but for a boat cockpit), and the unfortunate soul who is either zipping up or unzipping has to climb up there and deal with the main boom which is banging back and forth if there is any sea state. The bimini has two hard tracks that can be stepped onto, but they are very narrow, and the bimini is a very light aluminum tubing structure that wiggles underfoot.
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The stack pack zipper is so far aft that it is nearly impossible to grab it. Also, in order to get it to zip, the very end of the zipper has to be held so that the zipper teeth can line up straight. Working up there while the boat dances around in rough water is an experience that generates nautical epithets.
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The correct way to install the stack pack zipper is to secure both ends of the zipper, usually the aft end is secured to the topping lift line near the end of the boom. The forward end is attached to the mast. The zipper can now be zipped with a light endless string lead through small blocks at either end of the zipper. When you pull on the line anywhere, it will pull the zipper toward the little blocks.
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Using a single winch for main halyard, main sheet, jib sheet, and reefing lines A and B can come back to bite you when you need to adjust more than one line. On a boat that is trying to maneuver quickly, like when you are racing or in a small harbor and have to quickly reef and adjust the sails, the single winch, which saves the boat manufacturer a lot of money, is a stumbling block for the sailor.
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The skipper commented that the boat was physically beating him up and I agreed. It has been a lot of work doing ordinary sailing procedures that on other boats follow more traditional layouts of equipment. This is a very popular boat, so I guess the paying customer must just go along with the layout and adapt.
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On this particular boat the GPS doesn’t communicate with the VHF radio or the autopilot. On older electronic units this is common, but new gear such as this boat’s should be properly installed and integrated. On this boat the radar was useless and the original chartplotter had a badly damaged screen so that it was unusable. Perhaps the interfaces were for this unit and not the new chartplotter in the cockpit.
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We were trying out the recently purchased CF-C1 laptop with a cheap U-blox GPS dongle and its display and functionality were preferable to the Garmin chartplotter. I did not bring the Getac, which would offer bright daylight viewing. The CF-C1 is difficult to see in cockpit in sunlight.
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The handheld VHF radio that Carpenter Ron gave me works better than the VHS radio installed in this boat’s nav station! The reception of the NOAA weather information is important to our planning and the little handheld outperformed the permanent installed radio. The permanent radio is a Raymarine with DSC, which requires NMEA GPS data, and the handheld is an old (now) Standard Horizon HX751.
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We did not have enough fuel to power our way into the headwind that was building. We could only go as far as Jacksonville by running one engine at a time. The Lagoon 380 comes with 26 gallons of diesel fuel tankage for each engine. The fuel consumption depends on how hard the engine is run. The lowest figure I found was .6 gallons/hour. Running into a headwind will of course use more.
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The skipper intervened. We had 4 5 gallon jugs of diesel that we could add to the fuel tanks. He calculated how much fuel we may have used in the starboard engine, which was the lowest on fuel. Based on the fuel gauge, which I interpolated at 3/8 of a tank, we would need just under 15 gallons to top off that tank. The fuel fill was located on the “sugar scoop” stern where the steps to climb down to go swimming are. It would be dangerous to go down there and try to pour from a heavy diesel jug into that fuel fill. It was at an angle, very awkward. Skipper clipped onto his harness and the lifeline stanchion, poured into a funnel I was holding over the fuel fill. Now I understand how a boat can be found floating with no one on it. Maybe they were trying to fill a fuel tank out on the sugar scoop.
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It ended up taking 3 jugs, more than I thought, and the decision was, do we start pouring in the fourth jug to see how much fuel was actually used in that engine, or do we save that jug for an emergency that might come up later. We saved it. Soon we were underway running both engines at 2500 and speeding along just under hull speed at 6 1/2 knots. Jacksonville sea buoy was 107 miles ahead.
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The sea was flat, almost no wind. The forecast was for SE 5-10 increasing to 15 and clocking South. The weather system was coming from the South, so after we got fuel we would be slogging down the East coast of Florida, either offshore, or in the ICW.
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We coordinated so that the skipper would be on watch when we came into port in the morning. He was familiar with the channel and I had never seen it. He would be on watch from 10 PM to 2 AM and I would take the 2 AM to 6 AM and also be standing the 6 PM to 10 PM the evening before. I planned to make breakfast after I got off watch. I would of course be tired.
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We ran down the line to the sea buoy at Jacksonville. It was no longer stormy, indeed there was almost no wind. The only wind was the air coming over the deck due to our motion, motoring. After standing the evening watch I fell asleep. My cell phone was dead and I use that as an alarm clock, so I left the compartment light on in my bunk. The skipper could wake me for my watch without having to search in the dark. Several times I woke up, thinking I was sleeping in the cabin on the settee. Why was he turning the lights on in the cabin? Then I remembered and fell back to sleep.
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I was very groggy when the skipper said, “You’re on”. Fatigue from the get go. Keep awake somehow. Walk around on deck. I did get some energy from seeing the chartplotter count down the miles to the waypoint at the sea buoy. I didn’t make breakfast after getting off watch. I crashed out in the bunk, dog tired. I never got to see the Jacksonville entrance.
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We motored up the ICW from the St. John’s River to Jacksonville Beach. I made super egg toasties with bacon for breakfast. We tied up at Beach Marine and fueled up, taking note of how much fuel we had to replace in each tank. The calculation was that we were burning about a half a gallon of diesel per engine per hour. We then shifted the boat into a slip near the gas dock. It was a very tricky maneuver and I complimented the skipper, “It’s evident that you were a race driver”, which he was.
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After all the lines, fenders, and calling around for local services, we were quite tired. My phone was dead, but somehow it had recharged enough to send a text to Capn Neil of Catnapper, an old friend that was living aboard in Jacksonville Beach. To my surprise he was in Beach Marina and took us out to lunch at a good restaurant. We watched some auto racing on one of the flat screens, it was also a sports bar.
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Thunderstorms came through and we will hunker down till tomorrow. The image is the calm after the storm, taken the day before sailing into Jacksonville.

Oriental to Jacksonville Beach

08 October 2017 | Jacksonville Beach, FL
Capn Andy/humid, thunderstorms
Day of departure, some commotion, the owners have two Portuguese water dogs that ended up getting into mischief, poking there noses everywhere, very attentive, and hindering the owners’ departure. Additional groceries were purchased. The comment was that at least we would eat well.
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The engines were started. Dock lines singled up, then removed and shifted, moving the catamaran backwards toward the end of the dock. Then all aboard, stow the fenders and lines, use the two engines to twist the boat around, now facing the channel out into the Neuse River.
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The catamaran motored along well at 2500 rpms making six and a half knots. Out the channel we went and set a course for Adams Creek, the Intercoastal Waterway channel from the Neuse River South to Beaufort and Morehead City where we could get out to sea. We experimented with running on one engine, only losing about a knot of boat speed, conserving fuel.
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We ran out the channel at Beaufort and set a course for clearance of Frying Pan Shoal. This would be between 210 and 230 true. We settled down at 222 true. The sun set. The skipper took a nap. The wind was light at about 5 knots over the port quarter. We had main and jib set but it didn’t look like the sails were adding anything to our speed, we were still making only about 5 1/2 knots.
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Setting the mainsail on this boat was a chore. The sailcover/stack pack was made by Doyle Sails and has lazy jacks that fan out from a common hoist. This puts about 6 lazy jack lines along the upper lip of the sail cover, so there are many places for the ends of the full battens to snag. Also the sail itself is hard to hoist because the batten cars that ride up a track on the mast don’t slide easily. Perhaps maintenance with silicone lube hadn’t been done.
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The sailing performance of this boat is subpar. We motorsailed on one engine that should push the boat, with engine alone, at about 5 1/2 knots, but we were doing only that with the help of the sails. Perhaps the bottom is dirty.
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The overnight sail was pleasant enough with a nearly full moon, fair weather, fair breeze, and following seas. These were optimal conditions, yet at daybreak off Frying Pan Shoals buoy we were already about 8 hours behind schedule, and the float plan was very conservative. The wind is going to clock around from East to South and be on our nose when we do the final leg down the East coast of Florida.
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Fuel consumption remains a question mark. The fuel gauges remain on full after running the boat for a day, mostly on one engine at a time. Some automobile fuel gauges do the same thing, remain on full for a long time, then plummet to empty. Owners learn the fudge factor to know what their tanks hold, we are on our own. We are beyond cell phone range and only high powered VHF radio is available to us.
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We altered course to head toward Brunswick, Georgia, to close the coast a bit and stay in VHF range. We were now about 50 miles off the beach and would close to about 25 miles over the 200 mile leg to the approaches to Brunswick.
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We were seeing very large swells coming from the East and the wind finally getting into the 10-15 knot range, as predicted. This only had us in the 6 knot range, hitting 7‘s now and then. Little Trillium, a 24 foot boat, would outsail this catamaran. We were seeing debris in the sea, mostly small plastic stuff, but along came a comfy chair, ready for someone to sit in it. Lots of sargassum.
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The calculation of drift for debris from the hurricane would go something like this, rate of drift about 1-2 knots following the Gulf Stream, range up to 1000 miles, so, about 3 weeks of drift up to and off of Cape Hatteras, storm was just over 3 weeks ago, gotta keep our eyes open.
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Rain squalls formed out to sea towards the Gulf Stream and headed our way. A ship came out, probably from Charleston, and sailed behind the squalls emerging from the other side, heading North at a good rate of speed. We altered course to try to avoid the squalls, turning left while the squalls were crossing in front of us, while we were headed Southwest. I saw more whitecaps in the vicinity of the squalls, so I removed the winch handle from the mainsheet winch. I could dump the main more quickly.
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The wind did increase and surprisingly so did our boat speed. No longer waddling along, the Lagoon spun up to 8 1/2 knots, then a spurt to 10 1/2. This is more like it, more like the performance you would expect from this boat. It looks like they are canvassed for the tradewinds of the Caribbean, the 15 to 25 knot range. In our 5-10 the Lagoon didn’t do very well. Now we were flying along, only a couple knots more of speed, but that makes all the difference.
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I can remember seeing dolphins in the Gulf of Georgia every time I’ve gone through here, much more than any other place. This time it was spectacular, my attitude was on the upswing as the boat tore along through the waves, and the dolphins did not disappoint. They carried on like frisky pups chasing each other, lining up on a big wave just like surfers line up, with the big kahuna in the #1 spot and the other surfers getting into the pecking order, then they would surf down the big wave right alongside the Lagoon. Water would splash up right next to the boat. The skipper would come up from his bunk, dripping, holding his wet pillow. “I’m so stupid, I left the hatch open and a wave came in and soaked me...”, he said. I explained how our pets were playing and splashed him. Ha ha.
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They stayed with us for a long time and then they were gone. I kept looking for a while to see if they would return.
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We discussed our strategy with a clocking wind pinning us in the Gulf of Georgia near the Florida border. We would head to Jacksonville and fuel up, even if we had plenty on board. The wind would become a headwind from the South and the current offshore is the Gulf Stream, also coming up from the South. We would expend quite a bit of fuel to make it down to Ft. Lauderdale, so we needed to be topped up, and hoped for undamaged fuel docks on the way, because we wouldn’t have enough.
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I had had a great day, lots of fun, with little sleep, but I felt fine. Then it hit me while I was making a pot of pasta. I was to eat and then sleep to prepare for the mid watch. I suddenly felt exhausted. The pasta was a strange concoction using some fresh noodles that looked like buckwheat or whole wheat, frozen meatballs that looked like dog treats, partially frozen onions sliced and cooked under half a jar of Prego sauce. The spices were strange in the boat’s cabinet, garlic salt was there, but no pepper, I had to use some “down home” local spice, a barbecue rub, and the total effect had me blurt out, “It’s suitable for any five star airline...”.
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After eating that, I could not sleep despite my exhaustion. The skipper took the evening watch, up to 10 PM. I came up on deck and found the wind had increased to almost 20 knots and we were smacking into a rough sea. It had rained while I was below. The wind was peaking around 18, then dropping to around 15. We discussed strategy with working sail up.
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It was foolhardy to drive someone else’s boat and perhaps break something when they were using us to make a safe passage. We were close reaching with the wind about 60 degrees off the port bow. I noticed one engine was still engaged from earlier when the wind was less. We killed the engine. The skipper decided to ease the mainsail out to depower it and use the jib alone for propulsion. The boat was making 8 knots.
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When the wind picked up into the 18 knot range I headed up a bit taking care to keep enough speed to maintain steerage. Eventually we were building a cross track error to the left, but we could work that out later by bearing off and sailing a lower course. The skipper didn’t want to go too far left because we would get caught in the Gulf Stream and probably lose 2 knots or so of speed over the ground.
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When the skipper left to go to sleep, I asked him to sleep in the deck cabin in case the wind increased. Sure enough, I tried to bear off in the lulls, but the wind did increase and remained in the 18 knot range. The seas also became rougher with heavy spray over the cabin. I saw the cabin light come on and the skipper went down below in both hulls to check things out. He found some water in the starboard hull, coming from the starboard escape hatch. European multihulls are mandated to have a hatch near the waterline that can be opened in the case of capsize of the catamaran. This one was leaking. It wasn’t below the waterline, but every large wave sent a small amount of water down into the starboard hull. We pumped the hull dry with the bilge pump and discussed what we should do next.
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I felt we could keep sailing as we were and just pump out as necessary. The forecast was for the wind to drop and head up when it clocked South. We could then bear off and keep speed up on a lower course. Eventually we would have to motor into the wind and furl all sails. The skipper decided to drop the mainsail and eliminate the risk of being overcanvassed if an unexpected increase of the wind happened. We prepared to drop the main by making sure the halyard, which is lead aft to the starboard winch in the cockpit, was flaked down fair and would run out without snags. The halyard rope clutch was released with the halyard secured on the winch. On the other side of the cockpit I had the mainsheet ready to release while I helmed into the wind. The engine was restarted.
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Our concern was that the mainsail went up the mast with difficulty, as though the batten cars were sticking in the sail track. If they didn’t slide down cleanly, we would have the main half up and half down. We would have to climb up on the cabin top with a boathook and pull the sail down one batten car at a time. Fortunately it came down cleanly and dropped into its sailbag/stack pack. A lot easier than when it went up. When I commented the skipper said I must have cleared out the track when I raised it. I was very grateful for him to stay on deck at around midnight and coordinate the procedure so well.
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With the main down, boatspeed dropped way off, but we were much safer and still making good progress to the one gas dock we knew was still in business. Skipper came on watch at 2 AM and I slept to around 6.
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