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38' Island Packet cutter rigged sailboat - sailed 20,000 nautical miles from New England to the Bahamas. Now with new owners Tim & Susan Tiefenbach
Ft. Pierce, FL N27° 28.112' W80° 19.459'
05/07/2008, 27 28.112N 80 19.459W

A short note tonight as I have things to do yet to get ready for an early start tomorrow. Almost no wind for the first 8 hours today so motored, then the last 2 hours the winds started to build. Go figure. Anyway, it was a beautiful day and I read Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" while listening to the drone of the motor. After I think about that one I will write about what it meant to me. Thanks for the book Nikki!

Ran into some people tonight who were pulling out as I was pulling in to the anchorage who spend their summers on Lake Champlain. And yesterday I met a woman from Rutland, VT which is where I lived last before skipping town. Talk about a small world!

Tomorrow's destination: Cape Canaveral. I checked NASA's launch schedule and it doesn't look like they are lighting any candles while I am there. Oh well ...

Lastly, here are a couple of pictures. Instead of a sunset, I thought I would share the sunrise I was greeted with this morning as I left Palm Beach. I think I have done enough sunsets (and sunrises) now and won't burden you with them unless there is something truly spectacular. And the other one is a boat whose owner wasn't paying attention during the part of the class on how to securely anchor your boat. He's my neighbor for tonight ...

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Palm Beach, FL (Lake Worth inlet) N26° 45.421' W80° 02.716'
05/06/2008, 26 45.421N 80 02.716W

It is interesting to watch the latitude (N26 change - I am truly making progress heading north! Check out this on Google maps. This is why I would never want to live down here. There is not a square inch not developed down here. Wall to wall houses. Oh well, it works for some people.

A couple more pics for you today. You guys might think I am nuts, but the picture of the guy on the catamaran is there because at one point I turned around and there he was, sailing right behind me in the same direction about 50 feet back. Never saw him coming. This was about 3 miles offshore. But you can also tell that it was a light wind day. Absolutely gorgeous, but it made for a slow day sailing. Slow that is, until I found something: the Gulf Stream. I must have been on the edge of it based on where the Navy Oceanography something or another that reports on these kinds of things says the center of it is today, but I was loping along at 4 knots hull speed when all of a sudden I looked at the GPS and I was doing 8.2 kts. This boat doesn't sail that fast, even with all conditions perfect. The difference of course was the current of the Gulf Stream carrying me along. Amazing! See Peter, I was listening! Anyway, I did that for about 3 hours and that really helped me make up time of when I was hardly moving at all. All told, I travelled 48 miles in exactly 8 hours, left Ft. Lauderdale at 0645 and arrived at the Lake Worth inlet at 1445. What a great day!

I also worked on a couple of projects at the end of the day. One was to adjust the nut where the propeller shaft exits the hull to slow down a drip that is supposed to happen (lubricates the cutlass bearing where the shaft travels through to the outside) and the other was to do the final run of the wires for the wind generator. I always hate doing that kind of thing on the boat because it means I have to do my Harry Houdini impersonation and fit my body into places it is not meant to be. Anyway, those things are both done and I am very happy about that.

The other picture is of a boat nearly identical to Kristinly which sailed beside me all day and even anchored in the same anchorage. His main sail furls into the mast, but other than that, it looks identical to Kristinly. I tried to hail him several times on the radio but no answer. I could see the name on the transom: Lady M and they are from Quebec. Maybe they don't speak English! Anyway, Lady M is nearly a mirror image of Kristinly and I saw them taking pictures of us also. It would be cool if they are traveling all the way back north (and they are nice people) to kind of hook up and sail together, assuming our plans would be the same. It will be interesting to see if they leave at the same time tomorrow. If they do, I will just drive up beside them and introduce myself. They can run but they can't hide!

I have made my plans for the next several days. I will sail 54 miles to Ft. Pierce tomorrow and spend the night there. Thursday will be a long day sailing 71 miles to Cape Canaveral. And then Friday will be the beginning of another overnighter, sailing 154 miles to the Saint Johns River. The weather forecast is very good, although fairly light winds, and so I will sail outside from inlet to inlet. I can make much better time that way by not having to deal with bridge openings and zing zagging through the ICW. This is all subject to change should the weather change, but that's the plan. As I have said many times to my colleagues at VCS, the only thing you know for sure about a plan is it's wrong. Being flexible enough to adapt to new circumstances is what kept me alive in the business world, and it sure as hell will help do that (literally) out here.

I need to take a shower - it was 86 degrees today and I was very hot and sweaty when working down below for two hours at the end of the day. I stink! I know, TMI!

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Ft. Lauderdale, FL N26° 06.311 W80° 06.705'
05/05/2008, 26 06.311N 80 06.705W

This place should look familiar to you on Google maps also since this is where I stayed on the way south. Anyway, the anchor is set and I am ready to go to sleep. All-in-all, it was a pretty uneventful trip. Made better time than I expected, travelling 120 nm in almost exactly 24 hours. Talked to a few interesting folks on the way down, and the trip through the Jon Pennecamp preserve in the Hawk Channel was intense enough that I was super vigilant. That kind of thing will keep you awake no matter how tired you are. The Hawk Channel is a marked "channel"" on the Atlantic side between the coast and the reef that lies between the ocean and the shoreline. In most places it is very wide, but this was a stretch about 10 miles long that was very narrow and I started it in the dark. Anyway, no problems - I made it! This was a good learning experience for me. More single handing of Kristinly is always good practice and I am getting more and more comfortable with that all the time. I know that makes some of you nervous. Navigation skills are getting better. But also, I learned what it takes to stay alert for that amount of time. And as much as anything, I think what went well is I took no chances and was conservative in my decision making.

Time to hit the sack.

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Key Largo N25° 12.443’ W80° 18.531'
05/04/2008, 25 12.443N 80 18.531W

Making great time now that I am on a northeast heading and the winds are SE. Beam reach with 15 - 20 kt. winds and 1 - 2 ft. waves. Been at this since 1400. Very gusty earlier and heeled over 25 - 30 degrees until I could reef the main. The great news is I haven't broken anything yet. EVERYTHING is stowed and/or tied down! It doesn't get much better than this. I have covered 60 miles so far and the winds are starting to lighten up a bit, so progress is likely to slow. Just heard about a water spout forming off Boca Chica Key down by Key West. Glad I am out of there! Feeling great and going to push on through the night and expect to make it to Ft. Lauderdale. Actually, if I can keep up this pace, I will be passing Miami around 0200 and I don't want to go in there at night anyway.

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Eastbound from Boot Key N24° 42.244’ W80° 58.290’
05/04/2008, 24 42.244N 80 58.290W

Departed Marathon at 0700 just as the sun was rising, and a very beautiful sunrise at that. Winds were 15 - 20 kts SE and seas 3 - 5 ft. Pretty much as advertised. What little wind there is now is shifting east and calmer seas. Making 4 - 5 kts motor sailing now and hoping the breeze freshens. It feels good to back out. I was going a bit stir crazy sitting in Marathon for a week, even though I worked on a lot of projects. The best one was putting up the wind generator. It was a bit unwieldy and really was a two person job, but through perseverance and a little McGyvering, I got the job done. Still need to route the wires up to the batteries, but will have plenty of time while bobbing around out here.

Still planning to sail overnight and make Miami or Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow, and that depends mostly on the wind. Will wrote some along the way. Two dolphins just swam by - a good omen, I think. :-)

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Update from Marathon, FL N24° 42.400’ W81° 05.381’
05/01/2008, 24 42.400N 81 05.381W

Not much to say other than I got on the maid to clean things up around here. It was beginning to look rather slovenly, so the decks were swabbed, the heads cleaned, and all looks shipshape again. The maid's not much to look at but is good with a mop, so no walking the plank yet ...

Parts are scheduled to arrive Friday so I can finally mount the wind generator. The solar panels have been fabulous, but not quite enough to keep the batteries charged the way they should be, particularly overnight, and I believe that is partly because I have inadequate battery capacity. It comes up just a little shy, so the addition of the wind generator should do the trick - as long as there is wind. I am also going to add two more batteries to the existing three.

The closer to the weekend we get, the more believable the weather forecast. It is looking like Sunday will be the time to leave. As of now, I am planning to sail through to at least Miami (100 miles), if not Ft. Lauderdale (130 miles). That will be my first run overnight single handing it and am excited at the prospect. I am sure I can easily stay up for 24 to 30 hours without too much trouble, and both of these ports will give me safe harbor to pull into and rest up while at anchor. This will be a good test run to see what it takes, and what I am capable of doing, before I try anything longer in both distance and duration. And the weather is forecasted to be pretty mild, so I feel good about this from a safety point of view.

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Who: Captain Randy Kruml, 1st Mate Nikki St Mary
Port: Mallets Bay, VT
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