Safe Arrival in Marathon
18 April 2013 | Marathon Marina and Boatyard
Jill in Texarkana
I was waiting until about 4 PM Eastern Time to call Bud. I didn’t want to call in the morning, thinking he may be sleeping after taking his turns at the helm during the night. I thought they’d be getting in to Marathon sometime before 4 PM and didn’t want to call as they were coming in to the marina. After Adler fell asleep for his nap, I came in to check my email and there was an email from Gary with the subject “Arrived”. The email consisted of just this image of Earendil safely secured at the dock at the Marathon Marina and Boatyard.
I called Bud. They had come in, fueled up and were safely tied up at the dock by 2 PM. I figure they must have made it to Marathon about 1 PM. Doing my down and dirty plotting I got about 138 nm for that last leg of the trip (since I got the position information yesterday) so they averaged about 6.7 knots. Bud said the most interesting part of the trip was cutting in front of Miami at night. There were a number of freighters anchored and a lot of fishing boats, anchored and otherwise. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) was on the electronic chart. When a boat is within a set range it gives an alarm. All boats with AIS transponders show up as wedges on the chart, and clicking on a wedge will bring up a display of the vessel information, including length, direction of travel, speed and most importantly, time and distance of closest approach. The alarm sounded as they were crossing the main channel into Miami and Bud identified a tug that was not going to be an issue. The alarm sounded again; again it was the tug. Well, Bud had left the cursor highlighting the wedge for the tug. He didn’t realize until he glanced over his shoulder that the alarm was in response to a freighter bearing down on them and now only about a quarter mile away. Bud quickly removed them from the freighter’s path, and was reminded yet again to never rely totally on your instruments.
The wind did clock from the NE to the SE as predicted and in the middle of the night came forward enough, and was strong enough that they were able to shut the engine down. Then the wind continued to move to the south until it got too close to the front of the boat and after about 4 hours they started to motor again. As you start down along the Keys you turn gradually west, so that for the last three hours before they turned in towards Marathon they were able to sail again. Coming in to Marathon the wind was again on the stern, so they pulled the jib in.
Of course, after fighting light winds the whole trip, the wind was blowing pretty hard when they finally reached the marina. But Bud was able to pull up to the fuel dock, and then move and pull up to their assigned dock without tearing the fenders off the lifelines on the pilings along the dock.
They were all tired and happy to be there. Bud had just told Rick he was going to go back in the aft cabin, give me a call and take a nap when I called.
Looking at the picture of Earendil again in clear blue water has finally made me jealous. I’ve felt bad that I wasn’t there to help Bud. And honestly, I would rather be on the boat and working on it than not on the boat at all, but I mostly worried about Bud doing all that work on his own, with only the help that Gary was able to lend when his schedule permitted. And moving the boat far and fast, going day and night, has never been my kind of sailing. But I have always wanted to sail the boat in the Keys. I lived about two or three miles from the other end of the Seven-Mile Bridge for two winters a long time ago (with Gary, when we were married, actually, but that’s another story) and I have always loved the Keys. Now Bud and Earendil are in the Keys and I’m in Texarkana and I’m jealous. I hope Bud likes it there enough to want to go back under more leisurely circumstances.
Anyway, sitting here in Texarkana thinking about them, I’ve parsed out the trip about every way possible. By my calculations they went about 365 nm from the cut at St. Augustine in about 52 hours, making their average speed 7 knots. And that includes going in to Lake Worth to fuel up and pump out! Bud bought 55 gallons of fuel on that first stop and although I don’t have the exact mileage traveled in St. Augustine, testing the prop and going around the city and out the cut, I figure they got just about 4 nm per gallon. Not great, but they were pushing hard.
And Earendil again came through, fast and safe as she always is!