First Offshore Passage
12 November 2004 | Miami, Florida
This was our first long sail-1,000 miles from New York down to Miami, Florida. We were joined by Chris' dad and a friend who both have a good deal of sailing experience. We left New York on October 30th on a very chilly Saturday morning. The first few days were cold and the wind did not cooperate. It went from no wind to high wind in the wrong direction. We did have a nice birthday celebration for Chris' on Halloween, complete with a fresh-baked chocolate cake.
On 11/3, we rounded Cape Hatteras, marking the end of the cold weather, but also our entry into the Gulf Stream. We now had pretty good wind, but about 3-5 knots of current against us at times. This made for a couple days slow, but very pleasant sailing. Dan pulled in quite a few mahis, which Dick would turn into an excellent ceviche each evening. We were also escorted by dozens of dolphins and a few turtles at times.
Throughout the trip, we did four hour on, four hour off watches, the highlights of which were instant coffee and listening to "Da Vinci Code" on CD. We hit some high seas again off the coast of Cape Canaveral. All of the tension caused us to lose steering and round up in 10 foot seas. We attached the emergency tiller and Chris crawled below and fixed the broken rudder cable in a matter of minutes. Good as new.
Because of the unfavorable sailing conditions, we had gone through most of our fuel and water, so we stopped in the quaint town of St. Fernandina, just south of Cape Canaveral. We filled up and got a few groceries at the mini-mart and were back on our way.
We had another brief scare when the depth meter showed 0 meters, when the charts were showing 30. After some very slow and timid sailing, we figured out that it was the Gulf Stream playing tricks of us and we had plenty of depth. We were now about 50 miles from Miami, and 7 days into the voyage, more anxious than ever to be on land. We battled high seas for the rest of that 100 miles, but arrived safely into the Miamarina just after sunset on Sunday, 11/7.
After cleaning up the boat, we went to Hard Rock Café, in the Marina. Talk about sensory overload after being offshore for a week, but it was a good meal nonetheless. The following night we splurged on a fantastic meal at Joe's Stone Crab before getting on a jet back to New York.