Day Five - Little Shark River to Long Key
18 April 2021 | Long Key
Warren Renninger | Clear
The tent worked well. Between it and a no-see-um net on the fore hatch, I had a bug free night. I put on long sleeves, long pants, hat and gloves to get out to raise the anchor. Used the kellet to hold down the anchor rode and was really glad I did. With the changing winds, tides, and currents we pirouetted around the anchor all night. Without the kellet, the anchor line probably would have wrapped around the keel.
Pulled the anchor up easily as there was no wind or current at the time. There were however; a flock of no-see-ums, or whatever you call hundreds of the pests — so many you were spitting them out of your mouth. Too bad there is no other good stopping point from Marco to the Keys.
Enough about bugs, got underway about 7:00 with no wind and glassy seas. An hour later the wind picked up a bit but right on the nose. Finally about 11:00 the wnd shifted as did our course allowing full sails but only when motorsailing. When sailing very close to a headwind it is only a matter of 5 or 10 degrees from floundering along at 2 to 3 knots or properly filling the sails and getting 4 to 5 knots.
If just out for a sail you can adjust your course to take advantage of the wind. Or, you can tack back and forth to sail quickly but a much farther distance back and forth across the course to your destination. But if you want to get there in a reasonable time, you motorsail. Today I was averaging 2.8 knots under sail with a 5 to 10 knot breeze. Adding 1/3 throttle (about .3 gallons an hour) we were doing 5 knots on the shortest route to Long Key. The speed the engine adds actually helps the sails work more effectively. However you can’t motorsail directly into the wind as the sails just flap and cause drag and slow you down. Had I chosen to go Marathon today it would have been directly into the wind and I would still be out pushing the engine to get there.
Instead, we are anchored west of the Seabird Marina on the north side of Long Key. 40 miles today, 191 total. I have sliced a potato, 1/4 onion, and a jalapeño pepper to cook in a foil pack on the grill with a bacon wrapped steak. It’s a rough life. Tomorrow Boot Key Harbor at Marathon likely sailing along the north side of the Keys as the winds are still predicted from the south.