s/v Far Niente - Cruising Log

Spring 2015 - The Florida Keys

11 March 2015 | Marathon, FL
19 February 2015 | Marathon, FL
09 January 2015 | Vaca Key - Marathon, FL
10 December 2014 | West Palm Beach, FL
01 December 2014 | West Palm Beach
20 November 2014 | West Palm Beach, FL
05 October 2014 | Port Royal, SC
24 February 2014
17 February 2014 | South Carolina
01 June 2013 | Port Royal Landing Marina
16 May 2013 | Anchored Cocoa, FL
26 April 2013 | Marathon, FL
21 December 2012 | Harbour Cay Club, Marathon, FL
07 December 2012 | Mooring #30, St. Augustine Municipal Marina
31 August 2012 | Dataw Island Marina, SC
13 June 2012 | Conch House Marina, St. Augustine, FL
08 June 2012 | New Smyrna Beach, FL
03 June 2012 | Harbour Isle Marina, Ft. Pierce, FL, USA
29 May 2012 | Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End

Lake Worth to Marathon

09 January 2015 | Vaca Key - Marathon, FL
ABOVE: Sunset over the Channel 5 Bridge, Matacumbe Key

Jan-1, Leg 1: West Palm to Biscayne Bay (73 nm in 10:40)

Weather looked good enough so we departed Lake Worth on New Year’s day and headed south some 73 nm to Biscayne Bay via Government Cut (Miami). Rain chased us right up until we headed in Government Cut. Easterly to southeasterly winds made pure sailing difficult if we were to set anchor by nightfall. The Yanny cranked away.

Once inside GovCut, the traffic was, well this is Miami, heavy. Recreational boats everywhere in every direction. There is also dredging underway of Fisherman’s Island and of course a freighter was in the process of repositioning as we headed toward the ICW.

We finally passed under the Rickenbacker bridge and made for the anchorage known as ‘Nixon’s Harbor’ just west of Key Biscayne. There were quite a few boats there as we dropped anchor, but it is a large space and we had more than enough room to set anchor and relax. At least we thought we did until the very large motor yacht about 75 yards to our south began blaring music at an unfathomable volume. Not only was it loud, it sounded like fingers nails on a chalk board. Not really sure which middle eastern dialect it was but if I didn’t know better I would think they were having an al Queda birthday party or New Year’s celebration.

Fortunately about 2 hours after sunset the yacht departed.

Jan-2, Leg 2: Biscayne Bay to Matacumbe (74 nm in 10:37)

We hauled anchor just before dawn and motored toward the infamous ‘Stiltsville’ channel that connects the Atlantic with Biscayne Bay. With only partly cloudy skies, we finally could feel some of the wonderful Florida sunshine. As we motored further south and west wind direction (15-20 knots) allowed us to carry the full genoa quite well and we got a good boost in boat speed. We needed it. This shaped up to be another day when we’d used every bit of daylight if we wanted a secure anchor by night fall.

Just past Key Largo large numbers of the infamous crab/lobster pot floats began to appear. Anyone who has traversed the Hawk Channel has encountered these and they are maddening as it always appears there is one on the bow. From that point on there was quite a bit of hand steering while paying constant attention to the waters ahead.

We made the turn and headed under the Channel 5 65’ bridge. If you haven’t been through the bridge before, be aware that the fendered section is west of what is shown on many electronic navigation charts. I was running both a CMAP NT+ chart and Navionics on the iPad as we approached the bridge and both were directing me to the wrong section.

We passed under the bridge and headed northeast toward Matacumbe Key. Forecast winds were ESE to SE 20 knots for overnight, so we wanted to get in the lee of Matacumbe. We dropped the anchor amongst a collection of crab pots about 3/4s of a mile off the Key. There was an immediate and very good set. I mention this because in past layovers in this area we had been to Matacumbe Bight, large with less than average holding, and Jew Fish Hole. The holding here was excellent in about 8’ of water. Also note that when tide is rising there is quite a bit of current through here. On the falling tide not so much.

Jan-3, Leg 3: Matacumbe to Vaca Key / Harbour Cay Club (32.7 nm in 4:37)

This was the least fun leg of the trip. Fortunately it was short. Winds were steady SE 19-22 knots with gusts over 27 knots. Seas were on our port quarter stern 3-6’. We hauled out a handkerchief of the genoa and plowed through the water at just under 8 knots most of the way to Marathon. The swells and waves, when they combined just right, gave us some fairly extreme pitching and rolling as we motorsailed along.

Our destination was first the Moser Cut / 7 mile bridge. As we approached I was beginning to wonder if the seas would make traverse of the bridge untenable due to the severe rolling. As we made the turn up the channel marked out for Moser Cut, the seas flattened out and we entered the Florida Bay without incident.

Forty five minutes later we pulled into Harbour Cay Club, tied off and relaxed.

Next up: BOAT PROJECTS - I have a bunch of them.
Vessel Name: formerly - Far Niente
Vessel Make/Model: formerly - Island Packet 45 (#33)
Hailing Port: Beaufort, SC
Crew: Marjorie and Jeff Graham
About: CRUISERS June 2010 to May 2015.
formerly - Far Niente's Photos - Main
A collection of photos from spring in the Bahamas
6 Photos
Created 1 April 2012
4 Photos
Created 26 January 2012
A collection of photos taken along the way as we made our way from the Chesapeake to South Carolina
17 Photos
Created 9 November 2011
Pictures of the newly installed cockpit grate.
10 Photos
Created 7 July 2011
Photos of JFK's Presidential sailing yacht, Manitou
10 Photos
Created 26 June 2011
Photos of the various places we are stopping as we make our way back north for summer 2011.
3 Photos
Created 28 April 2011
A collection of photos, including some from the Turtle Hospital.
5 Photos
Created 26 March 2011
Pictures of a variety of projects underway or completed on Far Niente
3 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Photos from the Florida Keys.
19 Photos
Created 19 February 2011
Photos from Florida 2011
10 Photos
Created 1 February 2011
First batch of pix from our stay in Beaufort and a few from our previous stop, Charleston. Maybe the 2 best stops the entire journey.
18 Photos
Created 2 December 2010
We really like Georgetown.
12 Photos
Created 10 November 2010
A couple photos taken by Tom Jones (original owner of Far Niente when it was Christiana) Tom was on a fall delivery on a Grand Banks Eastbay 38 from the Great Lakes to Annapolis. On a very windy, cool early Sunday morning 50 miles north of Annapolis, they were motoring south on the Chesapeake at 23 kts and just happened to spot us exiting the Sassafras River headed for Annapolis for the sailboat show. What are the odds? A chance but great encounter none the less.
2 Photos
Created 1 November 2010
2 Photos
Created 17 October 2010
Photos from our stop at Cape May, NJ
10 Photos
Created 27 September 2010
Photos from our stop in NY and NJ (Liberty Landing)
5 Photos
Created 14 September 2010
A selection of photos from our stay in Troy and Catskill, NY including stepping our mast.
18 Photos
Created 10 September 2010
10 Photos
Created 20 August 2010
5 Photos
Created 19 August 2010
A couple of pictures of our ongoing excellent dining experience and the Credit Village Marina we are staying at
10 Photos
Created 11 August 2010
A few photos from Port Dalhousie.
6 Photos
Created 9 August 2010
Pictures from our transit of the Welland Canal, down bound from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario
11 Photos
Created 9 August 2010
Photos from our leg from DeTour to Lake St. Clair
8 Photos
Created 27 July 2010
A couple pix from our stop at DeTour.
2 Photos
Created 24 July 2010
Photos from the Mack Island and the after regatta party
7 Photos
Created 20 July 2010
Collection of photos from June 22 to July 17 from our travels around Charlevoix, Beaver Island and Mackinaw.
17 Photos
Created 18 July 2010
A few photos of some of the things we changed/added to Far Niente in the summer of 2009.
3 Photos
Created 3 April 2010
5 Photos
Created 21 March 2010
Interior photos for friends and family who have not been aboard....YET!
18 Photos
Created 22 February 2010
Pix from the summer 2009 sailing season
8 Photos
Created 21 February 2010