17 December 2018 | Stuart, FL
EVS: cool but sunny
When we were younger (so much younger than today [yes, we have been listening to the Beatles]), we used to “pull all-nighters” trying to learn all the material we were supposed to be studying throughout the semester in whatever course was involved. (We did that more in college than in graduate school — maybe we did learn something in college!). Nowadays, our all-nighters are not to study or cram materials, but to get something accomplished — a project, an assignment at work (when we were working), or, now, an all night passage from one destination to the next.
Yesterday morning, we left St. Augustine, FL at 7:30 AM (we actually left the mooring at 6:45 to catch the 7:00 Bridge of Lions opening) with the intention to get to Stuart (Port St. Lucie) FL after an overnight sail. Our departure from St. Augustine was uneventful, in the company of two other boats heading the same direction. The forecast was for winds around 10-15 knots or less, and we mostly got less, from the West-Northwest, favorable directions for southbound vessels. When we reached the outside of the harbor, the winds were in the 8-10 knot range from the West. The other boats raised their main and genoas, but we just used our genoa, which is much easier to douse (with that new roller furler we wrote about earlier) if the winds poop out, which they did. By mid afternoon, the winds had shifted to the south (not forecast) and dwindled to next to nothing. We furled the genoa while the other boats watched their main sails slat about with the wave action. We knew it was going to be a motor sailing trip, but then it looked like all motor.
As dark descended, the winds began to build and we set our sail again. By the time midnight rolled around, we were seeing steady 12-14 knots and at times over 17 (also not forecast). The winds were not an issue, but the wave action started to get a bit “active” so we pulled back on the throttle to reduce the surfing activity and allow the boat to settle more. While that cost us a bit of time, the ride was much easier and, at times, we had some really good speed, as witness the screen shot.
Dawn (grey light) at about 6:00 was most welcome and the wave action began to subside too. We arrived at the Stuart breakwater at 9:30, or 26 hours to cover about 180 miles. Not a bad days work [almost Beatles, but not quite]. The entrance to Stuart (St. Lucie Inlet) was dredged last May and really was a pleasant experience in contrast to the chart notes of danger. The worst part was the approach to the West with the wave action from the North, but once inside the breakwater, the water was very calm. It took us almost 2 hours to motor up into Stuart to the marina. Along the way, we marveled at the huge homes and the people who live there (or at least visit when they are not at another of their homes).
While this was not like our all-nighters of early days, we find this sailing life sure beats studying.