10 October 2012 | Key Largo, FL
I was up and ouitside the Port Everglades inlet when the sun came up. The conditions were about the same as the day before but there were a chain of squals that the NWS had NOT predicted. **sigh**
Furthermore, remember the adverse current I discussed yesterday that held my speed to 4.5 knots for several hours? Well, I would never have believed that I would miss that current. Today I had current on my nose that held my forward speed to 2-2.5 knots until almost noon. That is with both sails up and the engine running at 2800 RPM!
Then, I violated my own rule and paid for it. I was so annoyed by my slow progress that I decided not to take the sails down as a squall overtook me from the N/E. Normally, I always strike the sails when a squall approaches because you never really know what kind of winds are going to accompany the squall. They could be 15 knots or 70 knots.....
I convinced myself that this one "didn't look too bad." I should know better... Don't let impatience affect your judgement. "The sea floor is littered with the bones of optimists." This one started out with light rain and then BAM! Poor Norma was nearly knocked down. I then released the autopilot and she rounded up and pointed into the wind and righted herself. It took me about ten minutes to get the sails under control but I finally did. Nothing appeared to be broken but the cabin was a mess.
I honestly don't know the wind speed as I was too busy trying to stay in the cockpit and tame the sails to look at the gauge. My best guess would be 45 knots under full sail.... nice one captain!
Anyway, after that little adventure, I resumed plowing through the current. It finally started to relent as I neared Government Cut at Miami. By the time I was nearing Key Biscayne, I was doing 7 knots. Thats more like it! Unfortrunately the slow progress in the morning had really put me behind the 8 ball.
I pushed on to Key Largo even though I knew I was going to get there after dark. I continued to see squalls in the area for the rest of the day and stood ready to strike the sails if they got too close.
Since I had noticed the moon in the sky for most of the day, I knew there would be no moon in the evening. Sure enough, when I neared the approach channel it was pitch dark and the markers leading into the channel were not lighted. I've been through this inlet several times and its tricky, even in daylight. I rarely use my RADAR but it sure came in handy tonight!
I made it to the marina and got into my sllip unassisted, as the marina was already closed. (I arranged for the slip by cell phone in the afternoon when I saw that there was a good chance for storms overnight.) On to Boot Key Harbor tomorrow!
Here's a picture of the sunrise off Port Everglades.