Back Home in Southport Marina
27 August 2019
Robert & Alice Smith
We left Southport Marina in early September 2017, planning a two your journey to the Western Caribbean. After traveling some 10,700 miles we are now back in our slip on "E" dock.
We spent close to year in the Western Caribbean touring and waiting out the hurricane season. Then we sailed across the Caribbean Sea to again experience the Windward and Leeward Islands with our favorite Antigua; quite a trip.
All alone Alice was consistent and persistent in her desire to be back by September 3 or 4. We had also decided to join two Ocean Cruising Club rallies, Chesapeake Bay and Southern New England. Participating in these was important for the camaraderie and friendships with cruisers we'd met from England, New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, the US and Australia. We also were blessed by a visit from our daughter Diane and her four boys. Seven or so days cruising with three adults and four boys was one of many highlights of our time on LB.
When Di left, it was July 11th and Kenosha, WI was a long way away. All-the-while in my mind was Alice's desire to be back. So I started pushing us. With only two planned stops, New York City and to visit my brother's family in Buffalo we were going every day. Some days only 30 miles, some over one hundred, stopping though when we were tired or the weather wasn't right.
We tend to do more night time sailing. We are comfortable with our rotation schedule and we can cover more miles. We left Buffalo on August 11th and arrived in Southport at 2300 August 25th. Our last sail was from Ludington, MI to Kenosha, just over 100 miles with a weather window pushing us to be in safely before midnight on the 25th. After that the wind was forecast to build out of the SE to almost gale force, not our cup of tea. Fortunately for us, the winds were forecast to be easterly fairly constant throughout our planned passage. We set off around 0730 from Ludington and had one of our better sails right up until we were just passing Racine. The winds turned SE and started building. With some 7 or 8 miles to go we rolled the jib and power sailed with a reefed main. By the time we reached the Southport breakwater it was blowing pretty hard. Alice being the sailor she is went out of the enclosure and rolled up our main while LB rock and rolled in the building 3 to 5 waves. We maneuvered through the breakwaters, and I circled LB while Alice prepared the fenders and dock lines, not so easy do to the winds and tight quarters inside the marina, but after a few circles we were tied up at the gas dock, we had achieved Alice's, and my, goal of being home before September 4th.
Lucky Bird is quite the boat. She served us so well for all though 10,000 plus miles and afforded us so many cruising experiences that will be with us forever.
It may be interesting to see how we transition from life on the water to land based living. I'm sure our friends and family will contribute to making it a quick adjustment. I'm a sailor at heart and will surely miss the challenges of long term cruising. It's truly been a marvelous experience and I am thankful for Alice as my cruising partner and LB as our home away from home.
I encourage all you sailors and boaters who may have a yearning to explore, do cast off and head out there. You will be rewarded beyond your expectations for doing so.