Key West bound
16 December 2011
Salty Daze sailed from Sarasota Bay this morning in route to Key West. I was forced to skip this trip due to a recent rib-cage injury inflicted by our little blue rowboat's solid oak rubrail. (Actually it was inflicted by my own impulsive grab for an item that fell overboard) Aboard for the trip are Alaina & Scott, Lissie, Marina & Sean, and Sally. I bought a Spot Messenger and sent it along so we could follow the journey from our computer screens at home. The trip South was slow due to near-total lack of wind so the Perkins 4-108 ran for most of the 30+ hours. The Gulf was flat as a mirror. Fuel was running out as they approached the Northwest Channel Inlet and Perky began to sputter. Scott shut her down and they tried to sail/drift to Key West but the wind just wasn't there. After attempting to motor on the engine died and Tow Boat US was dispatched to bring out fuel and/or tow them in. Finally, at anchor near Wisteria Island, the wind kicked up just in time to make rowing across the channel to Key West nearly impossible. But Scott & Sean rowed. And rowed and rowed and rowed until all were ashore.
The trip back home was a whole different story. 25 to 30 knots of wind and 6 to 8 foot seas that beat the crew and boat into exhaustion. The roller furler jammed and my although my recent repairs to the jib held up, the fabric of the old sail announced that it was finished. Numerous tears developed near the leach and it is clearly time to say goodbye to that sail. After repeated fuel filter problems and with a ripped and non-functional jib, Tow Boat US again came to the rescue with a late night tow into Marco Island. Most of the crew jumped ship in Marco and Scott & Alaina motor-sailed her home to Ft Myers Beach the next day.