Saturday, April 14, 2012

Snug Harbors

After that beautiful sail from Cape Canaveral, we dropped the anchor just a few feet from Moonshadow's last time here at Ft. Pierce Inlet when George and Merima brought her from Ft. Lauderdale to Jacksonville.  With 60 feet of chain out in ten feet of water, we held all night but the strange thing was Moonshadow rode with the strong ebb current, not the 17 knots of wind, so the breeze came down the companionway while anchored.

The next morning we left on another ebb tide, which proved to be less than ideal.  The stong ebb current clashed with the seas left over from all night winds in the high teens and the morning breeze of about 15 knots.  This made navigating the channel at the inlet like running rapids with several standing waves of 5-6 feet.  Moonshadow handled things just fine, but we learned a big lesson as Deb dashed below to close the hatch in the stateroom and forward head: always close all the hatches when getting underway.  Of course we already knew this, but Southern California sailing can make you a little complacent.  

I watched wave after wave board Moonshadow's foredeck, washing back to the mast before pouring over the gunwales wondering how Deb was fairing below.  Poor Deb finally emerged from below drenched from head to toe and practically in tears!  She secured the hatch over the stateroom before the first wave, but couldn't reach the hatch in the forward head and was tossed all around trying to push up on the hatch with one hand and remove the plastic bottle, used to prop the hatch open, with the other hand, all while standing on the toilet in the pitching forward end of the boat.  Definitely in need of some serious hugs!  What a great crew I have.  

The rest of the day seemed to be a payback for the glorious sail we'd had the previous day.  We had a good breeze, but it had clocked too far south to really sail, so again we motorsailed, this time rail down, the whole way to LakeWorth Inlet.

The day had a bit of everything, from beautiful "sun dogs"...

... to a drenching rain squall with raindrops the size of grapes, then 25 knots of wind, gusting higher.

Fortunately, we learn quick and got everything put below, threw a reef in the main and rolled up the jib before the weather hit.  Soon after the squall passed, we made the sea buoy to Lake Worth Inlet, and found a nice spot to drop the hook and review the day.

But first, Friday the 13th still had some games in store for Moonshadow's hearty crew: it took us four attempts to get the anchor to hold.  I think the bottom here is a hard, sandy clay, from what we saw on the anchor as it came up each time.  The trick that seemed to finally work was to just drop the anchor on the bottom, let out the chain and wait 5 minutes before backing down.  This seemed to let the anchor slowly bury itself.  After waiting, we backed down and held firm.  Anyway we woke up this morning right where we were last night despite 20 knots whistling in the rig all night.  Not long after dawn, a pretty Swan 51 named Concerto pulled in with crew in full foulies, dropped their anchor, dragged, pulled, dropped, dragged, etc. four times.  I feel better.

The wind isn't letting up today so we've decided to have a day on the hook and do as little as possible.  Ft. Lauderdale can wait!

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