To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

2021 Southbound Phase III, Version 4

Yes. I know it's 2022. But our Red Ranger seasons work from May to May, so we're in the 2021-2022 season.

(And. Phase III? Yes. Phase I was get to Charleston. Phase II was leave the boat for a long time to take the train to California. Phase III is get to Dinner Key. We have Phase IV-A and Phase IV-B for two alternatives after that. I suggest you can't over-plan, but I have a lot of plans.)

We had things we wanted to do today, but they didn't all work out. We have a problem with our fancy new dinghy.

First, however, our plans. We're heading south. After reviewing the charts I'm not interested in heading toward Daytona from the Ponce De Leon inlet. I'd much rather go to New Smyrna Beach. It's closer. And it's pretty nice, if we can find room to anchor.

We've been to New Smyrna before. 28 Jan 2014. Here's the picture of my little blue anchor location on my chart.

Section of Nautical Chart
Anchorage in New Smyrna Beach

We liked it here in 2014. There was a park with a dinghy dock and a coffee shop that was a pleasant walk.

After getting pounded by wind going one way and seas going another on the 9th of Feb, we've got a new, new plan. We'll start the 11th. It looks like this:

  1. St. Marys to Ponce de Leon Inlet (New Smyrna Beach). 114nm 18h. This will be a mid-day departure to avoid arriving at night. There's a bridge at our arrival, which opens on the hour and half-hour; so we need to navigate accordingly when we arrive.

  2. Ponce de Leon Inlet to Port St. Lucie Inlet (Stuart). It's possible to start the day with refueling at New Smyrna Beach Marina; they open at 06:00 and still make it without a risk of running out of daylight. 140nm. 23h. The alternative is several days down the ICW. It's not bad in N Florida. (N of Jacksonville the ICW is a right awful mess because of the huge tides through S. Carolina and Georgia.)

  3. St. Lucie to Government Cut (Dinner Key). 100nm. 16h. NOTE mid-day departure required to avoid arriving at night.

We're thinking that short overnighters are a sensible response to sailing in the dead of winter.

So far, the weather seems like it might be acceptable. 2-3' seas. Mostly from the E at 7kt to start. Overnight, NE backing to NW at 2-9 knots. Saturday, NW at 8-9 knots as we arrive.

As of 13:00 on Thu10, the forecast for North Florida is this: "L&V/0-2' tonight-Sat12". Light and variable from Thursday night to Saturday. After that, we'll transition to the central Florida forecast area.

The New Dinghy Problem

Our fuel line leaks. The metal fitting onto the gas can has — it appears — started to fail and it dribbles gasoline. Ugh.

I had what I thought might be a spare fuel line. It came with the boat. It was at least 10 years old. It's more likely 15 years old. The hose cracked. Broke. Like a stick. So. Nope on that.

I think I had cannibalized that fuel line when I made the new fuel line back in 2011. I'm not surprised the 10-year-old fitting has developed a drip. Since we can't easily go ashore, we need to consider finding a marina. Maybe in New Smyrna area where we can buy a fuel line (and a spare.)

For now, we remain anchored at 30°46.255′N 081°28.264′W.