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

Week 20: St. Augustine Final Week

Time to finalize the provisioning for our trip south.

Starting to watch the weather more carefully.

Starting to put stuff away. We've been leaving things laying around; it's time to start stowing things for our offshore passage.

28th. Monday.

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

Picked up our Amazon.com order of food. Yes. You can order food from Amazon and have it shipped directly to your marina.

/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0882.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0882.jpg

The GoPro Hero3 parts arrived today, also. Head strap, pole clamp, some lanyards and bases. This allows us to put the camera on a lifeline stanchion or a boathook. Looking forward to gathering some video footage.

The crew of Bye Polar took us to Courtesy Gas to fill our 20# tank. We thought it was mostly empty—after all, the stove went out—but the guy at Courtesy noted that the tank was really half full. It was difficult to fill; he had to boost up the filler pressure to get the tank to fill. It's on it's last year before requiring recertification. Maybe we need to replace it?

Took the dinghy over to the Publix in Vilano beach to pick up the first pass of provisions. This was the non-perishable load. We'll go back on Wednesday for the perishable load. CA loads the shopping bags in the cart so we know that what we've got is something we can carry four blocks.

Dinner was fried eggplant. We don't have a deep, hot fryer, so it wasn't a keeper.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

29th. Tuesday

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0888.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0888.jpg

Got our new, huge 55# Rocna today. We were happy to get this hoisted onto the bowsprit with no mishaps. Bobbing under the bowsprit in the dinghy with a 55 pound piece of steel has a lot of opportunities for getting hurt. But we had no difficulties removing the 35# CQR, lowering the chain, and hoisting the Rocna out of the dinghy.

It looked so huge in the dinghy that we had serious "we should have measured this" kind of doubts. But it fit.

We also charged up the batteries for a few hours. We need to start gathering weather data for tentative departures on or after Friday.

Billy from Bye Polar called Chris Parker of Marine Weather Center for some advice on the near-term forecast. It sounds very good with several days of winds out of the N.

We took Syd from Perfect Partner to J. P. Henleys to celebrate the birth of his first grandchild.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

30th. Wednesday

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

Struggled with our Tecsun PL-660 radio. We should be able to receive the Caribbean Weather SSB broadcast. But we're just getting static. Tomorrow I'll try rigging the antenna much higher on the boat.

Here's the transmission schedule. (USB is Upper Side Band, AST is Atlantic Standard Time.)

WINTER: Effective during US Standard Time (November into March):

8137 USB 7:00am AST / 6:00am EST, 1100 UTC

4045 USB 7:30am AST / 6:30am EST, 1130 UTC

8104 USB 8:30am AST / 7:30am EST, 1230 UTC

12350 USB 9:30am AST / 8:30am EST, 1330 UTC

6221 USB 10am AST / 9am EST, 1400 UTC

We need to get the radio to work. Then we need to get into the habit of listening to this weather in the morning. We won't have cellular 3G network to get US NWS weather or Lee Chesneau's Marine Weather or Passage Weather or Wind Finder.

Currently, WindFinder for Friday to Monday involves winds from E, N and W, all perfect for our trip south. Wave heights Friday are biggish (5') but should moderate by Saturday. The forecast on Passage Weather shows winds N from 15 to 20 kn on Friday. Wave heights look to be 4'-6', smaller if we stay closer to shore and avoid the Gulf Stream.

The various NWS zones (AMZ454, AMZ550, AMZ552, AMZ555, AMZ651) provide comforting supporting details of moderate winds. They'll shift around from N to E and back to W. But they should help us get S in good order.

/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/photo-1.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/photo-1.jpg

Creola loaned us their car so that we could drive down to Winn Dixie and load up on heavy fresh-produce.

Plus, through Amazon Prime, CA has been ordering food online. It's handy to get a dozen cans of stuff we like delivered directly to the marina. No shopping trip in the dinghy.

Dinner was "Hopping John". Look it up.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

31st. Thursday

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

Still no joy from the Tecsun PL-660. It's highly rated in many online reviews. But we're not hearing SSB traffic. We can hear ordinary non-sideband transmissions. It mostly works. But it doesn't work for our specific use case of 4045 Khz upper side band.

Phil from Fundy Passage says we should definitely be receiving the 6:30AM transmission on 4045 Khz. If we're not getting anything, we may have bad interference from something on the boat. Or it may be that I'm not using the "SYNC" feature or tuning the BFO properly.

Also, the Tecsun charges on 6V DC. 6V? Really? Either I have to create a voltage divider; or I have to buy one. Or continue to chow down AA batteries. I think I can break open the 12V plug and solder in two resistors to make a voltage divider.

Phil suggests spending less than a hundred for a good Grundig. Something like the S350 runs on 12V DC and doesn't require a voltage divider or other chicanery.

Laundry today.

Billy from Bye Polar called to repeat Chris Parker's assessment of the trip from St. Augustine S to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. Friday: breezy. Saturday: the breeze will lay down and—if we're S of Cape Canaveral—may die off entirely. Sunday the breeze will pick back up again. All of it is more-or-less from the N.

Billy suggests we could duck in somewhere Saturday afternoon if it's flat calm: he finds ducking in is nicer than motoring through the night. Or. A better alternative might be to wait for Sunday and leave then, getting more consistent wind Sunday and Monday into Tuesday.

Today's big job is stowage. Living on the mooring ball for almost two months means that stuff is scattered all over the boat; just laying around on horizontal surfaces. Everything must be put away properly before we can move the boat. It will take hours to restow tools and spares and parts for upcoming projects.

I also decided to top off the house batteries just in case we don't leave on Friday but wait for Sunday. I've found that 48 oz. of gasoline will run the generator for almost exactly two hours. I need to be more careful out checking the Argus Battery Bug status before and after charging. I think that I need to put in 64 oz. of gasoline for a 3-hour charge as a more general strategy. But I haven't measured carefully.

Dinner at Pizzalley with Joie De Vivre, Creola, Bye Polar and Red Ranger.

Saw Lost in Yonkers at the Limelight theater. A delightful Neil Simon play.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

1st. Friday

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0897.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0897.jpg

After more conversations with Bye Polar, we've opted to leave Sunday with them.

Monday (off Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach) we'll have very light winds.

Tried the Tecsun SW radio again this morning. The SYNC option moved us up from simple static to garbled mumble-mumble. Mostly we found that the radio worked better when positioned near the mast. No clue why this would be true. Turning off various circuits to shut down potential interference reveals no improvement.

This Tecsun appears to be a lost cause.

In the PM, we did our nautical handicrafts.

CA made two pouches to hang behind the binnacle. They're far better than tossing binoculars and water bottles around the cockpit.

/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0896.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0896.jpg

I made pair of woven rugs to cushion or CQR anchor.

Years ago I found a great book called The Marlinspike Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith. It has numerous nautical handicraft projects that allow you to create enduring, useful and pretty things out of line.

These two mats, specifically are suggested as the ideal use for line that's too worn to use, but too good to simply throw away.

The circular design is suggested as a cushion to place underneath deck-mounted sheet blocks so that they don't clatter on deck when they're lazy (i.e., on the windward side.)

Nowadays, they put high-tech stainless-steel springs around the shackles of deck mounted blocks to keep them upright. Our four stays'l sheet blocks have springs instead of cushions. Our four yankee sheet blocks have little lanyards to hold them to the lower lifeline so they don't clatter. Not so pretty as little cushions made of old line.

Dinner on Bye Polar. We reviewed our charts of the Bahamas to learn more about the anchorages and destinations.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

2nd. Saturday

Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

Showers. Software updates: phone upgrade to iOS 6.1.

Mostly just hanging around thinking "is everything ready?" thoughts.

Dinner on Joie de Vivre.

And yes, everything seems ready.

Travel

Attribute Value
Arrive Moored at 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W

3rd. Sunday

Started from 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W, St. Augustine

Step 1: Go to the fuel dock. There, we can top off the diesel, top off the water, top off the two-stroke gasoline. We tried valiantly, but we missed the 8:30 bridge opening by 3 minutes.

Step 2: Out of the inlet. The low tide was about 8:00. Chugging out at 9:00 means that we're slowed by the incoming flood.

Once out to sea, step 3: turn south.

Seas were big, and kind of scary. Hence no photos. We sailed under yankee and mizzen until about noon. The wind slacked to nothing. We furled the yankee and started Mr. Lehman.

From noon until midnight, we motor-sailed with mizzen. Winds were nothing.

About 2200, CA felt the wind pick up, set the yankee, gybed the mizzen and headed up a bit to make a better angle with the breeze. It sent us a two or three miles further offshore than we had hoped, but faster can be better.

Dinner was a steaming bowl of Hopping Johnny.

Motor-Sailing at about 29°03.032′N 080°39.076′W

Travel

Attribute Value
Depart Mooring 29°53.03′N 081°33.15′W
Waypoint Motor-Sailing at about 29°03.032′N 080°39.076′W
Time 15 h
Distance ?

This Week

Engine Hours: 14. Diesel Gallons: 55. ICW Miles: TBD.

Books: Of Human Bondage, First Darling of the Morning, Playing with Fire: Chemical Companies, Big Tobacco and the toxic products in your home.

Read Aloud: A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire.

Travel

Attribute Value
Engine 14. h
Fuel 55. g
Distance TBD
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0878.jpg
/Users/slott/Documents/iWeb/Domain.sites2/IMG_0878.jpg