Andante's Sailing Blog

December 2013

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Sunday, December 1, 2013 Diana Flies back to CA
OOoops. It always pays to look closely at your travel details, especially if someone else has made the arrangements. For a bunch of reasons Diana missed her flight back to CA. Fortunately we found a Virgin Atlantic flight departing only two hours later than the one on which she thought she was scheduled. All is well that ends well.
Monday, December 2, 2013 Arbitration Hearing
Today I appeared as an expert witness on behalf of IAFF Local 22 in their contract dispute with the City of Philadelphia. More at a later date. A brief summary is that the City member of the panel was abusive and insulting. He an the IAFF attorney engaged in a shouting match. The neutral arbitrator had to intervene. The City has decided that they will rebut part of the presentation on 12/10 and the rest when I can't be available. The latter part is contrary to what both sides had agreed.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 A Visit to Temple University
Went to campus today to make another stab at straightening out the email problem created when the operating system on my PC was 'upgraded.' Also met with George Lady to talk about our ongoing research on the question of model falsification and verification.
Saturday, December 14, 2013 Cooper River Marina, Charleston, SC

On 12/12 I flew back to Charleston. The IAFF Act 111 arbitration is not staying on schedule. Our side agreed to do the entirety of its economic testimony on 12/2 with the undertanding that the City would reply in the entirety on 12/10. The City reneged on part and announced that Robert Inman would wait until 12/16 when I would not be available. On 12/10 there was some snow in Philadelphia. After some hemming and hawing the hearing was canceled and the City announced that its witnesses would not be available on 12/11, a previously agreed upon hearing date. Now it appears that I will be asked to return to Philadelphia on 1/14. This goes beyond inconvenient. As result of staying in Philadelphia until 12/12 for hearings that didn't happen I am now in the position of having to rush south so that I can be in Ft Lauderdale for Diana on 12/28. To do so I will have to run the boat nearly every day until I get there. This is a bad idea.

My plan is to leave Charleston tomorrow morning and sail offshore through to ernandina Beach, FL. The trip should take about 27 hours.

Meanwhie, the new SiriusXM tuner arrived and I have put it in and activated it. The new staysail has arrived and is ready for use on those windy days sailing to windward. Sometimes even gentlemen have to sail to windward.

12/16/2013 Charleston, SC to Fernandina Beach, FL

Sunday morning at 6 AM I left the dock at the Cooper River Marina, SC for the offshore sail to Fernando 9 Torresina Beach, Fl. Of course it was dark and on the water we don’t have street lights and a double yellow line down the street to separate traffic. On departure there was a 1,000 foot bulk carrier coming up the Cooper River and a flock of tugs running down the river to meet the next commercial ship coming in. To make matters more interesting (?) there was a light drizzle. In the early afternoon the line that is used to roll up the genoa broke. This is important since it enables me to roll up the head sail when the wind pipes up. When the wind rises in speed then the boat is over powered and it is very hard to steer without shortening sail. While sitting out on the bow trying to get this straightened out there were waves breaking across my legs and lap. Fortunately the water was warmer than the air. In the end I could get the genoa rolled up to the first reef; not quite enough for the high winds which the weatherman had not predicted, but better than showing the whole sail. And of course I had the first reef in the main, reducing its area by nearly half. Not too much later the autopilot stopped working. This apparatus steers the boat while I am below getting food, water, attending to nature’s call, or grabbing 10 minutes of sleep. The consequence was that I hand steered for 24 hours while sailing close hauled. This is the hardest point of sail. It is said that Gentlemen Never Sail to Windward. Guess I am not a gentleman. Even at the worst of times on sailing ships in the age of sail the crew were never on deck for more than 4 hours. To add insult to injury, when it came time to turn on the motor to go the last few miles into Fernandina Beach, FL (the wind had died, finally, thank God) the engine quit and I had to be towed in the last mile or so, but only after I had changed the primary fuel filter twice and the secondary once while the boat was rolling in the seaway. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that after the sun went down I went below to change out of my wet clothes (remember being on the bow to straighten out the furling line) I found that water had found its way into all my clothing, except for a couple of shirts and a couple of pairs of pants. How cold was it at night? I could see my breath. I had on two pairs of pants, a tee shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a fleecy and on top of all that my foul weather gear (a wind and water proof coat and pair of matching bib pants), a wool hat and gloves. And I was still cold! I arrived on Monday about noon. It took me until I got under two wool blankets and a comforter to stop shivering. How tired was I? About 4 AM I started to fall asleep while standing at the wheel, only to suddenly jerk awake and realize that I was steering off course. How heavy were the wind and seas? I found new leaks on the boat that had never reared their ugly head before: my TV is toast and my new Pioneer media control head is also dead. On a more positive note, today I fixed the genoa furler, got the autopilot working again, washed the salt water out of all the laundry that got wet, and the local diesel mechanic was able to find a small air leak in the fuel line that caused the engine to fail. Tomorrow I will wash the salt off the boat and restore some order to the chaos on board. And this is what sailing and retirement are all about. Are we having fun yet?

For those of you who expressed concern, when I am offshore I am wearing a life jacket. It adds more insulation against the cold. In the pockets of my life jacket I have a strobe light and my emergency position indicator beacon. The latter works like an EPIRB. Lastly, I am always tied to the boat with tether and jack lines.


12/18-12/19 Fernandina Beach to New Smyrna Beach
Two long days on the ICW. Fernandina Beach to St Augustine, then St A to New Smyrna Beach.
12/20/2013 New Smyrna to an anchorage south of Cocoa Beach
Another 10 hr day on ICW. Now 10 miles south of Cocoa, FL. Adverse current and/or Wind all day. If not for my gig in Phila I'd be far enough south to use this GREAT weather window to cross to Bahamas. Oh well.
12/21/2013 Behind a bridge south of Cocoa Beach to Ft Pierce
Arrived Ft Pierce before 4 PM. Andante is asking why I am making her motor into the wind for countless hours; she laments "I am a sailboat for pity sake". For you bikies think pedaling into a head wind and uphill!
12/23/2013 Ft Pierce to Lake Worth (the Palm Beaches for you landlubbers)

Aground at the west end of the fuel dock at Harbortown Marina, Ft Pierce. 4 ft of water, I draw 5. Weren't they listening when I told them my draft?

When the water came up enough to get off the dock I left for an easy day. Right from the get-go I had the tide with me and was making 6.4 knots over the ground. With the boat on auto-pilot I bent over my charts with pencil and paper in hand to see if I could make it to Lake Worth. For the first time in 5 days I had my head down for more than 30 seconds. Next thing I knew -- BLAM. I plowed into a day mark, damaging the anchor platform and the stainless steel frame supporting it. Very embarassing.

Today was to have been an easy day to an anchorage just a few hours south of Ft. Pierce. When I got there the anchorage was filled with dredging equipment, so I pressed on.

A backup anchorage was to have been on Hobe Sound above Stuart. This turned out to be untenable because all the locals were on vacation from school and work and were spending their time churning Hobe Sound into a froth of waves.

In the end I made it into Lake Worth and got the anchor down just as the sun was setting.

12/24/2013 Lake Worth
I elected to take today as a rest day after the experiences of yesterday.
12/25/2013 Lake Worth to Ft Lauderdale
Today was a broad reach in 20+ knots NE wind; more than the forecast. Ocean swell 3+ ft on top of chop. Made for hard work steering. Wind and swell combined to try to round the boat up into the wind. 1-2 knots of current against me. Still averaged 6.3 knots on the day, including the 1/2 hr I spent idling in a circle waiting for the Ft Lauderdale bridge to open and the leisurely pace up to Las Olas Marina.
12/26 - 12/29 Ft Lauderdale

Diana arrived on 12/28. With all the hard relentless driving of the boat I made it to Ft Lauderdale with two days to spare.

Ft Lauderdale is a city of many man-made islands and canals. All of this I suppose makes people think of Venice, Italy. Hence some wag is operating a powered gongola look-alike on the waterway.


This classic 90 year old wooden yacht was at the Las Olas Marina for a couple of days.

The day before Diana arrived I had the pleasure of a visit from Bob, Sophia and Claudia Black.

A few shots of the Christmas lights of Ft Lauderdale.


12/29/2013 Ft Lauderdale to Miami Beach
Today Diana and I motorsailed from Ft Lauderdale to Miami Beach. Given the weather forecast it was today or be stuck here for a few more days.
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