Trip Home: A voyage from St Petersburg, Florida to Rock Hall, MD

3/10/2010 The log starts with my trip to Florida to move the boat from Twin Dolphins Marina in Bradenton, FL over to Progressive Boatyard in St. Pete. Today I just ran the engine for an hour, since it had been sitting idle since I was there in February for the closing.

03/11/2010 Motored out of the Manatee River and turned right to head for the Skyway Bridge. It was beautiful beam reach sail for most of the trip over to Salt Creek. The boat made 6-6.5 knots on 10 knots of breeze. There must have been a bit of current to help me along. The sky was a beautiful azure blue with little puffs of white cloud.

At Progressive Boatyard on Salt Creek it is very protected: lots of sun and no breeze = HOT. And two days until I fly home. No head, no electricity, no water on board.


SKy way bridge
Andante was taken to Progressive to have her bottom done: Ground down, new barrier coat, new primer and new paint. They also put in a new cutless bearing and put on a new prop. In the photos above you can see a few of her neighbors.

The conmpass roses in the pilot chart show the strength and wind direction to be expected during May, when Andante would be making its trip home.As you can see, On both coasts of central and southern Florida the prevailing winds would be in our favor. Furhter north and things would shift so that there would be more wind from the SW through SE, again in our favor. As usual, when it comes to weather patterns, you never can tell. As the log will reveal, after the first four or so days Andante spent very little time sailing.

I flew down to St Pete a couple of days ahead of Christopher and Tara. Andante was splashed before I got there so there is water and electricity on board. My early arrival was to provision the boat, get charts, and get her ready to go. An unexpected task was to run a new main halyard. An unexpected problem was that on its first use the aft head holding tank leaked and ran into the bilge. Upon close inspection this had obviously been a problem in the past. At this stage in the game there was nothing to do but pump overboard or use the forward head. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I tried to pump overboard the plumbing was clogged. Well, at least there is the forward head for the trip home. (You can jump ahead in the story and read all about the head and holding tank repairs.) The problem with the head occurred on the same day that Christopher and Tara were due to arrive. It became a race to see if I could get the mess cleaned up before I had to meet them at the airport.

05 (May)/08/2010 Saturday We headed out this morning under sunny skies and a west wind. A west wind? Doesn't the pilot chart show that winds are most likely to be from the NE through SE? At least they are light and are keeping us cool on a hot and humid day.

05/09/2010 Sunday Today we ran the engine for seven hours. The winds were light and not too favorable. We had to alter course a little more to the west, from 160m to 170m in order to sail. During the day we passed Boca Grande, Marco Island and Turkey Cay on the way to Cape Romano. During the night we were running on Battery Bank 1, the smaller of the two banks, and which is nominally the starting bank. In the morning that Bank was down to 11.4v, but there was still enough oomph to start the engine. Lets's not make that mistake again! Later I found that the fridge thermostat has markings on it, out there by Mayer (the seller), for the best temperature setting. We had it set to a very low temperature which further put a serious drain on the batteries. Another lesson learned.

During the day Christopher caught a barracuda, which he released. Later he hooked another fish that was big enough to bend the hook and get off. We also had porpoises swimming off thebow today.

At the end of the day we stopped to go for a swim, to wash, and to cool off. The wind came around to the east so we are actually able to sail and make good time.

05/10/2010, Monday We are headed for an ancharage on Jewfish Bank between Jewfish Bight and Matecumbe Bight. We were able to sail all night and into this morning. Once in the Yacht Channel we have had to motor. The channel is too narrow and the water on either side too skinny to risk trying to sail. Still trying to figure out the 12v charging and useage conundrum. The depth sounder is off from the true depth by 3.5 feet. That must be the offset from the water line? The knot log doesn't display. The LCD image is so faint as to make it impossible to read.

We got to our destination early enough to check out alternative anchorages, finally settling on Matecumbe Bight. Time for a swim and a pineapple juice with rum.

The trip down to Matecumbe Bight took about 40 hours. About 19 hours was either motoring or motor sailing. To be more fare to the gods of wind, about five of that was motoring in the channel across Florida Bay and hunting for a nice anchorage.

05/11/2010, Tuesday Amtecumbe Bight to No Name Harbor: Today was a brutal day. 12 hours of motor sailing close hauled. As we slowly turned north to head up to Miami the wind shifted increasingly to the north. We went up Hawke Channel then into Biscayne Bay at Fowey Rocks. Christropher hooked another barracuda today.

05/12/2010, Wednesday, No Name Harbor The Captain has graciously designated this a rest day to explore the area.


pilot chart