May 19, 2002
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Well we finally got on our way on May 7. We took the outside route from Port Everglades to West Palm and then up Lake Worth to Little Lake Worth at North Palm Beach. The trip had some exciting moments. We left Royal Palm Yacht Basin a little after 7 am on an outgoing tide. Ugne took the helm going out the channel. The trip down the ICW from the Dania Cut was uneventful until we were passed by a Charter fishing boat then proceeded to move directly in front of us and started to let out their fishing lines, this caused us to slow down to a crawl so not to get the lines caught in our prop. As we got to the channel leading out to the ocean I noticed a cruise ship leaving the dock but we decided to head out anyway. Half way out the cruise ship came along our port side about 50 yards off. Fortunately she was not going to fast and the wave she created was not to big. As I mentioned earlier we were on an outgoing tide, the wind was out of the east at 15 to 17 knots and was right on our nose. The combination of the outgoing tide and the wind blowing against it created 4 foot standing waves at the mouth of the channel. We thought we were going into orbit a couple of times with the bow high in the air and then burying itself in the water. Once we got our sails out the ride started to smooth out some. The first half of the sail was on a Close Reach and the seas were 4 to 5 feet and choppy. VILKAS was in her glory. VILKAS was built in England and is certified for the North Sea, so these little waves were child's play for her. We sailed out 6 to 8 miles and picked up the edge of the gulf stream to help us move north. Our knot meter said we were doing 5 to 6 knots but the GPS had us as high as 10 knots over the ground. It made a quick trip of the 55 nm we had to cover. We arrived at the mouth of the West Palm Channel around 1330 lowered our sails and motored up the ICW to our anchorage in Little Lake Worth, dropped our anchor and settled in for a couple day stay. It was great to be away from a marina. The anchorage was ideal, room for 100 boats to anchor in 8 to 10 feet of water with a good hard sand bottom. The area was surrounded by some very nice & expensive houses. We had about 30 boats there each day with about a 50 percent turn over everyday. One of the nice thing about this anchorage is you can take the dink and motor a 1/4 mile to the bridge at A1A, chain the dink to the fence and walk to the Publics Grocery Store, and restaurants 100 yards away. There is even a West Marine store 3/4 mile north on Hwy 1. We had a great dinner of fresh Red Snapper and fresh vegetables as we watched our first sunset as cruisers then off to bed to rest from a tiring day. The wind was blowing out of the east/southeast at around 15 knots but the anchorage only had a moderate chop. About 2230 I woke up to check our position only to find that we were dragging anchor and had moved about 100 yard right between two other boats. I quickly started the engine, woke up Ugne and we re-anchored the boat putting out more scope and lowering the snubber for a more shallow pull on the chain. Needless to say the rest of my night was not very restful. On Thursday we relaxed, took a ride in our dink until late afternoon. I have a cousin living in West Palm that I had not seen since we were kids. Before we left Dania we had drove up to West Palm and had spent the afternoon with her and invited her out to the boat when we got to the area. So on Thursday afternoon she parked her car at the Publics and I picked her up with the dink. We had a great afternoon talking and relaxing on the water. Friday we took another day to just relax and enjoy being on the hook. Our new wind generator got a good test in this anchorage and I am happy to report the generator kept our batteries full the entire time. We had decided to get moving north on Saturday. The weather forecast was not good for a comfortable ride going outside so planned on going inside up the ICW. We were up early Saturday morning pulled anchor and were going through the first bridge at 0720. Saturday was a new moon day so the high and low tides were very high and very low. VILKAS draws 5' 6", probably 5' 8" with all of the junk we have onboard. The morning went great going along with 2 to 3 feet of water under the keel until we got past Jupiter, Fl. and into the Hobe Sound. With the low tide approaching at Port Lucie our depth meter read less than 6" most of the way, sometimes it read 0 but we only touched bottom once. We crossed the Port Lucie inlet around 1230. Port Lucie shoals up a lot and crossing at low tide is not the best idea however we crossed without a problem. We had made such good progress that we decided to move onto Fort Pierce so I called ahead and reserved dock space at Harbortown Marina. After 3 days on the hook we wanted to replenish some of our food. We were expecting to get there around 1530 before the low tide. I knew the channel to the marina could be quite shallow.

Around 1300 we had just past through the Jensen Beach bridge and my engine stopped. I checked things out and found that the engine was overheated big time. So we moved to the edge of the ICW and dropped the anchor in 6 feet of water. In this area the ICW cuts through a very shallow sound with the water outside the ICW only 3 -4 feet deep. I then gave a call to TowBoat US, to come give us a tow to Ft. Pierce. TowBoat US costs only $100 a year for unlimited towing. We got our moneys worth. The tow boat got to us about 1430 and we started the trip to Ft. Pierce. When we arrived at Ft. Pierce it was low low tide however we made it through the channel, in fact I need to send someone a bill for us dredging the channel for them. The Tow boat then pulled us to the dock but about 6 feet from the dock we were hard aground in the mud so we tossed a couple of line to the dock master and tied her off. Then as the tide came in we kept adjusting the lines until by 1900 we were floating next to the dock. Another trying day came to an end.

Harbortown also has a yard so Monday morning I enlisted their assistance to solve my overheating problem. Here I am writing this on Sunday a week later and we still have not fixed the problem. We have checked and cleaned everything that is associated with the cooling system. Maybe tomorrow. We ordered a new coolant circulation pump and it will be here in the morning. The pump looks ok when we took it apart but it is the only thing left. I think the impeller is slipping under dynamic conditions. We shall see.

So are plans are stalled at the moment. If we get her fixed this week we will look at sailing outside to Charleston after this late season cold front gets out of the way. The front is going to put a 20 knot NE wind on the gulf stream for the next three days. This will put 8 to 10 ft steep waves in the stream and it will then take a couple of days for the stream to settle down. We could make it to Charleston in three days if we can catch the stream. Then again there is a launch of the space shuttle scheduled for the 29th so maybe we will move up the ICW to Cape Canaveral and watch the launch and then sail from there to Charleston. Well, "We have no Plan and we are sticking to it."

 

 

                                            On Our Way Out the Dania Cut

                    Lauderdale Channel, Cruise Ship Coming

                                Anchored at Little Lake Worth

                            Our Front Yard View

                        First Night Sunset

                                        To the Cruising Life