Hardest Part is Leaving the Dock

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Cruising Year #3 begins at Palmetto, Florida…..

We have said this many times before, but the hardest part of ANY voyage is actually leaving the dock. This sounds crazy, but it is so true. With a car and the comforts of the dock and the safety of shore, leaving is never easy, and we have done this for over 10 years! It is still hard to do. Then, once you leave and get underway, you are relieved at the peace and comfort of being “away.” No more driving a car, no more frantic shopping and consuming, no more noise, dust and dirt. Just simple living on a sailboat, off 12 volt power and your own supplies. Once out and away from the docks, the cruising life slowly presents the beauty of the dream. Dolphins swam with us at Longboat Key and looked up at our boat as if to say…About Time You Get Out Here….seagulls and pelicans soared by taking notice as we motored on Tampa Bay. What a beautiful world it is out here and these are some of the reasons we worked so hard getting our boat refit, was so we could return to this cruising lifestyle. No, we really did not “need to” do the refit, but as with all boating upgrades, it was fun and exciting to work out. So we did it and we are glad we did. This 20 year old boat is running better than ever and feels like new to us. Great job, Island Packet Yachts!

Valve Adjustment 2 hours before departure….why not?

The days leading up to departure are always crazy. Shopping for items you think you need. Shopping for items you think you will need for the next month or two. Imagine shopping for a month. What would YOU buy? Prep the boat: Remove the water hose, electric cords, sun shade, extra dock lines, fenders and gear. Stow all items bought and brought on board. Change the fuel filters, check the sea strainer, check the bilges, engine fluids, etc. Find the life jackets, safety harness, EPIRB, radios, and safety gear. Update your float plans, and emergency contacts and SPOT transmitter. Check the 12 volt network and all antennas and communications. On and on and on until you finally say, that is enough….WE ARE LEAVING ….on…..Monday at noon. Then when noon Monday rolled around we were still frantically working, and we simply said, let’t go. We parked the car, stowed the keys, fired up the diesel and tossed off the dock lines. 25 NM later and filled up with fuel, we dropped the anchor in Sarasota Bay.

Okeechobee Challenge #2, get under the 49.3′ bridge

Our Okeechobee Challenge #2 begins now. We will return back across the center of Florida and we will lean our 49’8″ mast under the 49′ 4″ Port Mayaca Railroad Bridge, allowing us to make Stuart, Florida in 5-6 days. We plan to has Colin Mack of www.MackSails.com do some final rigging for us to complete our refit.

So, let year #3 of cruising begin. Our goals are to return to the Bahamas and to get back to Block Island, RI, for the summer. That is the big plan for 2013-2014. Thanks for sailing along.

Here are some photos…..

Champagne on anchor, as good as it gets

A beautiful shell on new teak varnish

Good friends Debbie and Craig ‘s FUN dog HOLLY

New rigging and new varnish look beautiful

WILD and BRIGHT yellow dinghy straps. This looks sooooo cool ?

Changing fuel filters 2 hours before departure

Erase last years log record: 2,346 NM…. at 5-6 MPH, imagine that

Year #3 begins: 0.0 Nautical Mile log
The Cortez Bridge at Bradenton, FL, and Anna Maria Island

Radeen at the helm, living the dream

So, off we go heading to Lake Okeechobee for the challenge of sqeezing under that darn 49.3′ bridge. Let’s hope we can lean over enough to make it through again. Stuart, Florida, here we come!

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