Friday, September 23, 2016

Day sail out of the USA on Auto Pilot

Well, nearly!

After all of the work done over the past couple of months, we went on a day sail yesterday beyond the 3 mile limit.

Weather was calm, winds around 10 knots mostly from the East backing to NE by E and it was a great sail. We were on a steady reach doing an average of 5+ knots under beautiful skies. Of course, it's that time of year, so there were storms developing in the South overland so we had a good view of the lightning strikes that were probably 5 to 10 miles away, looked like they were hitting Hollywood.

So once business was done (had to do a pumpout) we turned back to port just as the wind dropped so low that we were doing less than 3 knots. Peggy took the helm and I lowered the sails, bagging the main just in case the wind piped up again. Then, once heading back to Port Everglades, we tried out the Auto Pilot, 1st time since I cut out all of those useless cables that were part of the non-functional instruments that used to be on the Stbd side of the Pedestal. It worked! I used the AP to steer us all the way to the inside of the 1st pair of channel markers, adjusting the compass setting on the AP control panel rather than disengage the AP and steer to the new course. Worked great! 

We headed back to Port Everglades, not much traffic, but we had anticipated that by looking up the Port schedule online in the morning. It was high tide, and the 17th Street bridge showed 55' above the fenders, but I swear that our antenna looked to be within inches of the underside of the center of the bridge as we passed beneath it.

The storms had passed as we headed up the Intracoastal to Sand Bar Park and then turned West into the New River. Plan was to pass under Andrews Avenue Bridge and tie the boat alongside the Briny Pub for lunch. No big deal tying up, had to be a bit careful to avoid scraping the hull against the raw concrete dockside. A couple of the cleats were loose, secure but loose and, if you go there, do not lean on the dockside lights! I didn't fall in, but it was close!

Lunch at the Briny was great. We explained to our server that we had to leave to make the bridges by 4pm, so he quickly took our order and it was delivered hot and quickly too. Really good Mediterranean Tilapia Salad for me and Peggy had the Same with Chicken. 
It was really pleasant sitting there close to the dockside watching the traffic on the water and on the sidewalk all the while listening to the music. It was 3pm, so not many patrons in the pub, we had plenty to chat about, so it was a nice lunch together.

Paid the bill and walked the few yards to the boat. Peggy boarded and started the engine while I prepared to cast off the lines. A stranger sat on a dockside bench close to the boat commented on how nice the boat looked. I'm too aware of the bumps and bruises that our boat has, and where she could do with new paint. But he was right - she is a beautiful boat!

See you on the water.

Paul