Tuesday, March 20, 2018

St. Pat's Day Cruise and Crunch

2018 HISC St. Patrick's Day Cruise

The Cruise (Crunch comes later)

We motored down to Port Everglades Friday morning and tried sailing up to Hillsboro Inlet, but the wind was somewhere else, the sea was calm, and the motor ran smooth!

Peggy smiling as we left Port Everglades. See that big ship astern? We did, and we kept to the South side of the channel just to keep out of it's way. 

The flag tells a lot! It's drooping!

I shook out the reef shortly after exiting the channel. Didn't make a difference, we were motoring at idle and the wind was on the nose a knot faster than our speed. We were creating more of the wind.

But it was a beautiful day to be out on the Ocean.

We stayed pretty close to shore all the way up to Hillsboro Inlet. The HI bouy has been replaced - finally - after getting dragged ashore during Hurricane Irma last year.

As we navigated into HI, we saw the depth drop down to below 5' In theory we were aground, but the bottom was really soft and we barely felt a thing, perhaps our depth was being impacted by the turbid waters.

After a few doughnuts we passed under HI bridge and headed North, easily making the bridge opening and then 20 mins on to Camino Real Bridge, barely had to wait.

Lake Boca was already filling with power boats, but a few sailboats were in the North Eastern end of the lake. We could see Diversion (Bob & Joyce Tiger) at anchor. We dropped anchor on the East side of the lake in 9' of water. Shortly after our arrival, Time To Go (Paul & Debbie Maloney) arrived and dropped anchor South of us. Sjöfn arrived and tied up along side of us with the plan to slip off and anchor alone later that night so that Dave could get a good nights sleep - hope it's not something I said ;)

I had proofed Bread overnight and baked it Saturday Morning, two loaves so we gave one to Pam & Dave. 

Baked in our New Non-Stick bread pans from Sur La Table in Coconut Creek.

Turned out really nice - Sesame & Fennel Seed 

1st attempt at cooking two loaves at the same time. Very pleased.

By Saturday afternoon, the Host boats were rafted up - Sjöfn, Eximius, Lizzetta  and Into the Blue.
Other boats from the club were: Diversion, Cheshire, Into the Blue, Hallabaloo, Margarita,
Moonlight, My Sanity, Rabbit, and Time to Go, but I'm pretty sure there was a couple more boats!

The club Commodore arrived mid afternoon and was greeted with a traditional Bosun's Call 

Around 5pm, crews started to arrive, bringing food, drinks, deserts, drinks, Shepherds Pie (Thanks Janet - Delicious!) Brisket, and if you consider that we had about 10lb of Corned Beef, and loaves of Soda Bread (Winn Dixie) and Rum aboard - it was a party!

After the crowd ate most of the food, drank most of the bear, and the Rum, it was time for our Party Games. 
We started with the Trivia Contest - it's complex - hey, it's my job to confuse! Here you see some of the participants trying to answer a question using a direction. It was, as expected, the drinks and questions ensured that.

Tom managed the Sailing Limerick contest and Pat & Dave selected the winner of the Best Irish Costume, well done Vicky!

The coin toss was a challenge when held on the 4 mono hulls, but it worked and several earned extra bottles of whiskey.

Finally Jeff Miskin provided us with a few Irish Jokes, I cannot repeat them here ;0)

As the Sun was setting, our guests started to return to their boats or back to their cars via Dink Taxi's

Most made it but Jeff Miskin and his crew seemed to get lost in the 200 yard trip from the host boats to the raft up of Diversion, Hi Nina and Chesshire (see those 3 power boats in the background of the pic above - they were Wey Hey'd over there.

The weather was perfect all weekend. Saturday morning we prepared breakfast for any that were up. We had plenty of coffee, ton's of muffins, and some brought more food! Tom noticed that I had Grand Mariner on my boat and asked for some with his coffee - I obliged, but only after he passed his coffee mug, I was not going to let my bottle of GM get off my boat!

We had a blast, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

After breakfast we learned that Hillsboro Blvd Bridge had a problem and was Locked down - sailboats could not pass! That meant wait till the bridge was fixed or go out through Boca Inlet.

We have never gone out of the inlet, it's risky, but boats with greater draft than our 5'7" have done it. It's just not worth the risk for us. So we opted to wait for the bridge to be fixed. It didn't take long but several boats still went out via Boca Inlet.

Oh, nearly forgot! Friday afternoon, a commercial Catamaran got wedged on the rocks outside of the Boca Inlet Bridge which created a bit of a stir. Several tow boats went to their aid and successfully pulled the boat and the bunch of guests aboard.

Back to Sunday morning after breakfast. We were the last ones to leave the host raft up. It took a few minutes to untangle the anchor chains, but no sweat. We hoisted our anchor, turned to the North end of the lake and called Camino Real Bridge making the Noon Opening.

At the Hillsboro Inlet bridge there was a dozen boats waiting to go out, we dropped back to let them go and easily ran out of the Inlet. Once out, we turned back into wind and hoisted the Main, turned South and unfurled the Jib, no reefs in at this time and No wind either. So we furled the Jib and motored down about 1/2 to 3/4 nm off shore.

We saw Sjöfn flying her Genneker about a 1/2 mile further out, sure looked good! I hailed Dave on 16 and switched to 68. Dave had left before us and had gone out of Boca Inlet, we knew it was Sjöfn because we could see the Red Dragon on her sail! How do you spell ENVY?

Our motor down to Port Everglades was uneventful, but when we turned to go North towards the 17th Street Causeway Bridge, there was a flotilla of vessels waiting for the bridge to open, we motored past them and wondered how many were thinking - They'll never get under that bridge! We had about 6' to spare. Within a few minutes of us passing, safely, under the bridge, it opened and the flotilla began to head through, I don't think we have ever seen the ICW that busy, it was like I95 for a while.

Travelling from Lake Boca down to Port Everglades on the outside is so much nicer than racing to the next bridge (Six of them) especially on a calm day like today.

Sticking to the ICW, we peeled off South into the Lake Sylvia entrance, skinny water at low tide, but we stayed deep enough and anchored in the North West corner with 60' of rode. A nearby vessel expressed concern that we were too close, and I decided after watching the swing and learning that he had 90' of rode out that it would be prudent to re-anchor. So we pulled anchor and headed over to the South East end of the lake. An easy anchor and we secured for the day. Time for a late lunch of Cheese, Grapes, the bread I had baked on Saturday and a glass of wine. Then a 60 minute snooze!

I made a bit of progress on the installation of our Dry Bilge system. Figured out the best location for the discharge vent, just below the Aft Water Tank Discharge fitting. Of course, the new vent will make the old one (30 years old) show it's age. I realized that I'll have to get a hose fitting that will convert the 5/8" barbed end down to the 3/8" hose that will connect the vent to the pump.

We opted for just a snack instead of Dinner, and solved many of the world problems, or at least recognized they were beyond resolution. I browsed Facebook to view the pics that club members had posted and read the comments that members of the Cooking on Boats page had made about my bread. Pierre (Charity) noted that he avoids Gluten, so I'll have to plan on a Gluten free bread for when they come along side.

The Crunch

Sylvia Lake on Monday morning was like Glass! not a ripple! There were about 23 boats on the lake, most of them well cared for, a couple that are junk and give the rest of us a bad name. Don't get me wrong, after all, our boat is 31 years old now, it's not the same high gloss it was back in 1987 but we maintain the boat and keep her in good condition, it can always be improved. But the Junk boats are wrecks - canvas draping over the sides of the boat, no engine, mast laid down, what used to be a fender hanging in the water over the side. If it were on land it would be condemned. 

We stirred a few ripples as I pulled up the anchor, my morning exercise, and Peggy motored us clockwise around the lake and out of the channel and into the ICW where we turned to Port and started up the New River.

Our plan was to stop at the Pump out station just downstream of the Third Avenue Bridge. Last time we had to deal with some pretty strong current, so we were prepared this time just in case. I had the lines ready and we approached the dock astern of Musette and made a perfect docking. I stepped off the boat that was barely touching the dock pilings and not moving at all. Good Job Peggy!

Then a City Employee called out that we had to leave the dock immediately! Apparently another vessel had 'reserved' the dock for using the pump out, and they were just passing under 3rd Avenue bridge, he demanded that we get off the dock.

Dang! At least, that's the publishable word I can use that describes my frame of mind. My military training kicked in and accepted the command and calmed Peggy down before we moved off the dock back into the river. 

As we pulled out, we could see a bunch of other boats waiting on the bridge opening, but 3rd avenue bridge opens really quickly and they were waiting far too long. We were getting pushed around by the current from behind and from the wind out of the North East, and hindered from movements by the vessels ahead of us. I made the command decision to tie up along side on the East side of the river where there was a gap between other docked boats. Peggy took the helm, but the current was much stronger than either of us thought. The current pushed our stern up river and we hit out bow on the concrete dockside, my fault, it was a bad decision to try and dock on that side of the river. Now we have a scarred bow that needs some TLC.

I went back to the helm and was able to get us motoring astern to get away from the dock and back to the middle of the river. Once safe, I contacted the vessel ahead of us and asked his intentions. He radioed back that they were waiting on a 110' Yacht outbound, so I held station astern of her. It was not easy, it took a lot of concentration, quick decisions to deal with both the wind and current while staying away from the very unfriendly dock on the right (while going upstream) side of the river. 

Of course, all of this was while I was internally trying to ignore that I had dinged the boat! But that's what you have to do, get over it and deal with the current (no pun intended) issue.

The big yacht come through 3rd avenue bridge and the vessel ahead of us started to make way under the bridge (I say Under, but it's really 'Through' as the bridge is open). I called Andrews Avenue Bridge requesting to follow the vessel ahead of us through the bridge, but then realized that the FEC Railroad bridge was closing! Wow! That's Fantastic! (WTF) There's very little room between Andrews and the FEC bridge, and the vessel ahead of us would be stopped while we try to keep station in the not so nice conditions. I called Andrews and advised that we would cancel out passing due to the FEC bridge being down. But the Bridge Tender at Andrews responded that I should proceed as the FEC Bridge was closed for maintenance but was opening for our passage (and the vessel ahead of us) So I confirmed and throttled up to get up to speed in order to follow the boat ahead of us. 

We passed both Andrews and the FEC bridge. Next it was 7th Avenue Bridge, and as we got around Sailboat Bend the bridge was already open and we motored through.

The yacht ahead of us came to a stop just south of the Fork in the New River, they confirmed it was ok for me to pass on their starboard side as they were waiting on another vessel coming out of the South Fork and we were heading up the North Fork.

Other than Peggy and I having a few words about the Crunch incident, we continued quietly up to our dock and, again, Peggy made a perfect docking. The wind from dead ahead (West) which could hinder our turning the boat so that it faced back down to the open end of the channel, but I had a line setup on the Starboard side midships cleat, then forward and back to the Port side where I stepped off onto the dock. Securing the turning line, I walked the bow off the dock and to the East. As the bow neared the end piling of the dock, I picked up the bow lines and put them on the cleat on the fore deck. Back to the turning line on the other end of the dock, I easily pulled the stern of the boat around and along side the dock.


Despite the crunch, which is not a disaster, we had a great weekend and as always - learned a lot.

See you on the water (but not till after I fix the booboo on Eximius' Bow!)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sailing Club Circle Raftup

HISC 2018 Change of Command Circle Raft Up

Heading out of Port Everglades

What a gorgeous day for a sail! We left Port Everglades, with our sails up, around 10am on Friday March 2nd after an uneventful motor down the New River and under the 17th Street Causeway Bridge. I put together some dough to bake a couple of loaves later that day.

No stowaways this time. Seas were almost flat, wind from the NNW around 10knots.

Rather than have the wind almost on our nose and sailing against the Current from the North along the beach, we (me) decided to head out to the Gulfstream, conditions were perfect.

Once in the Stream, about 1 1/2 Miles off shore, we turned onto 060º and enjoyed the ride. We were doing 5.7knots through the water, but 9.7knots by the GPS, WooHoo!

Of course, we knew that the weather was going to go downhill later in the day, but figured we could be in through Hillsboro Inlet by around 1pm. True to form, the bad weather front came down from the North and Seas began to rise pretty quickly. By 12:30 they had risen to about 5' but the boat just plowed her way through them. With the wind now about 45º off the wind, we had the choice of turning into wind and waves or continue to head offshore. Rather than risk being out there if the weather turned nasty, we turned for the Inlet and motored with the Main up but the Jib furled.

As expected, with the wind coming from the NNE, the waters off the beach were much calmer. We motored easily into the Inlet and just had to watch our depth and keep the channel - A member of our club manages the dredging of the inlet and provides a depth chart for the inlet outside of the bridge. That's a huge help to ensure we don't get into skinny water.

The tide was pouring out of the inlet, and at the bridge there was about a 4knot ebb, it seemed to take forever to pass the bridge fenders. But, again, Eximius handled it easily.

We motored up the ICW to Lake Boca. There were a few sailboats already there and quite a few power boats and folks standing in the shallows mid - lake. We anchored on the East side of the lake about a 1/3rd of the distance from the North end. 

The wind cooled things a lot, but I went and baked my bread which warmed the cabin. And the bread turned out well!

First time using Aluminium foil bread pans, but they worked fine. The loaves just plopped out when inverted.

They're small loaves, but that's fine. 

I had to wait for them to cool before doing a taste test.

The baking made me hungry, and I'm on a limited diet after having Gum Surgery on Thursday, just two days ago.

Oh well, as someone on Facebook commented, What Would you Do for a Klondike Bar!

Our Fridge Freezer is just cold enough the keep them frozen.


We had Macaroni Cheese for Supper with Fresh Tomatoes. Easy, Quick, and very tasty, I know, that's comfort food - what's wrong with that?

Saturday morning boats started to arrive for the Change of Command Circle Raft Up and we had volunteered to be one of the Anchor Boats - That meant that we would be one of 4 boats that began the circle and that we would each drop a Stern Anchor to help shape the Circle.

Our Raft Master, Ross, has done this for the past few years and handles the process which takes some doing.

We dug in our Bow anchor with 85' of Chain, then Ross took our Stern Anchor in his dink and dropped it where he wanted the Circle Center to be located. He also put a large Tetrahedron mark so that everyone knew where the center was intended.

Gradually boats started to come alongside of us and the other Anchor Boats. At one point we had 5 boats hanging off our anchor but two of them were dropping theirs. One had the misfortune to dig into a bunch of garbage on the lake bed. When the wind picked up, his anchor started to drag, by which time our anchor was insufficient to hold the 5 boats and our anchor dragged too. A couple of boats detached from our little raft up and Ross assisted two other boats to join us, they already had anchors out and one had a stern anchor. So at that point we had 6 boats rafted with 4 bow anchors and 2 stern anchors, that's pretty reasonable. 

Then the current in Lake Boca took us for a swing and the boat on the east side of our raft got too close to the docks along the east side of the lake and he decided to peel off, I would have done the same. The rest of us stayed put, we were holding our own despite the increase in wind. Ross abandoned the Circle Raft up and each of us set up smaller rafts. We were now 5 Boats on 4+2 Anchors. We would be able to sleep that night.

At 5pm the Incoming Club Commodore drove around the fleet with the new Cruising Flag on Display, followed at 6pm with the Dink -n- Drift where those present tied up their dinghies and passed all sorts of tasty appetizers between the boats.

After the Dink-n-Drift, we all returned to our boats or to other's. A few parties erupted, and lasted till the wee hours. We had Mushroom Ravioli, Tomatoes and Sour Cream - and some of today's Fresh baked bread, a bottle of Wine, some Black Magic Rum and some dancing in our cockpit. Good night.

3am Sunday Morning the Alarm went off!
We've been here before, Anchor Drag alarm sounds, we both get out of bed and check out the problem while preparing to dress and drive the boat towards the anchor. But it wasn't the Anchor Alarm! I cupped my ears to determine the location of the alarm sound, it's coming from the cockpit, but nothing up there is powered up. Out into the cockpit I cup my ears again and realize it's coming from Lizette! 
I called for Tom, fast asleep, Knock on his hull, eventually he climbs out - Tom, you have an alarm in your cockpit. Turns out it was his portable radio that had switched to the weather channel at the 3am alert. Good night - Again.

Sunday morning boats started to peel off. We had bit of fun getting the Stern line from beneath Dalecarlia, Peder had to take a dip, he survived. Tom, on Lizette had our stern line trapped between his rudder and prop, so he could not break away until that we cleared. We manged eventually by following the anchor rode in our dink and hauling the anchor. We had to be careful as our dink is an Inflatable and the last 20' of rode is rusty chain (have to replace that) and I did not want it cutting into the dink sides. But we got it up ok. 
It was covered in the thick black mud from the Lake bed and as I pulled the anchor, we found an old toothbrush. Turned out a handy tool to scrape off the mud. Then we cleared the line from Tom's boat. Tom peeled off after Peder and we started to put Eximius back in shape, seemed we had used a lot of line to keep the boats rafted.

I took the opportunity to clean out the Line Lock (Port side cockpit locker) and was surprised how much line I had accumulated. Our Old Jib Sheets, Old Halyards, New Spinnaker Sheets, Long and short docklines, Spring lines and those little lines that were once longer but had stressed too much. The locker is now neat and tidy, bet it doesn't last long!

During the afternoon a few power boats came to the lake but didn't stay, and by night time, all were gone except for a couple of boats flying the Canadian Flag and we could see Time to Go (another club member) off to our South.

Mid afternoon, we were cleaning up the topsides when Peggy's New, Expensive, Hat flew overboard. I quickly grabbed my long boat hook and could not quite reach it. Dang!
A few minutes later a small power boat passed, they had the bubbly ready to go and I hailed them asking if they could grab Peggy's Hat. They did! As they were coming back to our boat, I went below and pulled up a 4 pack of IPA, popped it into a bag and hung it on our boat hook. As they came along side, they took the Beer and passed over the Hat  - Can you Spell Karma? 

We had an early turn in as we wanted to get out of the lake early Monday Morning. We woke to the alarm clock (ok, the Alarm Clock Ap on my phone) at 06:15 and I put the coffee pot on to boil. We got washed up, dressed and I cooked a full breakfast of Eggs, Sausage, Tomatoes, Fruit and some more of the baked bread.

By 7:30 we were pulling up the anchor and heading back around the lake for the 07:40 Camino Real Bridge opening.

It was cool, Peggy had a towel wrapped around her legs, of course, I'm just wearing shorts. We motored down the ICW figuring that the strong winds for the past 40 hours had built up a big sea.
As we motored past the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge, we could see just how big that sea was! Huge! Surfers paradise, but a sailboats dread!

We made good time going down the ICW and turned up the New River. We paused for about an hour just down stream of 3rd Avenue Bridge to use the Pump out by Smokers Park. That worked first time and we took time out to have a snack before continuing up the river.

Past the last 5 bridges (3rd Avenue, Andrews Avenue, FEC Railroad, 7th Avenue, 11th Street Swing Bridge) we motored to our dock space and tied the boat up. It's surprising how quickly we can unload the boat, wash her down and load up the truck for the 25 minute ride home. But we have done it so often now that it's a pretty well worked out routine.

Once home, that hot shower was just what we needed.

See you on the water.