Monday, November 16, 2020

Thanksgiving Cruise 2020

Socially Distant Thanksgiving Cruise 2020

Sometimes planning works out, and others it just doesn't! 

Plan: Race with the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club's 'Mary Wells Coastal Race' from the start just North of Hillsboro Inlet down to Port Everglades (PE 1 Buoy). Race Start: 11:00. 

We departed the dock 20 minutes late at 8:20am. A couple of hundred yards down the canal, someone had left a line between their power boat and the dock on the opposite side of the canal - preparations for the anticipated arrival of Hurricane (it wasn't) ETA - LAST MONDAY! Argggg! Sorry for all of the expletives, but Come On! It wasn't even that much of a storm, just some high water as far as most of Fort Lauderdale was concerned - OK, so some places had flooding, but it goes with the territory during King Tides, not nice especially if you happen to live where it floods - but not here!  We were delayed by about another 15 minutes while I prepared to cut the line and then Peggy notices that there is a resident sitting on the patio beyond the boat. After a number of quite loud requests that they come and release the line or suffer it's demise by knife, the resident unties the line from the boat and I pull it in then toss it to the opposite shore. The way is clear.

As we left the New River and turned South towards 17th Street Causeway bridge, it was evident that the Spring High Tides were ebbing. At the 17th st. Bridge, the Fender Markers indicated that there was between 52 to 54' clearance close to the fenders. That's plenty for us if we're in the middle. There were several sailboats with much bigger sticks than ours holding position North of the bridge but they had left plenty of room for smaller traffic to pass. So we did. Peggy turned the helm over to me being a little reluctant to test the bridge height.

As we motored under the bridge Peggy noted that there was a very large ship leaving the Port directly ahead of us - we know better than to claim that we had right of way - we didn't - and it was a really big ship. So we just turned to Starboard and let it pass after which we followed it out of the Port. Then the rain came down, really heavy. - Peggy was not so keen on staying the course but I persevered, and we turned North setting a course for the Start North of HI.
With the course laid in, the GPS indicated that we would get there at 6 knots around 12:06--- 12:06 when the race started at 11:00 Grrrrr.

This plan was in the Failed Column.

With no chance of making the start time, I decided that we might as well just head back into Port and see if we could arrive early at The Bahia Mar Marina. 

We motored under 17th Street Causeway bridge, now about 10:30am, the clearance was up to 56' but the bridge was opening for a much larger sailboat outbound.  For some reason, she turned to port which meant that we needed to turn to port also rather than the normal passing Port Side to Port Side, but an early change of direction is the correct thing to do and we passed Starboard to Starboard without incident. Sure was a pretty vessel.

Once past the bridge we slowed down to delay our arrival at Bahia Mar, the confirmed on the radio that we were welcome to arrive early and that a dock hand would be waiting. 

We have docked at the Bahia Mar many times, some were near perfect and others were best forgotten. But one thing we have learned is that if the docking does not work out first try, there's no shame in pulling away and setting up for a 2nd or even 3rd attempt. Better safe than sorry. And the sorry would be if we hit any of the other boats in the marina.

Our first attempt seemed to be perfect, We stopped the boat with the stern about 10' into the slip and past the lines to the dock hands. Then the current took hold of the bow and forced us to pull away in order to keep clear of the other boats. The dock hands passed the lines back - nice, preventing them from getting caught in our prop, that would have been a sorry situation. We maneuvered away from the dock and headed out of the marina in order to turn and try again. The second attempt worked just fine. Accounting for the strong current we easily docked and had the boat tied up in quick order.

While we were getting ourselves sorted out with Shore Power and the extra lines that just makes things feel better, our buddy from Affection stopped by to let us know they were already in their slip. That made two of the club boats were tied up.

I set about cleaning our boat. The recent heavy rains due to ETA and that morning had left the boat a natural green color, it should be white! Out came the Simple Green and the Boat brushes. I was able to get the Port side of the top deck scrubbed down in about 2 hours. Peggy and I had a lunch break of Crackers and Humus and some Salt and Vinegar chips - Comfort food!

Sometime around 12pm ish, Michael and Brenda arrived with their crew of half a dozen or so aboard Imagine. Happy to help, I assisted in taking their lines. Now, with a crew that big, there are enough hands to have every fender and every line manned and a few crew able to sit around doing not a lot, but they do and Michael and Brenda are supervising from the helm.. Whereas, Peggy and I have to work the lines, prep the fenders and navigate the boat alongside. But then, their boat is much bigger than Eximius.

One of the club members had stopped at my house to collect one of the Tables we would need for our social. It was really out of Ethel's way to get the table, but club members tend to go out of their way to make things work. Ethel saved the day. So a big Thank You to Ethel. (Ethel is the Commodore of the Single Sailors Sailing club.) 

The plan was to hold the social on the large hard standing outside of the Captains Quarters, however, there was a really big wedding that occupied all of the area and the dock where the wedding was taking place. So we figured we would hold the social on B-Dock where there were now 3 of our club boats.

While this was going on, the other boats that took part in the Mary Wells Coastal Race were heading home back towards Hillsboro. It had been a really good race day, not too heavy wind and seas were pretty calm.

Gradually, club members started to arrive, socializing began while we were doing our best to keep socially distant. As hosts, we had brought a box of spare face masks, hand sanitizer and a tub of chlorox wipes (still in short supply) Our instructions to the guests were 'Bring your own Beverages, Bring your Own Food, Bring your own Desserts and Bring your own chairs' We really wanted to make this a safe event.

As cruising gifts, I had purchased several of these folding tables, figuring that they would be suitable for carrying on boats. 

They fold up to a neat and easily stowed package.

As the boats arrived, I passed out the gifts. That included one for our Commodore and Rear Commodore. 

With a couple left over I gave them to the members that came to the event by car.

By 17:30, the club members had arrived and setup their foods to share. Now, just a reminder, the instructions were BYOB, BYOF, BYOD and BYO Chair. And if anyone was bringing something to share, then it should be individual servings - not requiring utensils that would be handled by many and not require filling or stuffing - like Tortillas, or Salad bar.  So most, like myself, brought Desserts that were individually wrapped. More on that later.

The co-host  -  Jeff Keiser, had prepared a Thanksgiving Trivia, he had enough questions to match the number of mini-Whiskey bottles that I had left over from previous cruises. Many of the questions were about the Mayflower - I should have known the answers but only got one What is a Tun - It's a Barrel.

Jeff did a great job of entertaining us and helping us get the right answers, well, near enough answers.

We gave out all of the Whiskey.

It was soon time to have the Bake Contest. I had to laugh! I had spoken with Mirsa a week earlier suggesting that she not wrap here Chocolate cake in single use plastic but consider using Parchment paper instead. Well Mirsa went above and beyond. She had found a supply of bio degradable mini tubs to hold the Blueberry Reduction Cream Cheese Frosting and then wrapped each piece of delicious chocolate cake in a piece of Parchment paper secured with a neat piece of bio-degradable garden twine. The packages look terrific which matched the flavours. 

Jeff Keiser brought Bags of home made Cookie to the table - yes, bags each with one cookie. That will bring a smile to anyone that peaked inside of the bags to see what lay within. They were really good.

Bob had brought peeled shrimp on cocktail sticks, very tasty too. 

I had brought individual apple pies (think apple empanadas) but I had - oh the shame - wrapped them individually in sandwich zip lock baggies.   Quite correctly, Mirsa reminded me of our conversation about not using single use plastic. Oh the humility 😎

Suzi and Moon had not brought anything to share, so they were both selected as impartial judges.

After they had tasted each of the delights, they announced the winners.

4th Shrimp

3rd Bags of Cookie

2nd Chocolate cake with Blueberry Reduction Cream cheese frosting

1st - I'm really not humble about this - YES - My Individual Apple Pies Won 1st place.

There weren't any prizes, but it was fun.

After the bake contest, we had a line toss contest. Several members took a turn at tossing a line. I had a 50' 1/2" double braided line and they had to see who could toss the line the furthest. That was a simulation of passing a line ashore to the dock from your boat. 

1st I showed how the Royal Navy taught me, at age 15, to coil a rope for throwing then gave an example of how to throw the rope. After the demonstration, brazen members came forward to try their hand. Brenda beat everybody before her, the Judy threw and was even with Brenda, but Judy put a lot more energy into tossing the line, so much that Judy almost did a pirouette and landed quite painfully on the hard dock. Sore but still smiling, Judy limped back to her chair aided by Jeff and soon had a large bag of ice to help ease a very painful foot. 

Last to toss the line was Astrid. Astrid casts a longer shadow than Judy and consequently tossed the line at least a foot beyond Judy's attempt. Astrid earned the last bottle of Whiskey, Judy earned a piggy back ride thanks to Jeff, back to their boat for a Ibuprofen and some hubby care time.

After some armchair socializing, the party ended and folks picked up the remains of their foods, their chairs and cruising gifts. Commodore Dale and I discussed this year so far and plans for next year. It's not been an easy year. Normally the major work for the Commodore is done as Vice Commodore in preparation for their Commodore Year, then it pretty much happens like clockwork, but this has not been a normal year for anyone. The Covid Pandemic has clamped down upon many of the club features that we have taken for granted over the years. No raftups, not socials, limited cruising, and social distancing is the rule. Simply put, even if you feel safe in participating in club events, we must all practice healthy behaviour, social distancing, small groups and if you don't feel comfortable attending any of our events, that's just fine, better be safe than sorry. It's not just the senior generation either! Although the youngest of the population are mostly spared, if they get infected and carry the virus to their parents and then onto their senior friends and family, each would be heartbroken if someone were to succumb from the consequences.  So we totally respect the reluctance to participate, but oh we really do miss the love.

Sunday morning, Judy was feeling a bit better, foot wrapped in an Ace Bandage, Jeff & Judy were the first to leave the marina. Imagine's crew headed up the marina's swimming pool. I spent the afternoon scrubbing the other half of Eximus, it was really looking a whole lot better.

Monday morning we sorted out the boat, breakfasted on Cereal and Toast - frosted with some of Mirsa's Blueberry reductioncreame cheese and plenty of hot coffee. With everything tied down and provisions stowed for transport home, we were ready to depart. With perfect timing, Zack from the marina arrived and quickly completed a pump out, that would save us having to worry about using the pump out at Smokers Park.

Peggy did a great job of steering us away from the slip and turned us towards the exit from the Marina at 9:55am. We were along side our dock at 9:55, turned the boat around and unloaded everything we needed to the truck and headed home at 12:15. 

At home we quickly unloaded the truck, sorted through the mail, calmed the cat that had missed us, not really, and had a Yogurt and fruit dessert for lunch. 

Time for a shower!

See you on the water.

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