Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Spring Fling Cruise 2021

Cruising weekend to Lake Boca

Weather for the weekend was forecast to be ideal for an easy cruise up to Lake Boca, so we made plans to get out on the water - we were not alone!

Leaving the dock just after 12:30, we easily navigated down the New River, past the Swing Bridge, on to 7th Ave Bridge. The FEC Railroad bridge was up but there was radio traffic that indicated at least two large tows were heading up river. We communicated with the skippers that we were ok waiting on the upriver side of Andrews Avenue Bridge. Both of the big tows past us holding in pretty slack water and a third big yacht joined the upstream crowd. Once they cleared Andrews bridge, we throttled up and passed Andrew's close to the North side fender. Third Avenue bridge was already aware that we were outbound, but etiquette demands that we call to request opening. They quickly opened the bridge so we really didn't need to hang around between Andrews and 3rd.

Once past 3rd avenue bridge, we joined a few other boats that were headed down the river. Sometimes, following other boats is more stressful, some of the smaller boats are not very well educated about navigation rules, so guessing what they might do is fraught with challenges.

As we continued on down the river, I worked at getting the boat's running rigging setup for sailing.
Starting at the Bow, I released the hold back line that prevents the furler from unrolling in heavy winds, we needed to be able to unfurl (deploy) the Genoa. Back to the Mast, I connected the Main halyard to the head of the main sail, making sure it was not twisted around any of the other lines that went to the top of the mast. Made sure that the reefing lines were free and not likely to get tangled when we hoist the main. Check that the Dinghy was secured to the deck and not likely to get pulled free in heavy winds. Not that we were expecting any strong winds, the forecast was for winds gusting to 14 knots. I took a few minutes to lower the Lazy Jack lines on the Stbd Side of the stack pack. Moving back to the cockpit, setup the genoa sheets on both the port and starboard winches. Head down to the cabin and get the Winchrite electric winch handle and secure it close to the Starboard winch.

After releasing the line clutches for the 4 reefing lines (two each for the 1st and second reefs) and releasing the boom securing line which prevents the boom from moving side to side when motoring or at the dock/anchor. Checking the outhaul tension, light winds, light tension. A quick test that the traveller car was free to move on the traveller. All set, we just need to be able to turn into wind before hoisting the main.

As we passed marker #5, we left the New river, turning out towards where it joins the Intracoastal waterway, we saw a lot of boats hanging out at the Sand Bar, which included several drink bars! It was a little surprising, this was Friday early afternoon. 

We continued out joining the other craft that were heading down the ICW towards the 17th street causeway bridge, most of them small stuff, a couple of boats that had to wait till the bridge raised in order that they could pass the open bridge. No cruise ships in site, but the Port police were out in their boats to ensure that nobody strayed into the Turning basin, we've done that before and know better now.

Once past the corner on our Port side, we turned out into the Port Everglades Channel. The channel was pretty calm and the waters looked peaceful. Of course, a few dozen fast power boats quickly churn up the waters and we, travelling at around 5 knots, get pushed around quite a bit. We've been out there in much worse conditions, to we took this in our stride. Motoring, we headed out to the PE1 buoy before briefly turning South, into wind, to raise the mainsail, no issues, the electric winch handle quickly hoisted it all the way up our 50 high mast. With the Stbd lazy jacks lowered, and with the wind just off of the port bow, the main raised without issue. 

With the Mainsail up, we turned North and unfurled the Genoa, 100% no need for reefing, the wind was light. We turned to the North East in order to reach the Three Mile limit - we needed to pump out and we never break the law. Once we passed over the 3 mile line on the GPS, I went down to the cabin, unlocked the dump thru hull, opened it and ran the Macerator, meanwhile, Peggy checked over the stern to let me know when the the tank was empty. Turning off the Macerator, closing the Thru Hull and relocking it, pump out was complete. We returned to our Northerly course. We were getting 2 knots push from the Gulf Stream. 

Sadly, the wind was dropping and our course had the wind over the stern, our speed dropped down to 3 knots, not a comfortable sail, downwind, slow and long! Looking at our GPS calculated arrival time at Hillsboro Inlet, I figured it was time to start up the engine and lower the sails then turn in directly to the inlet.

Despite it being close to low tide, we passed through the Hillsboro Inlet without seeing any depth less than 9 feet. Checking the Hillsboro Inlet Depth report we knew which course to follow. It pays to research before going in through any inlet.

After a short time holding for the Hillsboro Inlet bridge to open, we raised the engine RPM and got our speed up to 7 knots (this was not possible before our prop and shaft were treated with PropSpeed back in  January 2021). The stream was still pouring out of the Inlet, I increased the RPM to 2100 and we were just under 8 knots through the water, but we had over 3 knots against us, so we passed by the open bridge at just 5 knots. 

Once passed the bridge, we thanks the tender and turned to Starboard heading to Hillsboro Blvd Bridge. The Bridge opens on the hour and half hour, we passed the HI bridge on the hour that gave us 30  minutes to get to the Blvd bridge, even at our new higher speed, we would be really pushing it to make that bridge in 45 minutes and the next opening we could make would be on the hour. So we slowed down and took a very relaxed motor North. Time for lunch: Crackers, Guacamole and Potato Salad with a GZero drink, surprisingly good.

We timed arrival at the Hillsboro Blvd Bridge perfectly catching up with several boats that waked their way past us only to have to wait at the bridge. The bridge opening was delayed a few minutes, just enough to ensure we would not make the 20 minute trip up to the Camino Real Bridge, so we took it easy again, shooting for the 20 past bridge opening. 

As we passed Camino Real, we got our first glance of Lake Boca and it's popularity this weekend - CRAZY.

Most sailboats anchor in the North East Corner of Lake Boca where the depths are over seven feet, plenty deep enough for our keels. Anchoring spots were hard to find because there were so many boats on the lake, and, don't forget, it's FRIDAY afternoon!! We passed around the deeper channel around the lake and ended up anchoring on the East side of the lake half way between the North and South extremes. We were anchored just to the East of a Catalina 34 named 'Cheerios' which was owned by a club member just a few weeks ago, he sold it. In front of us was a Motor Yacht named Special K - Cheerios and Special K - We looked behind us and another motor yacht was at anchor astern of us, not behaving very politely, I guess we had Cheerios' to Port, Special K ahead of us and a bunch of Flakes behind us. 

Bada Bing Bada Boom

We could see a few other boats from the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing club on the lake, but we were ready for an early dinner and early bed. First we put the Dinghy in the water ready to use it in the morning when we would go visit.

With the Dink off of the boat, we were able to raise the hatch above the V-Berth and with the little wind we had, it was cool enough. In the Galley I prepared Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, followed by Klondike bars, washed down with a glass of Pinot Grigio for Peggy and a mile Red Blend for me.

Goodnight. Saturday deserves it's own post! See you on the water.

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