Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend Cruise to West Palm Beach Pt. 3

 Fun day at West Palm Beach Anchorage.

Dawn broke long before we awoke this morning, a good nights sleep makes a world of difference.

So we started the day with a real breakfast, none of that healthy stuff, no grapes, no fiber cereal, but a good cooked breakfast. A big slice of Breakfast Ham, some mini tomatoes (ok, I guess  they are healthy), Fried Egg over easy and the last of the Bagels with Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jam and Honey. Of course, a piping hot mug of Coffee and some OJ. Sorry health nuts, it was really good! And a second apology: No pics.

Did stuff around the boat and then took a dink ride with Jeff to deliver cruising gifts to the other boats. 
Here's the boat list:
  1. Alebrije
  2. Affection
  3. Eximius
  4. Ohana
  5. Dalecarlia
  6. Deli Mali
  7. Imagine
  8. Cookie Monster
  9. Pegasus
A couple of other boats nearly made it, the nearest was Aireze was in the area but we had all gone ashore when Bruce got here. 

Hey! I'm happy that we had Nine Boats turn out. This should give a push to others to come join us on the next cruise. 

Saturday 13 of us met up at Lorenz on Clematis just 5 mins from the dinghy dock. The staff made us welcome and moved tables to accomdate all of us, the chin wagging began.

From my position,  Jeff Keiser earned the food swoone award for his body language reply when asked how good was the lasagna. THE BEST.

Peggy  and I returned to the boat as we wanted to put the dink on deck before dark, nearly made it, the deck light helped. We were ready for the 7am breakaway from the 3 boat raft up.

Sleep safe everyone. 


How to save Fresh Water onboard our Boat

Water saving on our boat

Our 1987 Catalina 34 has about 70 Gallons of Fresh Water in two tanks. We carry up to an additional 24 Gallons in four on deck water tanks, so a total if 94 gallons. There's normally just 2 of on board, so that gives us about 10 days at 10 gallons a day

At home, like most folks, we probably use 20 gallons just taking a shower, our dishwasher uses 4.5 gallons per load. and we have two bathrooms with water reduction cisterns but they use about a gallon per flush. I don't know about you, but how often do you flush the toilet.

On board Eximius, we flush our loo with fresh water - to keep the qty low, we have a 64oz water bottle alongside the head and if we're flushing do do, then we use some or all of the bottle to flush the toilet. (We do not use Salt Water to flush the toilet, salty water in the holding tank is not a great idea IHMO)

On board, no Dishwasher - just me. To reduce the amount of water needed to wash up after a fried meal, which is the toughest job in the galley - mostly :)   I use a Spray bottle with a couple of drops of dish liquid to spray down the pots and pans, cutlery, plates, serving spoons etc. 

A half full sprayer typically last for about 3 days of 3 meal galley clean up and must save a huge amount of freshwater. 

To rinse the dishes, I'll turn on the faucet at a trickle but a 2nd spray bottle would save on water uses too. I just don't have that much counter space, but during our  six week cruise planned for 2022, I'll have one just to stretch our water budget to get us between shore water resources in Eluthra Bahamas.

When new Desalination processes come down in price and power consumption, I'll get a water maker, till then = I'll be using a spray bottle.

Just an aside note. We're not liveaboards and our longest cruise to date has been a month long trip to the Abaco's. 2020 put a hold on going out of the USA, and the 2021 covid requirements are not very encouraging, so we're keeping our cruises to Florida and the Keys - we might get down to the Dry Tortugas later this year. Meanwhile, our trips are mostly less then 200 nm round trip.

See you on the water - saving as much as we can ;)


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend Cruise to West Palm Beach Pt. 2

West Palm Beach Anchoring

As mentioned in the last post (click here) We're anchored at West Palm Beach Florida.

The current is vicious here! We've seen 4 knots in the direction of the tide, right now it's flowing southerly, We're anchored with two bow anchors and one stern anchor and they are holding well. The good news is that we're in 9' of water. The Stream does give concern when taking the dinghy out into that stream, we have to be able to do at least 4 knots, "Special's Dink" should be fine, we have a 4hp outboard and it's only an 8.5' Mercury dinghy, doesn't get up on the the plane but clips along nicely if only 2 people on board. So sorry folks dinghy trips in Special's Dink doesn't look like an option. 

Ohana arrived at nearly dark last night and after dinner at Bradley's they anchored between the two city docks with several other boats. Meanwhile, as the tide changes we just hung about secure on our anchors. The only other downside of being on the East side of the Waterway is the frequent crazies on their power boats churning up the waters and making Peggy wish she had taken a dramamine. Lumpy.

lt rained briefly around 4:30 this morning and I had a mad dash about the boat to close the ports and hatches which were open to keep the boat cool. It only lasted about 10 minutes and we opened up the main v-berth hatch for the welcome breeze. FYI, I attach a spare halyard to the bow of the dinghy when it's on deck and we're at anchor so that I can raise it enough to open the v-berth hatch which is below the dink.

The Bow line that we set between Affection's Stbd side and Eximius' Port side was stretchy, so when the wind picked up a bit last night the two bows were able to wander apart a few inches and the stretch caused a shriek from the line each time it tightened. Jeff & I were both on deck and we changed it out for a larger non-stretch dock line and ran it through a Chock on Eximius to reduce the load on the cleat.  Worked great, the rest of the night was peaceful.

During breakfast, Peggy & I discussed our plans for the day - not many - I need to work on the club's Newsletter, I have a couple of projects that I could get done. Hope to be able to discuss some details of upcoming club events with the Cruise Committee (they're captive audiences :) ) and send out some emails to family and friends. Peggy is going to get in some practice and I'll do some chin wagging. Later today several other boats are going to arrive. Dalecarlia, Imagine, Cookie Monster, Aireze and a couple are arriving by car. So maybe a bit more chin wagging.

See you on the water. Oh! Today's pics:

Neighbors - Affection and Alebrije 

Looking North. City Docks are on the left (West) side.

Memorial Day Weekend Cruise to West Palm Beach Pt. 1

 HISC Memorial Day Weekend Cruise to West Palm Beach.

After spending Thursday night on Lake Boca tied up with Affection (Jeff's Boat ! ) we pulled anchor at 07:30 in order to get the 07:40 Camino Real Bridge opening while Affection motored out of Boca Inlet, his draft is just 3' ours is nearly 6' and Boca Inlet is too stressful for us.

07:43 we passed Camino Real Bridge and motored the 20 minutes to Hillsboro Blvd Bridge, then it was a long slog of 60 minutes against the current down to the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge, by the time we were ready to pass the bridge, Eximius was pretty well dressed for the Day, Sails & Sheets ready, fenders all inboard, Lines secured, ready to hoist the sails. 

Just as expected, the wind was very light as we navigated carefully out of the inlet and avoided the shallow area on the North side of the Inlet and 'gonna get you' shoals on the South side of the inlet.

We turned to 045º with the intent of trying to reach the Gulf Stream under motor while the wind was so light. We did raise the sails but they pretty much just hung there. By the time we were a mile and a half off of the shore, we were feeling the Stream pushing un north. Engine given a rest and we trimmed the sails. With less than 5 knots of wind, we were barely moving through the water, just 2knots. But the Gulf Stream was dragging us North an additional 4 knots! Expecting the wind to pick up before lunch time, we stayed on course.

Soon the wind picked up to around 7 knots, and our GPS speed was 9.5knots WooHoo! The Sea was very steady and it was an easy sail. The Autopilot managed just fine once we had some speed through the water.

The only issue was that the course that I imported from had some issues. Last night I had reviewed the route on and switched the Start and Finish over so that we could see what the return trip would be like on Monday. Totally forgot that I had switched the Start an Finished and proceeded to export the route. Once it was on a chip, we imported it on our chartplotter then set the GPS to follow the route. 

Sounds ok, except that I had not remembered the switch over. So initally the chartplotter reported that we would reach our destination by noon. That was great, a bit unrealistic, but great. As we proceeded, the arrival time got later and later.


Once I realized the problem, I simply deleted the route and set a route to arrive at Lake Worth Inlet. 

All of a sudden, our late night arrival was now around 2pm.

By 13:15, the wind had dropped back to less than 5 Knots after spending a hour or so above 8 knots. It also veered to 180º and was no fun. So time to wake up the engine and motor for the next few hours to get to our destination.

We arrived in time to get the 3:15 Flagler Memorial Bridge opening and followed a big barge through the turbid waters at the bridge. Once through, we could see Alebrije and Affection anchored on the East side of the ICW almost directly East of the new Public City Dock. A quick call to Hector and we had an agreed plan to join them in a 3 boat raft up.

Plan was to motor ahead of their anchored location leaving them to Port. Drop our anchor about 100' South of them, dig it in and then back down with the current till we were due west of them both, and finally, Toss a line to them to close the gap and tie up alongside Affection.

We were a bit more than 100' ahead of them when I dropped the anchor. Of  course, it dug in right away. I eased out the 100' of chain and another 80' of 1" rode line. Once we had a line over to Affection, we, the crews of Alebrije and Affection, were able to close the gap, setup a bunch of fenders and take a well earned break.

All of us agreed on a 5:30 happy hour. Peggy & I took a bottle of wine and a bag of Chocolate Pretzels, of course we also took a bottle of Black Magic Rum and our own wine/rum glasses.

It's a beautiful view across the waterway this evening.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Routing around the Crunchy bits

 Using to plan a route Pt II

A buddy asked if routing considered the position of shallow water when planning a route.

Looks like the answer is yes! But check it out for yourselves.

Here's an image of a quick a couple of routes I setup from starting points in the Bahamas.

Obviously, it's important to review the route zoomed in when on the Chart Plotter to make sure the Route is staying clear of the 'Crunchy' bits.

The two routes in Red and Orange were auto calculated by and were both set to start off shore in the Bahamas.

By importing the route data to our Garmin, we can see that we need to modify the route to suit our preference along the way.

I'm still impressed, will report back after this weekend's trip.

See you on the Water.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Using for Routing

Using for weather routing

We're sailing Eximius up to Lake Worth this weekend and using for weather routing for the first time (Paid Subscription) 

First learnt about from a sailing vlog on YouTube. Looked pretty interesting so tried it out first as a freebie account but quickly upgraded to a paid subscription.

So, in preparation for our trip to Lake Worth here's what I did.

Once logged in, I created a new route with a start and finish position. Both of those have to be on the water! Duh. In this case I setup a start that was 3 miles off of the Hillsboro Inlet. Chose that as we need to pump out beyond the 3 mile limit before arriving at lake worth for a few days stay.

I set the parameters for the wind speed at which I would turn on the engine and the ideal wind direction off of the bow. With all of parameters set. I chose the Start date and time then just click on the Calculate Route. A few seconds later I got the image shown above. The yellow line shows the recommended route that also includes wind direction and speed during the trip and it includes the current conditions along the route.

If I play the time line, the route is shown in action as the time passes our departure time and our position along the route as time passes. 

On this particular trip, with the weather forecast  4 days out, the route shows us moving towards the coast and tacking to make the best speed with the wind at the time of transit.

This is good, but it shows the route on the computer and I would really like it to be shown on my chart plotter - good news is that it's doable!

Step one (after establishing the route) is to download the data as a file format that suits Garmin's Home Port software. Most of the download options work.

Now that I have it downloaded, opening homeport I can import the route

Selecting the downloaded file and clicking on Open, imports the route data into homeport

Now to view the route in homeport

Now the route is shown in Home port, all of the route waypoints are displayed.

Next I need to copy them to a Micro SD Chip to transfer them to my Garmin 746xs Chartplotter on the boat. 

In practice, I would do all of this on the morning of the trip so that it is based upon the most up to date weather forecast.

Right clicking on the Route name within my collection in HomePort gives the option to 'Send To'. I select Device and the empty data SD chip.

Clicking on 'OK' copies the route data to the chip.

Now all we need do is to import the data into the chart plotter. 

On the boat, we insert the chip and import the data.
Now we have the route in our chart plotter and can simply instruct the chartplotter to follow the route, it will show us when we need to turn in order to stay en-route.

This is totally cool! Obviously, it's most accurate the closer the route is calculated to the departure time. 
I figure it takes all of 5 minutes to prep the chip from the moment I click on 'Calculate Route' till the data is uploaded to the chart plotter.

Hope you found this useful, please leave a comment and any questions you have, happy to answer them. As long as they are sailing or boat owner related :)

See you on the water.

Here's a link to another post on this subject:

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Keeping notes of things to do on the boat

 Keeping notes of things to do on the boat

It seems that every trip is responsible for pointing out that we need to do something on the boat, some before the next trip. Even though I'm retired, life is pretty hectic and I just don't keep  notes in my head as well nowadays.

I have tried using spreadsheets, but it's a little cumbersome. Then I found Google's Keep Notes.

Keep-Notes is a google app that can be installed on Android phones, Tablets but is also available on the web at

It's a really simple App/Website (you would hardly know you were on a website) and allows multiple notes to be kept and accessible from the google account. 

If I keep notes on the web via Chrome, that same, updated, note is almost immediately available on the phone app.

Here's an example of a recent note. The items in this note are setup as Checkboxes, if I check off the box that item is shifted into the Completed Items list which is below the uncompleted items list.

Setting up a check off list is optional, if I just want to keep a text note, I just start typing or use the Voice input. Of course, voice does not always get it right as the list below demonstrates - (Just keeping it real here)

This note was created via the App (Voice is an option on the App)
The list was of the boat names that participated in a recent HISC cruise on St. Pat's Day at Sunrise Bay in Florida.

The boat name list should have read:

I kinda like the interpretations.

I find that the lists being available on all of my google devices is a huge benefit. eg. I keep a list titled 'Lowes' containing items I need to get at my next visit to Lowes. I can edit the list on my laptop at home and then review the list when I'm in Lowes.

I really like the simplicity of the whole system, but it does have a few more tricks.

eg The 3 dot menu in the bottom line of any list includes the option to copy the list to Google Docs. I know, I could just cut and paste the note into a google document, but it's an easy process to copy it over.

Typically I have multiple notes: Winn Dixie, Lowes, Eximius, House and more.

Hope you find this useful.

See you on the water.