Tuesday, May 9, 2023

2023 Palm Beach Regatta

Hillsboro Inlet to Lake Worth Regatta

We have sailed in the Palm Beach Regatta for the past few years and it's always a lot of fun even if it did include some not so fun periods on the water.

This year we left our dock at 0920 just after High Tide and the New River bridges all opening after the Rush hour Traffic lockdown in Fort Lauderdale ( 07:30-0900 ) and had an easy navigation down the river and out of Port Everglades on pretty calm waters. We headed offshore to the 3mile line for a pump out and then headed up to Hillsboro Inlet.

Our arrival at the Inlet was about 2hours before low tide, but we still managed to carve a groove in the sand near the edge of the inlet, we should have gone even closer to the Green markers. It was probably the tides during the Flower Full Moon that reduced the water depth.

There were 4knots of water flowing out of the Inlet Bridge, but we pushed through without any issues and headed North on the ICW towards Hillsboro Blvd Bridge, our destination was Lake Boca where the Skippers meeting was being held in a condo picnic facility.

We were going to be racing on Saturday the 6th, that was also King Charles III Coronation in the UK. As a 25 Year Veteran of the British Royal Navy, the same Navy that, then Prince Charles, flew helicopters in 1974, I respect the British Monarchy, in particular Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. I was certain that the queen would not abdicate her position and that she would die upon the throne, that was her commitment to the British people when she became queen.  I saw a picture of King Charles holding the Royal Orb while sat on the throne in Westminster Abbey, some thought he was tired, but I am certain he was looking at that Orb and considering the implication of it's history, and previous Monarchs sitting in that same seat holding that same Orb over the past 362 years and the Scepter of the same period have significant meaning, even today when the Royal Family is much less in a position of power. I'm certain that if asked, King Charles would mention the history and symbolism of those historic pieces of Royal jewelry . 

As we would not be able to watch the Coronation, I researched and found that the Official Dish of the Coronation was to be the 'Coronation Quiche', now that is something I could make. I made two. One for the 'Bring something to share' dish for the Skippers party on Friday and the other to be our dinner on Sunday night after our return from Palm Beach.  Must admit, not my favorite Quiche ever.

I couldn't find 'Broad Beans' locally, so I used Lima Beans. It was a bit heavy for me.

After the Skippers Party, Mike Megarity joined us on Eximius as Crew for the Regatta. We had made up the Aft Berth, prior to that it was barely somewhere to crawl in, let alone Sleep comfortably. Mike said it was quite comfy. :)

We set the Alarm for 5:30am in order to have breakfast and hoist the anchor to get to the Camino Real Bridge for 07:20, Then it was back down the ICW past the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge and out of the Hillsboro Inlet, this time at High Tide. We turned out to the East and hoisted the sails, taking the time to roll down the sail bag and stow the Lazy Jacks in order to get the most from our sails.

Our plans came together really well and we crossed the Start line at 10:05:40, less than 40 seconds after the 10:05 Start signal from Lady Gray which was acting as the Start Committee Boat. For us that was HUGE! Last year, Barry on Lady Gray had pulled the start line up and headed North before we even got to the start line, probably 20 minutes after our actual start. So less than 40 seconds was HUGE!

Once over the start line we headed East as best we could hoping to get to the North Flowing Gulf Stream. Our lack of experience in sail handling hit right away and we lost severa; minutes sorting out jammed running rigging when we shook out the single reef that was in place prior to the start.

We put the 1st reef back in later in the morning and screwed that up also. Here's what we did and what we should have done.

To put the reef in, we lowered the main in order to allow us to pull down on the 1st reef Downhaul and the 1st reef Outhaul.  We should have tensioned the Topping lift first. Because we did not, the boom fell down to below the top of the Dodger/Spray hood. so now we could not pull down on the reefing lines. Also the topping lift line dissappeared out of the back of the Line Stopper/Clutch so we could not just put the topping lift line on the winch and hence raise the boom to allow reefing. I had to go forward to the mast and pull on the topping lift while Mike raised the end of the boom, according to the timeline on the Inreach map, it probably took only a couple of minutes, but it felt like about 10 minutes.  Our speed dropped to almost zero except that the gulf stream was taking us North at around 2knots.

Despite our failures/ challenges with the running rigging, we did eventually get towards the finish line. That's when we had a run in with an upset dive boat captain, no names no pack drill as we used to say in the Navy. 
The situation was that while I was at the helm, I spotted a dive boat about a half mile ahead, off our port bow, and turned the boat to make sure we would comply with the 300' minimum closing distance. We were probably 500' and heading well away from the dive boat. That's when the  dive boat started to move towards us, quite quickly. The captain, I presume as she was at the helm of the dive boat, started ranting loudly out of the boat's stbd cabin window, using a variety of very salty language, she demanded that we move away from her divers. Luckily I had Mike with me, he's very fluent in Dive instructors language and requirements. The dive boat captain demanded that we turn to Port which was really weird as the dive boat was originally off to our Port side and if there were divers in the water they would have been well off of our port side also, so turning the boat to port would have taken us directly to where she claimed the divers to be located. I turned further to starboard once we confirmed by looking in that direction that there were no divers float flags off of our starboard bow. She continued to scream at us, announcing that we didn't know who we were messing with. Then she got on the VHF Radio #16 and continued the onslaught of crazy accusations. We continued on our way leaving the dive boat and her crazy skipper well astern.  Later that evening I was advised that some of the other club members that were listening out on #16 heard everything that the crazy lady screamed over the VHF.

We looked up the dive company the next evening and found that some of her prior dive clients had similar experiences of her going ballistic on the boat.   

With the dive boat incident far behind us we continued for about another hour or so towards the Green #3 Marker at the Lake Worth Inlet.

About 10 minutes before we approached the marker, Peggy got my phone ready to take a picture of the mark when we passed it and Mike got his phone ready to take a picture of our Chart Plotter. We counted down the minutes and made sure we were all ready to take that vital shot so that we could report our finish time to Eduardo the Regatta Scoring committee chair.

We were doing really good as we approached the mark.

Once past the mark, we turned into wind in order to drop the main and roll up the Genoa.

Peggy was at the helm as Mike and I went up to the mast, unrolled the Cradle Cover and then, with Mike back in the cockpit, we lowered the main into the bag. Main down, I returned to the cockpit and we furled in the genoa. Then it was back to Peggy to turn us back towards the inlet. It's important to keep an eye out for the buoys guiding the way into the deeper part of the inlet and then the turn into the ICW going South towards the Palm Beach Sailing Club mooring field and the local anchorage. There's a lot of boats there! But we've been there before and know that there are decent spaces available for anchoring between all of the moored vessels.

Time for a break! Mike & I stayed in the cockpit and closed up the cabin entrance to give Peggy some privacy in order she get ready for our dinghy ride to the club house.

The Palm Beach Sailing Club does a great job hosting the Awards party, probably over 50 people were there, some drove up to the party but most were from the racers boats.  Alisa managed the Bar and kept us all in order quickly serving our drinks. The Dinner was substantial, Chicken, Pork, Pasta, and all the bits to go with them. Desserts were awesome! Wish I had gotten a photo but to be honest, I was exhausted and ready to just enjoy the dinner, a couple of drinks and enjoy the music by the live trio. And of course the chats with the other sailors.

Eventually it was RESULTS RESULTS RESULTS! Alex, Commodore of the PBSC and Eduardo, Vice Commodore of the HISC as well as being the racing chair both did a great job of announcing the results. Here's a link. Please note! Eximius came 2nd, Ok, that was 2nd in our class. Oh All Right, it was second out of two in our class. Ok OK OK - we were last! But we still got a trophy for coming in 2nd in our class. I'll take that. Should have the engraved trophy in the next few weeks, I'll put it here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

Pic of Trophy goes here

After the party we got a ride back to the boat, Eduardo and Eva were in the same dink and the weather had picked up significantly, those towards the front of the boat were soaked from the wave action.

Back aboard Eximius, Peggy was ready to turn in while Mike & I discussed club business and shared sailing stories, he has plenty about Spruce Goose and his trip with the boat from Amelia Island years ago.

Eventually, the long day won out and we all headed below with the plan to wake up early for the trip back in the morning down the ditch.

I think we all slept well, breakfast was Fried Eggs, Canadian Bacon and Tomatoes along with Skillet Toast with Peanut Butter and Strawberry jam. 

I really like my coffee, especially on the boat. In the past I would make coffee and add creamer, plain and simple, easy and no fancy equipment when on the boat, but at home I would rather have coffee with frothy creamer of oat milk, oh yes! I really like my coffee.
Recently I purchased a Milk Frother that is Rechargeable via a USB connector. It works really well. I have even used it to whisk up eggs for fluffy omelets. It does a great job of frothing oat milk creamer. 

We're growing our list of USB rechargeable gadgets. This goes well with the USB Blender that was the 2022 HISC Cruise Hosts award. 

Ok, after breakfast, we pulled the anchor and turned towards the ICW which was just about 100yds to the west of our anchored position directly east of the PBSC club house.

Oh! nearly forgot. When we returned to the boat on Saturday night, I had left my credit card at the Bar. I reached out to Alex and he was able to retrieve it then bring it to Eximius. Apparently I was not the only one, he delivered another to one of the crew on the Sharyn Leigh. Then we pulled anchor.

Once on the ICW we knew there were a couple of club member boats ahead of us, Cookie Monster, Contrails and Lady Gray. they were close enough to the first bridge to sneak through when the bridge opened early for a towed boat, so they were about a half hour ahead of us.

Continuing down the ICW, we easily made all of the bridges with Eximius hitting 8.45knots at times through the water at 2,250RPM. We reached Lake Park bridge along with Duet, Contrails and a non club member's boat. Each of calling the bridge to request an opening as it is an Opens on Demand bridge. However, the bridge's radio was out of action at that time and it took over 25 mins to reach the tender and he complete the recording of each vessels info including our boat's Height, Length and Beam. That put us another half hour behind Cookie Monster and Lady Gray.

No good deed etc. As Cookie Monster and Lady gray arrived for the opening of the Spanish River Blvd Bridge, the bridge broke in the down position and a gaggle of sailboats were hanging just North of the bridge while we were about an hour away and catching up. The news from the bridge was not good, it had already been locked down for an hour and they were not sure when it would open. Duet was pushing ahead unaware of the issue. We hung back as I really didn't want to be trying to hold station with a dozen other boats by the bridge for goodness knows how long. I advised Duet and Lady gray of my plans and, of course, in 20 more minutes the bridge opened to let a bunch of boat through. 
At that time I figured to arrive at the bridge at it's next 30min opening and we continued at a leisurely pace and the bridge did open on time although only partially. The bridge tender did ask us to confirm that we were ok going through the bridge with the north side spans only partially open. We were good and they opened the South Side spans as we approached. 

It was now a short trip down to the Palmetto Park Blvd Bridge and then into Lake Boca.

By the time we got to the lake, Mike had his gear prepared for going ashore. My plan was to nudge the bow of Eximius into an empty slip, Mike climb onto the dock and then I would back Eximius out between the pilings. 

That's almost what we did. It turned out there was a strong southerly current near the slips. I got the boat bow into the slip without a problem but Mike couldn't get a line to the dock, so not close enough. Eventually we pushed off from the adjacent dock and got the bow to the dock on our port side. 

Mike said his goodbyes and, with Peggy on the bow ready to catch the dock line from Mike, I backed the boat out and the current and wind turned the bow to starboard, Luckily I was able to reverse the boat between the pilings on our port side and once the bow was past those pilings, skoot the boat around to starboard and exit the dock area. All good.

Peggy was able to move us to our planned anchoring spot and I put down 75' of chain near the North East corner of the lake.

Of course, a floating condo with at least 3 floors dropped anchor putting his boat over our anchor. It's not unusual in Lake Boca, we're used to it.

Dinner of salad and Coronation Quiche and we were ready to turn in. I spent a little time clearing my emails then set the alarm for a 5:45 wakey  wakey so that we could get the 7am Camino Real bridge opening which would allow us to get the Hillsboro Blvd 7:30 opening.

The Hillsboro bridge had it's problems and only the East Span would open, that was not the last of the bridge problems.  Another bridge further south had a problem too. The bridge tender advised that there was a RED FLAG Warning  - turned out that the bridge was opening really really, really! slowly, but nothing more than that.

We made all of the bridges except the Sunrise bridge on time. So we dawdled from Oakland Park Bridge down to Sunrise. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Well unless you think that having to do a couple of doughnuts just downstream of Andrews Ave bridge as they had a few minutes delay. This has happened before and I wonder if the bridge tender just wants to watch as we turn our boat in the narrow part of the river dealing with the flow of the river and the wind doing what it does.  But we have done this so often it's a non-event.

Back at the dock, Peggy got us alongside easily and we set too prepping the boat for a couple of days at the dock before we go back down and wash her down.  We got to the dock at 11:08 and were on the road home by 1:45 and that included taking a few minutes for some lunch.

Home, exhausted, unloaded, showered and a quick nap! Then at 5pm I ordered Curry from Jasmine Thai. We watched a few of the youtubers we follow and then the sack called us, I don't remember my head hitting the pillow.

Great weekend, Great Crew, Great Sailing, Great Company, Ready to do it again next year, but maybe stay up there a couple of extra days.

Next trip - Memorial Day Cruise to Biscayne Bay. 

See you on the water.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got questions or suggestions about our boat, our sailing or our adventures?
Leave a comment.