anchorage, better sailor, blog, bridges, channels, downwind sailing, excited, exhausted, forecast, Ft. Pierce, glamorous, high 5, hungover, intercoastal, jetties, massive waves, motor boats, nature, ocean, outdoors, precautions, sails, shoals, steering, transportation, travel, troubles anchoring, uneventful, West Palm, wing on wing
So whenever I mention to someone that also lives on their boat and finds out that I have a blog, they are always insistent about one thing. On the blog, I write a lot of what happens around here with us and well some gets left out. Some of the not so glamorous stuff that, well you just don’t need to know about. We love living on our boat and wouldn’t trade it for the world (unless the world was a bigger boat!) but every once in a while you have to share those things that make boating real. Things that happen that aren’t so glamorous and make
it a chore or even possibly threatening but very rewarding when done. Things that make you a better sailor and stores to tell later and look back and laugh. And all those other boaters make sure to tell me not to forget to include those things every now and then. Well this is one of those times.
So we headed off from West Palm, hungover and exhausted but excited. The forecast was great and all was good to go. We have been trying to stay out of the intercoastal as much as possible to avoid 1. other boats including but not limited to motor boats that leave big wakes, 2. Bridges, 3. channels and 4. shoals. Out in the ocean, it’s just you and your boat. No worries other than steering and your sails. The best is when you shut the motor off and it’s just you, the wind and the water.
The day was uneventful. The water was calm, the breeze was light, it was wonderful! As the day went on the water became rougher and the wind stronger and before we knew it we were in 5 foot short stacked (close together) waves in a following sea (coming at us from behind) along with sailing downwind. For the first time Curtis had our sails wing on wing which means the Genoa was to the port and the main sail was to our starboard. It is amazing to see and even more amazing the patience and dedication to make this happen. You must follow a very exact coarse or else the sails deflate.
As we headed toward the inlet everything became worse. The waves bigger, the winds stronger, we knew we were in for some trouble. We prepped the boat, took all our precautions (except I would have loved to have gotten it on video if I wasn’t so freekin’ scared). Curtis was cool calm and collected, he is my hero! If you could ever picture 8 foot waves, coming at your boat from every direction, no pattern to them, with jetties on each side and a very small channel, what you are picturing is not even close to how it was. It was messed up!
As we got through it and we were done it was such a rush! We gave each other a high five, noted the things we needed to do differently next time to prepare and had a mini celebration of recalling those moments when the toe rail was in the water and the boat tossing from side to side with the genoa nearly in the water. If it wasn’t for us having both sails open we for sure would have ended up on the rocks. The tide going out but the waves coming in was not a very good outcome for Papillon. But we did make it though.
So we sailed through the inlet to our predetermined anchor spot and watched the bright red sun fade over the horizon. Just before the sun was going down we ended up at our anchoring only to find our depths would not permit us to stay there, so off we were to find a new place.
We notice another boat anchored next to a shipping container port and decided that it was the place for us since it had over 20 foot depths. We should have, and should being the major word there, followed our gut instincts. We anchored and ended up being too close to the boat next to us and decided to pull it up and try again. This would have been a great plan other than the fact that our anchor wouldn’t come up! It was caught on something, and that something was very big and wouldn’t let go. Must be a manatee (inside joke).
So we tried everything, and I mean everything. Even hailed a boat passing by and the tug boat for the container ships responded as they were near by and said they could come help in 45min. Wow, there are still some nice people out in this world! Soon after we talked to them, the boat next to us (who we were trying to be quiet and not wake up or bother) responded, and said no worries. They had been watching and taking notice and were not concerned. Again! Our luck may not have been with us for this anchoring (and usually we do so well!) but luck was on our side with the nice people on the boat next to us and the tug boat lady.
A joint decision was made between us and the other boat to wait till daylight to try and figure out how to get our anchor back up. We let out some more scope. What’s scope? Well you have your anchor, some chain, and then rope. the scope is the rope or really the angle of how much of everything you have out to the water. More on this in a future post.
So that brings me to now. We canceled the assistance of the tug boat and I went to work cleaning up the boat from everything that was tossed around while coming through the inlet, and now we wait. We have multiple alarms set to wake us up at different points of the night and check on the boat to boat ratio, and make sure everything looks ok. We hope tonight we can actually get more than a few hours of sleep but we will see how that goes.