Friday, November 1, 2013

Vero Beach to Palm Beach

After 3 months tethered to a mooring, we bit the bullet and started south for a jump off point to the Bahamas. We were in company with our friends Lucie and Jean on the sailing vessel Sebas.

The first day we traveled a whopping 14 miles to Ft. Pierce. While the trip was uneventful, anchoring turned out to be more exciting than expected. Our turn into the wind to drop the hook was wide of our mark and we ended up hard aground. 

After 15 seconds of full reverse with no movement we shut down the engine to keep from sucking debris into the cooling system.  We launched the dinghy and took a Danforth anchor out about 100 feet at an acute angle to the bow. The rode was led through a bow chock to the windlass which luckily had the power to pull the bow and then rest of the boat off the shoal. Another 10 minutes and we were safely anchored where we originally wanted to be.

The next day we covered the remaining 48 miles dealing with 4 on-demand and 2 timed bridges. I hate those things! Almost to our destination, in Lake Worth sound there was enough room to finally do the sea trial commissioning of the new hydraulic autopilot. We had been using it the trip from Vero but with a lot of extra work getting it pointing correctly.  In the open bay it took only a few minutes in a slow turn to calibrate the compass then about 20 minutes letting the autopilot software play with S-turns to learn how our boat handles. At the end everything is set up and seems to work perfectly.

One side effect of calibrating the autopilot compass and having it networked with the chart plotter is that we can now overlay radar on the charts. It sure helps to see things in context!
Chart with radar overlay

The gulf stream crossing window we were anticipating never quite appeared so we will be hanging out for a while here near Lake Worth Inlet at Palm Beach.