Miami to Fort Pierce, Part I
In the meantime, I'd been trying to work on the boat whenever I had some free time. But she was almost three hours away in traffic and I had tripped into working 6 days a week. Most of my boat money was going toward cheap motel rooms because often I didn't have enough time off to make a trip to the boat. It's a funny thing for a vagabond to feel rootless and spread out.
|The previous mess.|
As I got close to being able to move Emma, my buddy Pete from Canada contacted me about a big motorcycle trip that he had been planning. He was going to be in Florida and wanted to come by for a beer and to catch up. As his timing began to converge with my need to move Emma, I offered to take him sailing on my decrepit boat. Emma was neglected enough that I could afford her, but she was in the water, floating, dry inside and ready for a new life. I was just the man for the job, but sailing her without an engine 120 miles from Miami to Fort Pierce was safer and more practical with some crew. Pete didn't hesitate and he didn't abandon ship once he saw Emma's current basic accommodations.
Emma has a few chunks of foam in her cabin but no upholstered cushions. The dinette would fold
And she sails like a dream, but we'll get into that later.
I got back from my week of trucking and met up with Pete on Monday, July Fourth. Pete parked his motorcycle at the marina. We ran a few errands in town, forgot to grab a bag out of my storage unit, and took off for Miami in my vehicle.
|Pete, hard at work at the tiller|
Poor Pete, a Canadian remember, had already been on the road for 4000 miles and I drug him into the thick tropical swelter of Miami in July. After provisioning, we dinghied out to the boat Monday night. We didn't do much but organize ourselves and get ready to crash. Auspiciously it was the Fourth of July. As we sat in the cockpit, having a beer, we could see six different fireworks displays. What looked like the main Miami display was fantastic but the display toward Kendall or Pinecrest seemed to go on all night long. Mother Nature even got in the game flashing lightning off of huge thunderclouds that gathered over the Everglades.
Tuesday we did some boatwork; tuned the rig, taped off all the cotter pins, got the jib sheet and the downhaul installed, and generally got ready. We were feeling ready so soon that I called and moved our tow appointment up to Wednesday morning from Wednesday afternoon.
Yeah, towing. In addition to having no engine, Emma was moored deep on the wrong side of the
|Emma was four rows down from the top right corner.|
In no hurry, our tow captain talked our ears off before he even tied a line to Emma. After the chat, he decided to tie up at Emma's hip to get us out of the mooring field. Which meant he was beside us rather than in front of us, but we were “attached at the hip” and easier for him to control in close quarters. Once in the channel, he untied and tossed a line to tow us from the bow. We were attached off center from the starboard hawse, so I had to steer toward the tow boat to keep Emma in his wake.
|Someone else's starboard hawse|
Originally, the Miami Towboat/US franchise had told me that they thought I'd be covered by my insurance for the tow out. When I called Boat/US corporate to have the tow dispatched, they informed me that their service is for emergencies and I didn't have one. They determined that because I had purchased a boat without an engine, Ihad known all along I'd need a tow. I did, however, get a good discount from the Miami guys for being a Boat/US member. And it sounds like the office newbie gave me a pretty low quote to begin with. They were all great and stood by the quote.
We had a pleasant ride across Biscayne Bay and down the channel between Key Biscayne and Stiltsville. Just past the last marker, we were set free. The towboat captain hung around to watch us
I had set up some waypoints and researched the waters about five miles offshore. Unfortunately, the wind we had wouldn't let us get farther offshore without pointing the boat almost perfectly south – the wrong direction. I hadn't really studied this particular patch of
|The Sail Plan|
We made it past the Port of Miami without having much ship traffic. Port Everglades was busier but we only had to watch one ship as it crossed our bow a good distance away. Several ships and a tug towing a huge barge were offshore heading north and would be no trouble to us.
The sailing was glorious. The wind piped up on a few occasions but was steady and went easy on us. We might have had some gusts to 20 knots but the wind stayed 10 to 15 knots most of the way. Once or twice we were nearly becalmed; just gurgling along, but we only tacked once the whole trip. Though I had expected the wind to shift behind us, it never did. We were on a beam reach nearly the whole time. Check out the screenshot of Emma making 9 knots over the ground. Pretty nice for a 20,000 pound boat. The Gulf Stream current almost doubled our speed even as the ride was smooth as silk.
Below, forty seconds of our peaceful trip: