We have also had to do a number of administrative things including registering the boat in Florida and getting our FCC license for the radio.
We installed new smoke and CO2 detectors, a high water alarm, and tried to fix the cockpit mic. I ended up finding it was easier and cheaper to buy a new radio. I then installed it and a new cable to the cockpit. I serviced the furlers and the reefing systems. I am still not happy with the reefing system, but I have done some research and now have a plan to fix it. A big job was to remove the name "Solemates 3" off of the back of the boat and apply the new name, "SHIFT". We did carry out a renaming ceremony to appease Poseidon and bring us his protection on the sea. No need to tempt fate.
|You can kind of see the new name in this picture.|
We have purchased new off-shore Life Vests with internal harnesses. This will allow us to stay clipped in if we get into heavy seas. We are still researching what other safety equipment we should have.
On Monday of this week, we sailed all around Tampa Bay in 10-15 knots of breeze. While we were over by the Skyway bridge, this Coast Guard C130 decided to take a look at us. At the time we had dolphins all around us, but I just could not get a good shot.
We then made a couple of long tacks and headed out the inlet to the open gulf. We were getting carried by the outgoing tide. We hit over 8 knots Speed over Ground (SOG), with only 12.3 knots of wind, our new record. We sailed out about 4 miles before turning around.
After a great day of sailing, we dropped the anchor about a half mile from our marina to eat dinner. It was already 7 p.m.. We had a nice breeze, so we decided to stay put for the night. That gave us an excellent opportunity to test our battery systems. We had been unplugged all day and running our navigation, refrigeration and autopilot, so our batteries were down to 95%. Even though we were running our DC refrigeration system all night, the wind generator hummed away in the breeze and had our batteries up to 100% by morning.
Here are a few shots from our anchorage.
|A building storm to our east, thankfully moving away from us.|
|Sunset at the end of a perfect day.|
|Sunrise the next morning. It is an awesome time of the day. Cool temps and no bugs.|
The next morning, we dropped the dingy and attached the motor and cruised over to Desoto point. This is the point where the historians believe that the famous Spanish explorer first landed in what is now the US back in the 1500's. There is a nice visitor center there, that is run by the National Park Service. We took a walk and used the bathroom and then went for a swim.
|There is a cross at Desoto point to signify the christian faith of the Spanish explorer.|