Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sailboat Life

We have now been in Florida for three weeks. We have both been working hard to get the boat ready for our future travels. Some of the work has been outside in the hot, humid Florida weather. Some has been inside, which is much better because our air conditioner works very well. The list of tasks we have completed covers two pages in a full size notebook. I am feeling very good about our progress.

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 gone out on 4 sails around Tampa Bay to learn how to sail the big girl and to test the systems on the boat. I have been very impressed how most of the systems have performed.

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.
Kim slept in her hammock on deck and I slept in our bed down below. I set an anchor alarm on my phone and slept better than I expected.

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. 
We have made the decision to stay in our current marina until October. We will continue to sail in this area and take a few short trips to other anchorages and marinas to gain experience. We are still planning to leave here in September, if there are no hurricanes, and take the truck back to Missouri. The plan is to then return in October and head south for the winter months.


  1. Excellent. Once you start traveling, I would have Enterprise Rent-a-car on speed dial. I would think you could rent a car and have it delivered to whatever marina you were putting in to. More Freedom. Well done!!

    1. Enterprise sounds like a great idea. We are also planning to use Uber when we just need to take a short trip.

  2. How fun to follow along on your adventures, sitting here at my office desk. Keep it up and be safe.

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I try to reply to every comment.

  3. Beautiful photos, beautiful boat! Been wondering about the wind generator...sounds like it's doing great. I know you're going to be busy having the time of your life but don't forget to at least every 10 to 20 days post something so we can follow your new adventure. We think about you guys a lot. Glad to know you won't be tempting Poseidon. He can be really mean!

    Dick & Cathy

    1. Thanks for the kind words. We hope to see you at some point in our travels.