When asked if I would be interested in helping to deliver a boat to Florida I had to think for about a second before saying YES! Steve and Karen, whom we had met on Sol Mate last year in the Bahamas, were planning another trip this year. Since Ginnie and I decided to stay up north to experience the Polar Vortex’s we had missed the previous two years, I was available for the trip to Florida.
The plan was for two old salts (Mike and I) and one semi-old salt (Steve) to deliver the boat from Pettis Boat Yard in Warwick, RI to somewhere in south Florida so Karen and Steve could continue on to the Bahamas after Thanksgiving.
We departed Pettis Boat Yard at 0400 hrs on Sunday October 18th. Yes that’s 4 AM to give us an arrival time in Norfolk, VA during daylight hours. The trip down the bay was uneventful. Near the entrance to Great Salt Pond in Block Island the boat decided that going in circles was far more fun than just simply following the track set into the auto pilot. Seas building, wind picking up, and no auto pilot, this could be a very long trip. The decision was made to lay into the Block and try to fix the auto pilot. It was a simple fix, the linkage arm had popped off. After much debate and extensive engineering, we simply snapped it back on and wrapped the connection with electrical tape. (It worked throughout the trip to Florida and is probably good for another 50,000 miles). We were on our way an hour or so later. We passed Montauk at 1200 hrs with 22 to 30 knots of wind and building seas. Leaving New England in mid October almost always guarantees a few days and nights of cold weather and we were not to be spared. The first overnight was windy, with heavy seas and you guessed it, it was cold. Approaching Cape May the next day at 1745 hrs with 20 plus knots of wind on the nose and 6 plus foot seas, we easily made the decision to stay the night in the Cape May harbor. It was a good choice since it was warm and calm and we needed an early morning departure to be in Norfolk early Wednesday morning.
First day out
Cold but beautiful
Steve on our way into Norfolk
Norfolk with lots of Navy ships
Approaching Norfolk at about 0400 hrs we were in the middle of a powerful squall with heavy rain and lightning. We arrived in Norfolk shortly after sunrise and docked at the North Landing – Ferry Stop, a small pocket off the Elizabeth River. Early the next morning we started down the ICW taking the Dismal Swamp route headed for Beaufort, NC.
Early morning in the Dismal Swamp
Yikes! The Dismal Swamp is sure skinny in most places
Our next night was in Elizabeth City, then Belhaven, NC where we caught up with Bill Roy on board Providence. The fourth night on the ICW was in Moorhead City docking and dining at the Sanitary Restaurant. We wondered who thought that was a good name for a restaurant.
Sunday morning we left the “Sanitary” for a run on the outside, around Cape Fear, down to Fernandina Beach, FL. So 350nm in 52 hrs averaging 6.7 kts definitely was not bad.
The next leg was to Ft. Pierce, FL, about 215 nm.
Mahi mahi for dinner that night
And sushi (tuna) for lunch the next day
We left Fernandina Beach at 2000 hrs for the 36 hour sail to Ft. Pierce arriving Thursday October 30th in the morning. The 1160 nautical miles in 12 day was a great trip!
Solving all the worlds problems…
Steve put together a great video below…check it out