Hello St. Augustine
SV Banksy: Hello St. Augustine
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day yesterday when we arrived in St. Augustine. Warm sun—hot, even, in the afternoon—and 83F/28C. We walked across the Bridge of Lions and wandered around the outside of Castillo de San Marcos (long waiting line to go in). We stopped for delicious Brussels sprouts tacos at Osprey Tacos and a lovely beer at Old Coast Ales, a brewing company adjacent to Osprey. Mmmmm. In the evening we watched the annual holiday boat parade with boats lit up against the backdrop of the Christmas lights in old town St. Augustine. Lovely.
To get to St. Augustine, we did a short, easy overnight from Fernandina Beach. When we have more than 10 hours of travel to do and only 10 hours of daylight, we like the overnight set up. We don’t want to leave or arrive in the dark.
I saw a dolphin in Fernandina Harbor just before we left, and I love that. Somehow seeing dolphins leading the way or playing alongside SV Banksy always feels friendly. It was WARM when we left! Warm enough for shorts and barefoot motoring as we left the river and inlet. We were excited for calm seas and some good sailing wind.
We left as expected in the afternoon and got out of the channel and into the ocean no problem. The seas were calm and there was enough wind to sail from a friendly angle. Beautiful! We pointed the nose of SV Banksy into the wind and started to raise the main… and UGH. About 3/4 of the way up we could see the halyard was twisted in on itself. And we could see core of the halyard… NOT good. We stopped raising and tried to figure out what to do.
The main halyard is a line (rope) raises and lowers SV Banksy’s mainsail. The mainsail is big at ~750 sq ft, and pretty heavy. We think the main halyard, with all that weight, actually chaffed on itself when the pulley/block came loose and twisted the halyard back on itself while we were raising the main. We didn’t notice the twist in time to save anything except the core of the halyard.
Ryan devised a temporary fix to cut off parts of the halyard cover in several segments and whip stitch the frayed ends so we could get the halyard to go back into the mast enough to lower the mainsail. It was an awesome fix and we were able to lower the mainsail instead of having to resort to hoping tape might stay around the rope long enough make it through the mast without getting stuck in there... or even cutting the main halyard. Whew. We finished implementing the fix just in time to sit down together and watch the sunset.
With no mainsail, our head sails couldn't be used (or shouldn't be per the manufacturer and sailors in many forums). So we motored slowly all night instead of getting to sail and muck about with our code zero head sail as we had hoped. The wind died almost completely after dark and stayed that way, which gave us some minor consolation: we wouldn't have been able to sail, anyway.
Hanging out on the ocean at night when there are calm and friendly waters is nice, even while motoring. I love how the moon creates a moonlit path along the water. I love that you can see the stars across the whole sky. Last night I loved how Orion kept us company, running all the way across the sky as we motored into the wee hours of the morning. Last night he was joined in his journey by a couple of shooting stars.
We docked in St. Augustine around 8:30. Note for those of you empathizing with my nausea while underway, I want you to know that I felt just fine THE WHOLE TRIP. This is the second time we've been out in the ocean and I felt...fine. Yay, finally!
The Conch House marina where we are docked is nice and clean, and the people are friendly. Of course the wifi does not work, but that's been par for the course down south. So far on this trip the wifi has only worked in the Chesapeake. We’ll get a new halyard rigged while here, and get some help in figuring out why our outboard isn’t behaving.
Rambling About What's Next
Our next hop is likely Port Canaveral. There is a marina just inside the inlet when after we come around the cape that has space big enough for our wide beam (25’3”). We don’t really want to go through the locks and a draw bridge. (We are too tall to go under almost every bridge in the south at 70'/21.4m). If we can figure out a time to get to Port Canaveral when they have space, we'll do that. The marina has been super friendly in trying to work with us on finding dates, but there weren't any until later December last I checked.
I love that we can chat with some marinas (including Port Canaveral) on the Dockwa app. Snag-a-slip, another dockspace-finding app, has AMAZING customer support, but they need some technical help. My trips don’t show up (bug) and I can’t chat with marinas (competitive tablestakes enhancement needed?).
If we don't stop at Port Canaveral (or perhaps after staying there), our next hop might be Fort Pierce. We have to find an inlet that’s safe for us to navigate into and that we can navigate into far enough to be protected (see bridges mention above). Then we either need space for us to anchor safely, stay on a mooring ball or an available slip at a marina. Oddly that’s not as easy as we had imagined or heard stories about. I think that’s because of the combination of our height, our beam (lots of marina slips aren't that wide), and because SO MANY BOATS are out enjoying the non-hurricane season.
I thought I’d ramble a bit about what we’re planning next because so many of you have asked how we figure that out. So in addition to the location challenge, we need to combine that with looking for good weather windows. To look for weather windows we use Windy (ECMWF and GFS models), PredictWind, NOAA, LuckGrib for more detailed/localized GFS and CMS views, and recently we also signed up for an email service by Chris Parker). I never thought we would spend as much time as we do looking at weather, but it’s interesting learning new systems. The Windy maps are cool because you can watch the big systems play out over a week or so. And pretty. Especially when the big red spots aren't headed your way. :)
Banksy the Dog: Banksy’s “Sister” Kuzca
Banksy the dog was taught how to be a very good dog partially by the dog we had when we got him. Kuzca was nine when we got Banksy; we thought she needed a puppy to help keep her feeling young and playful. Kuzca was a golden retriever/greyhound mix who did not like to snuggle, though begrudgingly allowed Banksy to occasionally do so. He tried to teach her how to play more. She taught him important things like how to fetch the paper and chew sticks.
It was Kuzca’s birthday this week. Ryan, not often sentimental, was wearing a hat that Kuzca partially chewed up. <3 We loved our puppies so much.