|My route to Anclote Key|
All the GRIBs were showing Easter Sunday to be a fine day to sail south from Carrabelle Florida to Anclote Key, a 140 mile trip. I have enjoyed my layover in Carrabelle, but it was time to move on. The weather people predicted east winds at 10 to 13 knots with seas 2-3 feet. That would be perfect to push the old Rasmus on down to Anclote Key. At least 6 other sailors had decided to leave either Sunday or Monday. I motored out of the Carrabelle River around 7:30 am on Easter Sunday and raised my sails in St. George Bay. There were two other sailors following me out. The previous two times across this stretch of water I motored and motor sailed. This time I wanted to sail the entire leg. As soon as I moved out into the gulf, I noticed the winds were I bit more lively than I or the weather folk had expected. I soon put a double reef in the main and reefed down the genoa and I was still making 5 1/2 to 7 knots, which is pretty good for the Rasmus. The wind and waves were square on my beam and the were steep 4 ft. chop, which made a pretty uncomfortable ride. But I was making good speed with sails alone and who can complain with that. The first day out stayed about the same as described except for a bit of increase in wind speed and wave height. The winds changed in direction enough to keep me very busy with sail trim and wind vane adjustment. I was feeling fatigued by dusk.
|Conditions were energetic from start to finish|
The night brought even stronger conditions and very cold air. It was starting to get miserable. I was still working hard with sail trim and wind vane adjustment. About my wind vane self steer system. I have a Capehorn made self steer wind vane. It is very sensitive to even the slightest adjustment to the vane, which rotates by means of two lines running from it to the cockpit. The two lines are cleated off on opposite sides of the cockpit, so in adjusting them, I have to lean and reach about five feet, which after time can really increase fatigue. I don't like it. So after spending the night jogging around the cockpit adjusting the wind vane, I was determined to set up a better system. I ran one line through a snatch block and secured the block to one side of the cockpit. This system allows me to adjust the vane without reaching and leaning to one side of the cockpit to the other. I can simply rotate the block pulley as I sit in my comfy spot.
|This is my new wind vane adjustment block. Just turn the pulley, that's it.|
|The old system had cleats on each side of the cockpit 5 ft. apart. After time this is fatiguing.|
Back to that miserable night of sailing. As I said, the weather became cold, really cold. I also acquired a rare case of sea sickness. The weather had strengthened through the night. The waves were now averaging 5-6 feet beam on with several eight footers that placed all items on the port shelves on the floor. I started to shiver around midnight and was worried about hyperthermia. I already had all my clothes on plus rain gear and chest waders. I was still very cold. So I pulled out my survival suit, a very thick neoprene suit made for very cold water exposure, and put it on and then climbed into a sleeping bag. That stopped the shivering but I still could not get warm. I felt like I was sailing the north atlantic, not Florida in April. I thought about heaving to but what would that accomplish. I wasn't in a survival situation and I couldn't sleep because of my nausea. So I kept the boat moving in the right direction and hoped for a break in conditions.
|Stong conditions for first 20 hours of crossing|
|I had all this gear on to try and stay warm: rain gear, chest waders, survival suit and sleeping bag.|
|I ate two boxes of Gin Gins to keep the contents in my stomach in my stomach|
They came at 6 am the next morning. I was nearing the coast and the waves reduced in size and the wind decreased. Around 7 am I stopped sailing and started up the motor and motored on in to Anclote Key. I dropped anchor around noon just off of Dutchman Key and passed out for a 4 hour nap. I was exposed to the east winds but by dusk the winds has switched to westerly and everything became calm and peaceful. What a great nights sleep. I woke up to glassy waters and a beautiful day to go kayaking and beach combing. Ahhh…this is why I endure discomfort in a small boat. I spent two wonderful nights there before heading off to Tarpon Springs.
|Anclote Key Anchorage|
|Beautiful sunrise after a great nights sleep|
|Favorite anchorage for these locals|
|Recovered after a great nights sleep, I had a good day on the water|
|A classic wooden ship at its final resting place|