Saturday in St. Augustine / Day of the Gennaker

12/18/2010

St. Augustine at night

Woke up slowly and tired after having quite a few drinks the night before with the crew. Sailors sure can drink! Made our way to the dinghy dock paddling our dinghy whitewater-raft style since we had the outboard motor stowed on the sailboat’s deck for safe keeping.

We had pulled our Genoa (front sail) down from Wee Happy and brought it with us in the dinghy. The foot of the sail had ripped out a couple of days earlier, and we had found a “sail loft” in St. Augustine that could fix it that day. Tom from Irish Sail Lady met us at the dock and picked it up from us. He is the “Irish Sail Lady’s” husband. I couldn’t help but ask him if he by any chance had an asymmetrical spinnaker (big multicolored front sail for use in downwind runs and light airs) for sale that would fit our boat. Lala and I have been wanting one for a while now to turbo charge our down wind runs, and they are just so pretty! He said that he actually did have one that might fit, and he’d check the measurements and get back to me.

Then we meandered through town to a little diner where the sailors were meeting for breakfast. It was the type of place where the wait staff gives you attitude and bad service and expects a good tip. Whatever! After waiting for half an hour I finally got up and got my own coffee refill. At least the servings were large!

We walked through town to a consignment & used sailing gear store called the Sailors Exchange. Along the way we met a couple of other sailors with the most delicious accent. Turns out that Martin and Johanna are from Sweden. They just purchased their boat, Snowbird, in one of the Carolinas, and they are new sailors like us. Of course they knew the pedigree of our boat, since the Vega is from Sweden! So while we reveled in listening to their wonderful accents, we hoped to get to spend some more time with them along the way south.

The Sailors Exchange was a dense packrat-warehouse of everything that is ever needed or wanted on a sailboat. It kind of makes you numb! It’s sort of like Wal-Mart in that there are shelves piles seven feet high or more and at least a foot deep with stuff everywhere the eye can see! There is simply so much stuff that it was hard for me to keep my focus and a clear head! We’d hoped to find a propane galley range (2-burner propane stove for the boat’s kitchen), and we found one that was brand new and 25% cheaper than West Marine. Sadly the stovetop would barely fit one large 10” skillet, let alone two pans. I suppose it could fit two 6” pans, but what use is that? So we passed it up and left empty handed. It was too bad, but we were happy that we hadn’t mail ordered that model only to find out that it was in fact too small.

On the way home we stopped at a “chocolate warehouse” named Whetstone Chocolates. In one building they make the fine chocolate, and in another building they have a sweet little cozy café where you can purchase the chocolates and coffee and gelato. YUM! The rum raisin gelato was delicious!

Next on the walk back to the marina was the Irish Sail Lady shop. Linda, the sail maker, had repaired the foot of our Genoa and it was ready to pick up. While we were there Tom pulled out the spinnaker for us to inspect. It’s an asymmetrical spinnaker (a.k.a. gennaker) from North Sails that came from an O’Day 27. It was beautiful and multicolored with the primary colors. The fabric was crisp and solid and tight. There was no visible damage or stress or wear anywhere on it. It looked like it had never been flown! Roark and Roberto looked it over with us. The sail came with a “sock” that is used to both fly and douse the sail. All the rigging and hardware was included. It was pristine. I bartered with Tom and put in an offer of $400 for it all, knowing that it was in new condition and would sell for $1,400 new easily. He called the owner, since it was a consignment item, and we settled on $475. What a dream! So Linda packed us all in her car along with our fixed genoa and new gennaker and drove us back to the docks. Awesome!

Back at the marina, we did laundry and got gas and a few groceries before sunset. Roark moved his boat onto a mooring right next to ours. Then we all got a dinghy ride over to Roberto’s boat, Dream Catcher for a fine dinner together.

Roberto's boat, s.v. Dream Catcher

Roberto is Italian, and loves to cook. He has a 44 foot sloop with an immense galley and main salon. Seating around the huge dinging table is for six adults easily. He made spaghetti (yay for Italians who make pasta for us Americans) and lamb, and we all swooned in appreciation. Everyone told tall tales and big fish stories until we noticed the wind pick up. Sam and I stepped outside to find a fresh cold wind from the north that was blasting in cold fog. Yuck! It was bitter cold as we watched the city dissappear behind the veil.

Never the less, the consensus was that tomorrow was the day to go outside on an ocean run down the coast. The forecast had the right wind direction and speed and wave height.: 15-20 knot winds and 2-3 foot seas. It was supposed to be cloudy and cold in the morning but to clear and reduce wind speed in the afternoon. The course would be a 55 mile run that we expected to complete before nightfall.

Turned out to be much more than we expected, and we listened to the wind howl that night from our v-berth in wee happy worrying that the seas wouldn’t have time enough to “lay down” before we took off in the morning. Six sailboats were heading out, so there was consensus among the flock.

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