As you know, we headed out of the St. Mary’s inlet on Saturday, with fair winds and high spirits. The forecast was for 4 days of east wind at 15 knots. Perfect! We sailed merrily along all afternoon and as dusk approached and we were preparing to sail through the night, we were commenting on what great sailing weather this was and how happy we were to have the right wind to fly us all the way down the Florida coast. Our plan was to make to Fort Pierce and do some resupplying there, and then keep going all the way to the Florida Keys. Our goal was to make it to Marathon by Thanksgiving. There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in that schedule, but we had days and days of east winds, right?
Wrong. An hour or so after dark the wind just shut off. Like somebody flipped a switch: one second the wind was ON, the next second it was OFF. No wind. No wind at all. The sails started flapping and the boom starting swinging in the waves. There was a decent swell and chop built up from the previous few days of strong winds. What to do?! What do you other sailors out there do in that situation?
Wait and see if the wind comes back? Maybe it was just a momentary lull. We waited. We motored. We waited some more. We sat becalmed,trying to decide if we should keep going through the night motoring in rocky seas, or duck into the Jacksonville inlet and sleep at anchor. We were out there to sail, and motoring in a wavy ocean in a sailboat just seems silly (Although we saw two other sailboats pass by us during the afternoon when there was still perfect sailing wind, with no sails up and motoring. They were on a perfect beam reach. WHY?!?! I can understand motoring on the ICW, but out at sea in choppy waves with great wind?!? Why not at least stick a sail up for stability?!?)
Anyway, there we sat, cursing the fickle nature of the wind. I got really frustrated with the situation, at a level that does not bode well for my future as a sailor. How dare the weather forecasters be wrong? Why would the wind bail out on us like this? We had made a whole plan and now what?
Change of plans, that’s what. Sailing sure is an exercise in constant improvisation. We finally opted for going into the Jacksonville inlet, and we anchored literally just inside the jetty (the equivalent of pulling off the side of the highway) and went to sleep. The next morning there was still NO wind, even though the weather report still said there was 10-15 knots. Cap’t K. checked the engine fluids and the leaking stuffing box situation, and found ANOTHER leak. A new one. A hose in the engine cooling system was leaking. More water coming into the boat…..yikes!
Again we weighed our options and decided the most prudent thing to do was get on the Intracoastal Waterway and make it to St. Augustine, the next major town, where could stay put for a day or two and do repairs. In St. Augustine we got a new hose to replace the leaking one, and this afternoon Cap’t K contorted himself into all kinds of uncomfortable positions to replace it.
In order to do the repair he needed to close the seacock (an opening that goes outside the boat) so that water wouldn’t gush in while replacing the hose. The seacock was stuck and took a LOT of effort and creative problem solving to get closed. A lot of swearing was involved too. Rum was even required to calm down Cap’t K. afterwards. With me standing there cute and holding the flashlight and rum and passing over tools, Cap’t K. successfully repaired the leak.
One leak down.
One more to go.
The stuffing box situation is going to take a bit more planning and set up to accomplish. We are researching it. The leak is still manageable, so we have a little time.
So here we are in charming St. Augustine. If this isn’t one of the cutest cities in the whole US! If you haven’t been here, you can’t even imagine what you’re missing. It’s like being in Old Spain. We love this town. So much, in fact, that we just got this wild idea to maybe just stay here for awhile and get jobs. We already found several possibilities we are looking into.
And meanwhile, Thanksgiving is approaching and we are definitely not going to be in Marathon by then. So we just had the bright idea to RENT A CAR, and DRIVE FAST to St. Petersburg, FL to have Thanksgiving dinner with our friends Rich and Mimi. St. Petersburg is our final Florida destination, as we have been planning on parking it there for awhile to work and make some money. But now that we are so smitten with St. Augustine, we are having second thoughts. We have never been to St. Petersburg before and we at least want to check it out. But it’s still a long way away by boat. So we are going to drive over there and scope it out beforehand and eat turkey with our friends!