Mar 15-31, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

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Mar 16 - You should probably pick up the story from the previous webpage before you read this one. It is located here. Of course, what we wrote changed anyway....

Yes, we did leave on Friday morning but we didn't do an overnight crossing. Again, I'm getting ahead of myself. As planned, we pulled anchor at 3:45 am and I was underway. Deb went back to bed. (Why is it she always gets to go back to sleep?) It wasn't a pleasant sleep however! We left Chub Cay and based on the weather forecast the wind was supposed to be out of the north so it would then shift to the southeast throughout the day. that would have been a perfect crossing for the entire trip. However, the wind was still out of the northwest and it was at 15-20 knots of wind. That means the wind was right on our nose and we were in the Tongue of the Ocean with the tide coming in. Of course that means that the waves were stacked up and were close. It was O dark 30 and the waves were too big and we were pounding into them. At best we were doing 4 knots and at worst we were doing 2.5 knots. It was loud, rough, and of course it was wet. Water was coming up over the front of the boat washing over the first window and coming off on the side of the boat washing down the back steps. What a ride! Of course that little thrill ride lasted almost next to forever and I couldn't believe Deb was up in the front berth still laying down and somewhat asleep. If it were me up there, I would have been in the air half the time! My wife can sleep through anything.

Ultimately, we made our way through the Tongue of the Ocean and were onto the banks. The wind shift was about 8 hours late but it did start to the north more and finally it came down in strength. We were able to motor sail across with the main sail close hauled and the jib out with the snatch block connected to the mast. We were making way even though we were hours behind the schedule. Even so, we were no longer experiencing the massive banging and were making our way across the bank.

As we were almost across, I got this picture of the, then, calm seas of the bank. It is only about 12 feet where we were and you could clearly see the bottom even though there was a chop on the water at the time.

We arrived at South Riding Rock at about 7 pm and you can see it in the picture below and left. There are several rocks and we anchored behind the bigger one and in front of the smaller one. The purpose was to keep the swells from hitting the boat and we were successful. After a 70+ mile day, we were tired. We watched the sunset and then had dinner. I was off to bed shortly after that because I was getting up at 2:30 am so we could get underway early. We were able to pick up the weather from Miami and if we left that early, we could miss the waves from the 15 knot winds on the gulf stream.


 So, the next morning, I was actually up early and we pulled the anchor at 2:45 and got underway. We were heading back to the US the US of A. The moon was almost at half when we went to bed but when we got up, it was gone. That is actually a good thing because then you can see the lights of the freighters that are coming to run over you. I only saw one and he missed us without me even having to shine my big million candle power light at him and beg him not to run over me. (Maybe it was because I fixed the short in my lights last night so they would stay on!)

The sun came up in the east as it always does and at this time we were about 1/3 the way across the gulf stream. We had our main sail up and were getting some help from it but not much. I was simply heading on a course that the wind would help some but since there was only 5 knots of wind, the jib didn't help. I was hoping for hitting Rodriguez Key but since we were going against the stream, I had to simply let the boat go north.

Deb was simply amazed at the swells on the ocean since she could now see them without the wind waves. They ranged from 3-5 feet with a 10 second interval. That means that you really can't feel them but you go up and down with them anyway.

 We ended up coming in at Anglefish cut which is about 20 miles north of where we wanted to anchor for the night. That really didn't matter because we simply turned down hawks channel and headed south. Of course the wind then came up and we were again pounding into it. Regardless, it was a no-brainer crossing.

The picture to the right is Key Largo and we toasted being back in the USA.

Ultimately, we pounded our way down to Rodriguez Key and anchored for the night after an 80+ mile day.

Saturday we were planning on heading on down to Marathon but instead the engine quit after about 2 hours. Ok, that is probably the filters and I was wondering when they would go bad. Oops, not the filters! Instead I found a nut missing, a bracket broken and a nut loose. I had a problem with a ground that was feeding the fuel pump. Oh well, just another problem and what better place to work on it than in paradise on a beautiful day on a beautiful ocean. At least it wasn't on the ocean in a storm! Oh yea, that was the day before yesterday, almost.....

After an hour, I had a rigged solution taken care of. I had to rig up a new ground wire for the fuel pump, secure the bracket holding the fuel pump and final filter because I have to remove the heat exchanger to actually fix this problem and I'm not doing it at sea. And finally, I changed the fuel filters just in case and they were about ready to be changed so why not. Everything ran fine after that although we did just drift around for about an hour while all of this took place. At least nobody ran us down. Rather than push on since the wind was coming up, again on the nose at 15 knots, we anchored after 25 miles at Channel 5 and just took the afternoon off, read books and fixed my dinghy seat with fiberglass and resin. We will arrive in Marathon when we arrive in Marathon.... tomorrow, and get checked back into this country of ours. 

Mar 16- We took off at 7:30 this morning and we had to move through a BUNCH of sea grass that was floating around. It wasn't another 15 minutes before I heard a change in sound of the engine. I scanned the gauges with nothing different, then I looked at the back and saw steam. Problem! So, I cut the engine and then took things out of the starboard berth so I could clean the strainer. It was full of..... sea grass. That fixed the problem and we were off again in about 15 minutes. We made Marathon, picked up a ball and then called Customs. We waited on hold for almost an hour and decided they weren't answering. I figured we should go in and pay our bill so off we went. I will call them again as soon as we are back. (Now it is time for me to tell you what I really thought!)

I just can't believe that we arrived from a foreign country and couldn't get through to Customs. I bought the sticker, I left our bird (because they said I had to spend a grand to get him back into the country) and I'm trying to do the right thing. Why???? It is truly amazing to me that you can't get through to Customs. Have I told you that I can't believe you can't get through to Customs? Yes, it is true. How secure our our boarders? Not very..... Ok, back to calling Customs again........ More later.

Late update: We got through to customs and they are overloaded today. Oh well, it is a government thing. We now have 24 hours to appear at Customs in Key West so we can check in. Of course we knew this would happen so I've already arranged for a car tomorrow and Enterprise will pick me up at 9 a.m. so they can take me to the rental car place. Tomorrow morning, we will head down and clear Customs then we will head to lunch at Caroline's and see some friends. Afterwards, we will go pick up the big JB, the parrot head, and then back to Marathon to spend some quality time with the bird. Hopefully he doesn't bite us.

Pictures on Tuesday of the trip to the Key West.

 Mar 18 - Oops, no pictures.  Oh I had the camera but nothing new. Lets start the trip at picking up the car and heading down to Key West. I booked a car at Enterprise and they were to pick me up at 9 am. I called at 8:45 am and yes they were going to pick me up at 9 am. The fact was that they picked me up at 9:35 and I had called a couple of times to see what was happening. They said the guy would be right there, I said I think this is crazy and you should give me an upgrade. When we finally arrived, after standing in the rain for 10 minutes, I checked in and guess what, they gave me an upgrade. It sounds simple but the reality was I complained quite a bit and if you really want to know, I can actually do that pretty well when I want to. So about an hour late, I dinghy 'd out to get Deb and I had the good old PT Cruiser in the parking lot. We then went to the UPS store to mail Garry's airplane parts and that took some time because everyone wanted to hear the story. We had them pack the parts and then we were off to Key West for lunch and to pick up the bird A.K.A. Jimmy Buffett. Of course the other reason we went was to check into Customs. Now I'm expecting a big deal here and of course I was VERY let down. After all, I figured that if the Bahamas has a good system, surely the US of A has a better one. Nope, Not, Not Even. This was the biggest waste of time I every had. Now it is time for the rant.

Here we are, a country in a war against terrorism, and we don't even have a system of ensuring our boarders are safe. I actually hope no terrorist is reading this but in reality I'm sure they already know it. We didn't get stopped on our way across the gulf stream, we didn't get stopped in the USA and the only reason that we actually went to customs if because that is who I am. I'm an honest guy and I wanted to do the right thing. The only thing they were interested in was how much money we spent in the Bahamas. They didn't stamp our passport, they didn't give us anything that said we were back in the country legally, and it left me thinking - Why did I do this? Why did I go to an office and leave Deb outside holding the camera and cell phone, which they won't let us take in, only to fill out some paperwork and to tell a guy that I bought a dinghy engine plus 2 tee shirts ($5), a pair of ear rings ($5), and a bottle of rum ($7.50). I then learned it was below the $1,600 limit so they really didn't care. I was cleared and then Deb went in and the only thing they asked her was "what did you buy?" Of course she told them the same thing I did because that is what we bought. Now, I'm thinking again, WHY DID I DO THIS? I know I have a great person who reads this website who works for the Coast Guard in Washington D.C. I really would love to talk to someone who could actually change our system! It is absolutely crazy. The Coast Guard is out there risking their lives and there is no system in the US to ensure people are back legally. Again, it is crazy. I can't believe I'm saying this but the Bahamas has a better system than we do.

We then walked down to Caroline's and had lunch but all of the staff had changed so we just had a great lunch and left. Next we went to Dante's and had a glass of wine and saw some people we knew and met some more people that we will have fun with next week. Next we were off to pick up the BIG BIRD, Jimmy Buffett. He recognized us and was very happy to see us. We paid our bill and off we went with Jimmy Buffett in the PT Cruiser. Isn't life grand. We arrived back in Marathon and did our responsible bird parent thing with the bird. The next morning I did a little research on the dinghy engine to price it properly and then took the car back. Fortunately we didn't have any dints or dings. Then it was back to advertise on the net about our dinghy engine for sale. Afterall, who needs two especially on a Gemini? We actually sold it today and they will pick it up tomorrow morning. I'm happy and they are happy. What more can you ask for?

We've been doing boat projects all day and tomorrow I have to fix that problem with the diesel engine. Like they say, cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic places. That is just exactly what I'm doing.

Based on the weather, it looks like we will be attending a sunrise Easter service on Sunday morning and then leaving for Big Pine Key to be followed by Key West on Monday. The winds are supposed to be wonderful for the trip. All I need now is to fix some more things on the boat, wash the boat, and to get a hair cut so I can actually look human again. No, I'm not cutting off all the hair on the back but I do need to look more human now that I'm back in the US the US of A.

Mar 20 - To the right you can see a picture of a boat that sunk. I saw this one on the way down to Marathon. It looks like he had a "bad day."

You can also see we had a very pleasant time going south with very little waves. Of course it was about here that we lost our engine, again. This time it was because there was so much sea grass in the area that it plugged our sea water strainer. I just stopped the engine, and Deb kept a watch to make sure nobody ran into us. I cleaned it up and off we went.

 When we called customs, I needed our passports along with the number from our sticker that we had applied for before we left for the Bahamas. I'm still amazed that when we got back that I had a stamp in our passports for the Bahamas but no stamp for the USA when we returned. As far as anyone should know, we are still in the Bahamas but we aren't. On top of that, we checked in. If that doesn't make you wonder why you check into the USA I haven't got a clue. Of course if you aren't a US citizen then I'm sure they would stamp your passport. Like I said, I have a narrative about all of this and changes should be made!

Yesterday, I took on the engine problem. You can see my makeshift fix with the zip ties to hold the bracket up. I had already taken off the jumper wire to make ground for the fuel pump at this pump. In the center, just to the right of the white sticker that says reset, is the bracket that broke on the lower end out of the picture.

Here is what I found. One of the studs that goes into the engine had backed all of the way out. I still haven't found it so I had to order a new one. However, there are two lengths of studs. Great! I ordered both lengths so I would have the right one along with a new nut and lock washer. I will make sure of the length first and then install lock tight on the stud before I put it in. I took lots of things apart first and ultimately had to remove the fuel pump to gain access to the nut that was still there along with the hole for the stud. Everything is being shipped to me at Marathon and should arrive by Tuesday. Of course that doesn't include the bracket. It was backordered and won't be available for two weeks. I'll have that shipped to my mail drop and then forwarded to Key West so I can complete the fix.

Regardless, we will be here for another week and take the time to do such mundane things as laundry, pick up our bikes tomorrow which are being shipped by Steve in Omaha, wash the boat with our poor boy watermaker from Garry, buy some vegetables (we need badly) and of course, continue breaking in the dinghy engine. I have a pretty long list on top of that and perhaps we will actually get some good pictures as we move forward.


 Mar 21 - Today we had a big day! The start of it was to listen to the net in Marathon which went on and on and on. After that, we met up with our friend Cynthia who cut our hair. Now I know you are thinking, Jim, I thought you weren't cutting your hair! Ok, if you remember, the vote was for me to grow it long. I couldn't take the top so I cut it myself in the Bahamas and got the top shorter. Now, after six months, it looked out of control. So, Cynthia said she could shape it up but keep the back long for the cruiser ponytail that I should have in the next 3 months.

To the right, she has it pulled back in a pony tail so she can shape everything up so it doesn't look so wild. When she was done, it looked lots better but you can judge for yourself as you see pictures in the future. I'm happy because it is in better control.


Next came Deb. She is getting sprayed with water so the hair can be cut. She had her hair cut a couple of times in the last six months so it wasn't as hard for Cynthia. In the end, we both look lots better.

We also got together with many of the Gemini cruisers who are wintering here in Marathon for 2008. Since we are all on mooring balls and it is windy today, we all got together for lunch and to swap stories about Gemini's. As always, we met some great Gemini people at this lunch and it looks like we will be getting together again early next week. Good thing for us since it looks like we will be leaving on Wednesday morning assuming our new stud shows up from Engines One.

Pictured below please meet, beginning from the lower left and moving counter clockwise:

Kathy and Rich Walker on "Wind Drum", Michael and Cheri Edwards on "Believe", Gene and Charleen Lagasse on "Two Can" (3200), Jim and Kathy Booth on "Total Care", Pet Gordon on "Crazy Cat" (an 8 meter Catalac), Paul and Linda Smith on "Double Exposure" and of course Jim and Deb Faughn on "Freedom."

We had a great time and decided that next time the seating has to change because we were missing out on all the conversations and stories. All I can tell you from this is GO, GO, GO. Go cruising and you will find great people and have a great time too. 

 By the way, I just created a new Sail Trim project page to compile my learning about Sail Trim and how I am using my snatch block to increase speed when sailing. IF you are a sailor, please let me know if this makes sense and more importantly, let me know if you disagree with something so I can test it more before I send a message to the Gemini List Serve people about this information. Thanks! You can read it at Sail Trim.  

 Mar 25 - I just have to say first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEB! Yes, today's Deb's birthday and we will now get money for cruising from one of the College's she worked for. Ho-Ra!

One of the things she hated on our boat was the carpet in the main stateroom. Yes, it was a mustard yellow and she hated it from the time we bought the boat. Yesterday, I changed it out.

If you look at it carefully, you might just see the fit and finish leave a bit to be desired and on top of that, the color just doesn't work - at least for her.

My worries were on many planes. First, how do you get the fit right? Second, how do you get the carpet to stick on a vertical surface. Well, my solution was to cut the stuff out and use the cut out as a template. However, the carpet I purchased had a stiffer back than what we took out. That meant that the template was not perfect. So be it, we will make do.


The biggest problem however was what glue to use. I talked to the people at Home Depot and in the carpet department they didn't have an answer, they recommended we talk to people in the paint department. Of course the people in the paint department decided that they could only refer me to the chart provided by Scotch for the glues. That meant they didn't want to provide "real" guidance so I was left reading everything. Finally, I went back to the carpet people and asked what the backing was made of and they gave me an answer of bla bla I think. Ok, that helps.....

I ended up selecting the Scotch 90 spray glue, this of course was the most expensive and most explosive glue they had. I decided that when I sprayed the glue I had better turn off the propane powered (read FLAME for the non-Gemini owners) refrigerator. In the end, the next biggest problem was technique. After taking out the old carpet, cutting the new, I then sprayed the glue down into the space between the fiberglass and wood floor you see. Next, spray some on the back of the carpet and stick it in. Let this set up and do it again working my way up the sides and onto the ledge. Trim and in the end, get everything replaced.

Forget the fact that the best solution would have been to take up the floor wood and put the carpet under it. (That would have meant removing the bungs and then recutting and staining new ones.)  In the end, it took me about 4 hours to replace this carpet not counting buying it and carrying it on my shoulder on the bike from Home Depot.

By the way, Deb is happy on her Birthday.

So what did we actually do on Deb's birthday. It wasn't the typical birthday party. Nope, it was a cruiser thing. Of course when we were finished we then went off to dinner to have a nice dinner with each other.

By the way, yesterday we had lunch with lots of the same Gemini people you met in the previous logs. We decided that the cool thing to do would be to visit everyone's boats. Yes, we overloaded everyone's boats with people. In the end, 15 people went by dinghy boat by boat and visited everyone's boat and looked at vintages from a 3000 to a 105MC.

The first boat visited, or should I say to be static tested with an extra 13 people on board, was Rich and Kathy on Wind Drum. They owned hull number 762 which is a Gemini 105 MC.

 Above is the head board their boat, of course Deb want me to make her one but when we got back she agreed that ours was big enough covered in pillows.

Rich had also made a laptop board he could rig up to carry his laptop. We got to hear the story of the first time he used it in rough seas and he had to get a new computer as it hit the floor. Now they tie the laptop down and it works well and I know he can see the screen well.

One of the really cool things I saw was this table. Of course when we arrived, it was covered with a nice cloth because they use it on the back deck. After I heard their other use, I made them remove the cover and show me how they used it as a chair too. This was a very stable unit and it was a great double usage unit.

Below you can see a few of the people that were on the Gemini tour of Marathon, March of 2008.

These are great people and next time you are in a harbor, you might think about arranging such a tour. Besides, what else are you going to do on a windy day with all of these Gemini's sitting around?

 We overloaded all of the boats and you can see how much to the left. We were trying to sink them but to no avail.

If you can believe it, I actually saw a Gemini in Georgetown in 2001 that was loaded to this same extent and there were only two people on board. Ok, I'm sure they took more wine than we did. But in this case, the load was 15 people.

 Next we were off to Double Exposure owned by Paul and Linda along with their cruising dog.

Paul and Linda had hull number 238 which is a Gemini 3000. Their mast came through the top, through their table and to the floor. For Gemini lovers, this was a great tour because we were seeing everything from the earliest to the latest Gemini's.

The picture to the lower right is outside and shows the mast is further back than the current models. This made for a bigger jib and allowed it to fly at lower angles of attach but also a smaller main.

Further below, I caught the amount of loading from the rear and of course from the front that shows that everyone was in the back trying to get the front of the boat out of the water.

 Next we were off to our boat, Freedom. Of course you've seen us and our pictures so I'm forgoing that picture thing for you. We did talk about my most recent favorite topic, the snatch block off of the mast. I am still amazed that nobody had ever tried that. We had 20 knot winds today so what did we do? Of course, we set it up and with 15 people on the boat, on a mooring, we set the jib on the snatch block. It was pretty cool and yes it filled and we were moving towards the mooring before we reeled it back in. Now everyone wants a snatch block or some other block so they can use the jib when going close to the wind. I had fun showing some other things on our boat but this using the snatch block was cool and EVERYONE can do it and EVERYONE can benefit. Off to another boat...

Next we attached Happy Cat owned by John and Linda which is hull number 722.

We took the picture at the lower left of the storage compartment in the main stateroom. I truly don't know if this is something they modified or if it is standard but it gave us an idea of what we can do with a similar space on the starboard side next to the drawers we have and what appears as wasted space. That is another project which we may accomplish when we get to Kentucky Lake. Yes, pictures later.....

Next we were off to Bills boat on Second Wind. He owned hull number 751 which is another Gemini 105 MC.

Bill had listened to me talk about the snatch block and showed us his blocking he used off of the third stanchion. His system is cheaper and also more versatile than mine. He uses two blocks and has a system on the opposite side too. He said he uses it with both his screecher (installed after purchase of his boat) along with his jib. I liked it because it has two blocks and can be tightened in for 90 or so degree winds or let out for 130 degree winds.

 We then were off to see Two Can which is hull number 360 and is a 3200. Gene and Charline acquired their boat and then had to rebuild part of it and of course, they had to strip off the headliner and they decided to take off all of the old glue and then paint the inside with a two part epoxy so it is easier to clean.

One of the cool things on their boat are the two seats they use which came with the boat. This seat is a frame made of PVC pipe and gives a great back support. I see one of these in my future. I took several pictures just so I could, and perhaps you, can make it.

 In addition, Gene had to rebuild the holding tank so he decided to make an access panel in the head so that he could do this from the inside. I'm sure it also allows him to see how much "stuff" is in the holding tank too.

He decided to pipe it so that the "stuff" goes in at the top and at the bottom he has a valve that either allows the "stuff" to go to the pumpout or gravity flow out the bottom through the thru-hull.

 Then we were off to Mike and Cheri's boat. They own Believe which is hull number 911. Mike and Cheri were in Key West last summer and were thinking about going home to Annapolis for the summer but stopped in Marathon instead and stayed. They are having a great time working with and in the Marathon Community Theater. If you are interested, they are performing this week!

They decided to create a compartment for a large screen TV along with a system for it to fold up. They system worked well and I'm sure they enjoy viewing all the new plays they may "star" in for upcoming performances.

The last boat we visited was About Time and it was owned by Dee and Lee. It was hull number 530 and it was powered by an outboard. They had just repowered with a 25 horse Mercury and it was doing fine.

Below you will see some of the things they have installed on their boat. On the earlier 105's there are two openings in the bimini. This was probably only true in the 500 series boats because after this Performance Cruising strengthened the bimini with braces that go from the top to the hull and they eliminated the openings. (I'm adding braces this summer.)

In the picture to the lower left you can see the black sunbrella they have in the openings and in the center of each is an opening they use to catch water with a tube and put it in their water tanks. (Much cheaper than a water maker.)

They also had a nice shelf installed for their microwave along with a nice towel rack in the galley area.

 We had a great time on the three and a half hour tour of boats. Only cruising and in Marathon can such a thing happen. However, try to set one up next time you see a bunch of Gemini's anchored. After the tour, I dropped Deb off and then I went in to see if my part for the engine had arrived. Nope. So we are here for another day.

Next we were off to have dinner for Deb's birthday and she had a great clam linguini at Castaway's. I had a great Ceaser's salad with anchovies so we were both happy.

Tomorrow, we will hopefully get that part and be off to Key West on Thursday.

 Update late in the day on Wednesday - I received our two studs from the Westerbeke distributor. We packed up our bikes, picked up some more carbonation for our soda maker plus some more parts for the boat and said goodbye to the people we knew on the dock. Then we were back to the boat so I could fix the engine. I set out all the tools for a 30 min job and immediately dropped the stud which ran under the engine. Wouldn't you know it, this just turned into an hour and a half job. That wasn't the only problem, I also had two different length studs and used the short one first - wrong one - then took it out and used the longer one. Ho Ra - Now we have a mostly fixed engine and all I need is that support bracket that should show up in a couple of weeks when we get to Key West.

Speaking of Key West, we should be off tomorrow morning about 8 or so and we only plan on going down to Big Pine Key where I can clean the bottom in clean water. Also, we have great news, winds will be with us for at least two days so we should be sailing most of the way and I can try more sail trim tricks. We are looking forward to the no motor time plus getting to Key West and seeing friends there.

More updates on Saturday and hopefully more pictures of sails working.

I just received these pictures from my friend Paul. You remember Paul, he's the guy I bought our boat from and a great friend of mine. He is building a Redwing 23 and he has built every piece on the boat. Below you can see what it looks like and that he is in the middle of wiring it. He has a 25 hp Honda on the back and hopefully we will be seeing him out on the water in another year and a half. This summer he is going off to work as a boat captain at Yellowstone or I know he would be done by this year. At the same time, he is a committed builder so don't count this year out yet. By the way, as you can tell, Paul does good work!


Mar 30 - I received the parts for the engine on Wednesday and was able to put the plate back on late afternoon. I found the longer stud was the one needed on the port side. Of course this is because I dropped the short one first, had to fish it out from under the engine, installed it, had it not hold and THEN used the long stud. You would think they would tell you which one in the manual but no. Regardless, I installed it with lock tite and it appears to be ready to go to work.

We left Marathon with a north east wind on Thursday morning. You can see the sun coming through the clouds as we were leaving the harbor in the picture to the right. We were leaving a protected harbor with over 200 moorings for the the unprotected harbor, and town, of Key West.

Below you can see the Boot Key Bridge as we were approaching and then to the right is one of the bridge operators. The road has been closed so the only reason they are there is to open the bridge for all of us sail boaters. I guess it is cheaper to keep operating the bridge rather than tear it down. The operators are great guys and really are an asset for the city. They are a complete contrast to some of the operators in the Ft. Lauderdale area who seem to be upset you even call them.

We had a wonderful sail down to Key West. Winds were at about 160 degrees and varied from 10-14 knots apparent but we still made 5-6 knots boat speed. I played with sails and did flatten the main which helped. However, the snatch block really wasn't in the best place to help the jib. I used the best available position but it confirmed my need for a track on the outside of the boat. I don't know if I will do that here or if I will wait until I return to Kentucky Lake. I think I've decided I need a 3 foot track in front of and behind the middle stanchion post. As a side benefit, I can also mount my sliding cleats on the track too so I can have a mid ship cleat too.

As we approached Key West, it was like approaching an old friend. We knew all the places from the water and talked about when we would ride our bikes out to see them. To the left you can see the cruise ship dock, which is also known as Mallory Square. Bottom left is a picture of a few of the boats we came in with. There are always Security announcements on 16 when you are near Key West. People come and go beneath the docking lines of the cruise ships so that means they must announce each transit or I guess they will be shot. (I just don't see the guns.) Then as you round he corner, you see the hotels and condos. They have several new projects in the works which have started since we were here a year ago.

We anchored off of Fleming Key again up close to the Key. We are waiting on "Lobster Lee" to move a boat so we can rent one of his moorings. We know him and it is pretty cheap. On top of that, the holding in this area is questionable especially where we anchored right now although we haven't moved yet. I'm looking for a few places we can anchor when the next westerly blow comes because there is NO protection where we are now and you might remember from last year that we get big seas in here which bang on the bottom of the boat so we will be moving around this time regardless if we get the mooring from Lee or not.

We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset on Thursday night. This is one of the best things about this anchorage because it is absolutely beautiful at sunset.

We stayed on the boat just to make sure we were fine through the light tidal changes and after all, we will be here for at least a month and a half so there really isn't a hurry to head in.

Friday, we took care of paying for dinghy dockage for the rest of the month. I'll pick up a monthly pass for April because it is quite a bit cheaper than daily rates. (They are still $72 per month.) We also took our bikes to shore and rode to the government center so we could buy our 5 year Florida fishing licenses too. Next we went to lunch at Caroline's and met some of the new people there. One thing is certain in Key West, people change about like the weather. Next we were off to the grocery store for some veggies and then headed back to the boat.

I dropped Deb off and then went on a dinghy ride. First, I saw they had the Legacy re floated. You might remember from our January 2007 logs the story of the Legacy and how it broke loose in a hurricane to be dragged into the shallows. Since I saw it was floating at the end of our anchorage, I decided it was time to go see it and then look around for a few more places to anchor in case of the next blow.

It appears that the boat probably survived on the inside just fine but it really needs some cosmetic work. More than likely, it had some leaks from loosing the mast and also needs a complete refit for electronics too. Who knows but it must be cheaper to go through all of this than to claim insurance if they even had it.

From the picture to the left, you can see they have welded pieces on the sides of the hull to attach the steel cables down to a mooring. I'm pretty sure this means it is a steel boat..... you know, the welding part of it gives that away.

The reason they don't have anchors is that that is what failed in the hurricane.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day washing the boat and the cockpit cushions. It was all pretty dirty from the time we spent in the Bahamas. We just didn't have access to water the same way as you do in the states. So, I took my "poor boy watermaker," (a water bladder that holds about 30 gal or so) into the dinghy dock and filled it up. With the new 8 hp engine this was the test! Would it plane out or not?

Yes, it barely planes but it will plane so the entire purchase was worth it. I can plane out with a big load and I also have the reliability of a new engine. No second thoughts on that purchase.

I have a washdown pump I can hook up so that I can use it with the bladder. This means I can hose down anything I want on the boat using our boat hose. It really is a pretty cool system and people just stair at you in the anchorage when you are washing your boat out here. I took all the padding out of the cockpit cushions and washed the foam along with the coverings inside and out. I found it was best to use a mixture of bleach and laundry detergent for this process. Time consuming but in the end they look much better. Next on to the boat. I found the West Marine Rust Remover works as good as or better than most of the products I've tested so that is all we have on board now. After that, we use Roll-Off which seems to really clean up any deck stains including the diesel stains on the back of the boat. Overall, after quite a bit of scrubbing, we now have a clean boat on the outside. I need to get in the water tomorrow and clean up the hull but we'll see if the sun comes out again or not.

We haven't been updating as much because I'm not connecting to wi-fi out here. When you get this update, it will mean I went to town and updated there. I'm hoping it is only a signal thing rather than a computer problem. I guess I will know and you will too when this update happens.

Today, we are getting the rest of the boat organized and trying to find more stuff to throw away. In addition, we found out George Victory will be playing tonight starting at 5 pm so we are off to see him and listen to his wonderful music.

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Jim and Deb's Adventures