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Sailing South in The November 2021 Gale

We recently sailed from Bohicket Marina, Charleston SC to Port of the Islands Marina, Naples FL in the middle of the November 2021 Gale. Sailing during a gale is not for the faint of heart, as you will see in our videos – 50 Knot wind gusts with sustained 35-40.

TIMELINE:
0:00 – First 24 hours – rocky seas
1:56 – Dinghy dangerously comes disconnected from davit!
7:40 – 3 days of bad weather
10:56 – Finally pulling anchor, tripping the breaker and jamming the winch
13:26 – Docking in the Gale
14:30 – New Isinglass enclosure in back cockpit
17:45 – Fixing clutches and video consent!

Sailing PILAR - November 2021 Gale + Dinghy Davit issues + New isinglass enclosure

Part 2 – Waiting for Storm to Pass – Guess we will fix the Radar and VHF

During our 3 day wait during our Sailing trip during the November 2021 Gale, we tackled a couple of boat projects. No Friday Night Funkin for us! Work…Work…Work. Watch the action here.

  1. Our radar had been on and off spotty performance for over a year at least. After trying a new cable, and upgrading to Axiom Pro MFDs, we gave up and replaced our 6 year old Raymarine radar with the new Quantum2. SO worth it! This new radar rocks! LOVE the results! (BTW – West Marine has the best price with their free shipping) https://www.raymarine.com/marine-radar/radomes/quantum2/
  2. After hearing reports of our AIS position not transmitting correclty, we did some troubleshooting and discovered a VHF antennae was no longer transmitting correctly. So, we replaced that as well with a Shakespeare. If you go that route, just note that you will need a soddering gun so you don’t have to make two trips to the store.

TIMELINE:
00:23 Radar Replacement Project
6:56 VHF Antennae Replacement
10:20 Leaving St. Mary’s Inlet
11:27 WestRock Paper Mill View from the Water
12:21 Back on the Atlantic Ocean Sailing
15:45 Eartec Headsets for Boat Communications

Sailing PILAR

Part 3 – Finally Sailing Again – to the Everglades?

After waiting out the Gale and fixing our radar and VHF, we finally set sail again on Tuesday afternoon. Out St Mary’s inlet, headed South! We had planned to stop in West Palm Beach to see my daughter for a day, but the 3 day delay due to the Gale changed that plan for us. We waved as we went by around dinnertime, sailed by Miami around midnight, and turned the corner to sail along the Keys.

Blue Skies, Blue Water greeted us so we flew our pirate parasailor. Then, right at dusk, what do our wondering eyes does appear, but a wrecked homemade boat drifting not 10 feet from our path. Lucky we were on the foredeck and saw it so we could change course. No sign of life – just a wood hull, styrofoam, tarps – all broken up. We called Coast Guard to have them come and scuttle the boat so no one else would run into it.

We reached the turn at Key West in the wee hours of the morning. Still dark, the eager watch crew turned down the wrong channel! So, we had to back it up and lost about an hour:-( Sunrise on our last day turned out a bit cloudy in the Gulf waters with no sailable wind. So, motoring was our choice for the last 8 hours of our trip.

Down the Fakahatchee Pass we went, running aground 3 times (low tide). We were told we had to come in at high tide, but timing just didn’t work out that way. So, we waited about 3 hours before we could proceed. We reached Port of the Islands Marina in the dark, and slowly inched in to our new dock slip. Happy to be in our new home, but exhausted, we ate our last meal onboard and slept like babies! The next day was boat washing, fixing a few things, exploring the marina and the surrounding waters – oh, and saying hi to a few alligators.

TIMELINE:
0:00 Finally Sailing Again! down the Florida East Coast
1:41 First catch – a shoe?
5:37 ParaSail time – along the Keys
6:27 Sailing in the Gulf
6:54 We made it to Fakahatchee Pass
10:52 Running aground and being stuck for 3 hours at Marker 35
15:27 NightTime approach to Port of the Islands Marina
16:27 Amal
18:42 Port of the Islands marina tour
20:23 Gaters in the Dock Water, Pythons in the Area.

Sailing PILAR to Everglades? Refugee Boat, Grounding & Gaters - Port of the Islands - Naples FL