So, Sam and I have been working on the deck and the brightwork, We have
purchased charts and have been planning the trip with world crusing routs
and a gentleman's guide to passages south, the thornless path. Our friends
have left Long Island for Rum Cay and Mayaguana. We have the import
paperwork for Lilah and need one more vet visit. We also have to do all the
check in paperwork for the Bahamas. We have been eating a lot of our food and
so there is a restocking trip coming. We are still torn on Starlink. It
would be very helpful for the youtube channel but it could delay us another
week or two to get it installed properly. We're also considering whether to
get a watermaker or not. We have lots of things to buy supply wise before
we go away from the land of West Marine. Things like spare hose and 5200 and
varnish and Mineral spirits. We need to change the oil on the generator and
the engine and make sure we have hydraulic fluid and spare oil etc. We are
having some other friends of ours fix up a sun cover for the doger so that we
can keep the hatch open in the rain for air flow. It should be done next
The last couple days have been filled with helping other boaters.
climbing masts, putting in alternators and voltage regulators/chargers,
getting hose and helping pump out a sinking boat. We've moved anchors and
given people spare line. But now it's time to focus on our trip and start
watching the weather closely.
Our plan is to go to Bimini to check in, then on to Chub key and then
around Andros island and down the inside of the exumas and over to
Georgetown. From there following our friends to Maya Guana and Luperon.
We had a wonderful christmas dinner with boaters at the marina.
Turkey and stuffing and all the fixings. It was a great time. We are going
to miss Boot Key and our friends here. Some of them will eventually be
following us but not right away.
Date:Wed, 20 Dec 2023 03:57:00 GMT
Anchors Anchors Anchors
Ford vs Chevy
Ok tonight our anchor dragged. After running 360 degrees at 205 foot
diameter in 20-45 knot winds and then pulling it in to 75 feet and another
180 degrees we finally started dragging a little bit (40 feet over all over
the course of an entire day) in 25g30. So I'm sure everyone is going to say
well you should have a Mantis that would never happen. Why? Because that is
the latest fad. You know what the latest fad used to be? A Bruce was the
previous king. Then it was the Fortress. What_Ever...
The bottom in this case is a grey sandy clay with lots of pieces of shell
and it's very very sticky. Which anchor is best? Here are your choices:
Mantis, Fortress, Bruce, Fisherman, CQR, Plow, Grapel, Mushroom.
My answer a CQR or Plow.
Everything is the right tool for the job. Except for the grapel or the
Mushroom all anchors attempt to bury them selves. And all anchors need to
be able to reset. Each has a reset method, but try this. Take a hoe and
slam it in the ground... then take the handle and walk around in a circle.
What will that do? It will dig a circular hole in the ground.
Try that with a shovel and you'll get a circular hole in the ground.
Put in a tent stake and spin it around and it will cut a hole in the ground.
It doesn't matter what you put in the ground if you spin it, it will cut a hole.
So now let's talk about different bottoms: If you are in soft mud the
hole will refill. If you are in sand the hole will refill. If you are in
small to medium rocks it will refill. If you are in grass it will cut a
divot and not refil. If you are in clay it will not refill but a ball will
form up on your anchor and then when it comes out of the hole it will roll
across the ground and not cut back in again. If you are in large rocks
you'll pop out and have to find a new crevas to hook on. Ultimately the
only thing that will "shed" the clay ball or grass ball and re-dig is the
plow. But because the plow will self clean/clear it does not grab as well
as a claw type anchor or a danforth type anchor. An old Fisherman's anchor
is also good in clay and grass and rock but not so good in soft mud or sand
which is where a mantis or bruce shine.
On Grace we have 1 of each. We have a bruce, a fortress, a CQR, and a
fisherman's. They are each best in class for their family. I do not have a
Mantis because I personally prefer the Bruce's claw's on the edges. It digs
from the side better. If a Mantis is on it's side it sometimes will not dig
in. Once it does it holds better than a fortress but I don't have room for
Cruising sail boats have anchor rollers on the bow that are designed for
anchors of a more modern design so it can be difficult to get a fisherman's
anchor up and on the deck. But honestly I keep coming back to that design as
being better all around than the more modern fad designs. It's bigger,
heavier, more unweildy, less convenient but holds better in most situations.
When it digs in it can be very difficult to get up without a line on the
bottom to lift it up.
Now I'm sure that my friends will say, you should have had a mantis
and it wouldn't have dragged tonight. But I think that put in the same 360
degree situation in the same sticky mud bottom it would have gotten a ball
on it just like the claw. And once up then how long to dig in again? Who
knows. But neither anchor was going to dig in again while that ball of clay
was jamming it up.
Anyway so We started the engine did several loops around the anchorage
in 20g25 out of the north east at 10pm and finally dropped the anchor less
than 20 feet from it's original position and it dug in like a champ. But it
was not fun trying to find our place at night in a tight anchorage and bad
winds. But it does point out that it's important to always be ready to go.
So you know what? the anchor was ready, the switches were easy to get, The
motor started easily, the deck was clear and though there were hitches and
we had to try twice it went pretty smoothly all considered. The brake on
the windless got off track, the chain hung on the roller because we were
sidewise of the chain a little bit. The wind and motor made it difficult to
hear so Hannah was relaying commands to Sam. But we each knew our job and
we got it done.
Date:Sat, 16 Dec 2023 02:26:00 GMT
The Storm is here...
It's a blustery day
The last couple of days have been really quite windy; 25g35. But we
still needed to get things done like take Lila to the vet as we prepare to
got to the Bahamas, Or go to Roland's birthday party at Dockside, or take
showers and each time of course we got totally soaked. The waves in the
harbor arn't bad, 1-2 feet but in a dingy with 4 people that means we're
completely wet by the time we get to shore, even if it's not raining.
But of course by the time we get 1/2 way there it's raining too.
This prompted us today to tag along with a friend to Key West and pick
up dry bags for everyone and of course paper charts for the Bahamas and the
Yesterday we took Lila to the vet. She was in her carrier with
Hannah trying to protect her from the waves with her jacket. Poor cat was
being so brave. By the time we got to the vet I think she was just too
tired to even hiss. She got her shots and a chip which are required for the
Bahamas and then we came back home again in the boat. The minute we got
back on board she went into her box.
This morning Sam and I got up and removed the secondary anchor because
tonight the winds are going to clock around a full 360 degrees and we didn't
want to tangle the anchors. Also, the wind has subsided a little so I'm not
as worried about dragging. The winds were supposed to be up to 45 but they
never really got there. It was quite the chore pulling it up by hand.
We had to add more chain to the main anchor so we could pull the boat over
the secondary fortress and pull it up with the rope windlass and then the
last 30 feet by hand. It's on the deck now but it started to rain so we ran
below before we got drenched.
This afternoon we took the dinghy over again getting totally soaked and
then went back a second time to pick up some friends who needed to go to Key
West. Hannah and I went with them while Sam and Wanda stayed at the marina
office and went to Friday Happy Hour to visit. We made it back to the boat
safe and mostly dry and Hannah made shortbread and beans and rice for
dinner. Now warm and dry with a full belly it's time for bed!
Night Night all!
Date:Wed, 13 Dec 2023 03:19:00 GMT
A Storm is almost here...
Putting out a second anchor
Today after the net Sam and I went with a couple other people to put
some more line on Smiley's boat. It's a big red steel motor sailer that is
only afloat because it's bilge is full of concrete to plug the holes. A
couple of his mooring lines are almost broken and rather than winge about it
breaking free I decided to put more line on it. I hope it holds because if
it breaks free it will be a tank going through the harbor.
Then we spent the rest of the morning putting out the Fortress as a second
anchor. A boat that was next to us in the new location near Red18 moved
giving us more room so we put out the Fortress to the north of the boat with
40 foot of 3/8 chain and 50 or so foot of rope at about 45 deg from our
previous anchor. That Fortress dug in immediately and would not budge. We
used a rubber bumper as a bouy to mark it and make it easier to pull up. We
are not going to move in the winds that are coming.
Later in the afternoon and evening we spent time at the Tiki with the
Tuesday jam session. One of our friends brought a keyboard and box drum so
both mom and I played a little piano for folks and then I played the box
drum while various people sang and played guitar. We played till dark and
then we came back to the boat and had grilled cheese and tomato soup for
dinner. This harbor so so amazing! it's easy to get stuck here. There is so
much to do and so many wonderful people.
I'm a little worried about Sunday through Tuesday. The winds are going
to clock around to the south and west and north west before coming back to
the north east. This will twist my two anchors and the rode from one of
them is going to get hung up on the keel so I think I'm going to need to
move one of them as we turn around. Tomorrow Sam and I are going to get
water and a load of fuel before it get's nasty on Thursday. On Sunday
there is going to be a low form over Key west and move across Florida and
into the atlantic where it will move north along the coast like a little
hurricane. It will of course go right over us.
We have a vet appointment on Thursday at 1500 for the cat and it's
going to be a wet windy ride... Lilah is not going to be happy.
Date:Tue, 12 Dec 2023 03:46:00 GMT
A Storm is coming...
High winds and wind chill
Today we fixed Sam's computer screen so we can get going on videos and
did general organization. We also moved the boat anchorage from near red 16
to near red 18 for a better location for high winds. The winds are
forcasted to be 25-35 knots tomorrow and rain begins Wednesday. Thursday
winds are forcast for 45 with gusts perhaps to 60. We are going to put out
a second anchor tomorrow just in case. But we are now in a position where
no one can drag into us and we have enough room that we won't drag into
anyone else. Today the winds are 25 knots so the anchor should be burrying
its self deep into the mud. But with this wind it's quite chilly. The
ambient temprature this evening is 68 but it feels like the 50's. I suppose
this kind of wingering is lost on everyone who is in the cold north that we
ran from but this is the Florida Keys! (ha ha)
Sunday it looks like a little tropical storm is going to form an eye
over Key west and it will turn into a huge storm after it crosses Florida
and heads up the Atlantic coast. This is the third storm this fall that has
formed there and run up the coast. We will be safe and sound in our boat.
Sam and I tied down the sail covers put an extra line on the Dinghy and put
it out behind the boat. We have been trying to silence the lines whipping
the mast but it's not going so well.
Date:Mon, 11 Dec 2023 02:14:00 GMT
Boot Key Life
Feels like coming home!
Yesterday was the boat parade and there were dozens of decorated boats
going through the harbor in a parade! It was really cool. We had a great
view by marker 16 as they all came right by our boat. People did a lot of
work on their boats. My favorite was a little life boat from an old cruise
ship that was decorated with a tree and had a passle of kids on board!
It was difficult at night to get good pictures but here's hoping you at
least get an idea.
Today we had a brunch and Hannah made Waffels. Other people made
Quiche and grits, and eggs and muffins, Oh my it was yummy and we got to
catch up with old friends. It really feels a little like coming home.
So this evening I was sitting out on the deck watching the sunset over the
bridge to nowhere. It feels a little like the calm before the storm
as the winds are supposed to pick up next week into the 40's and rain.
There is a storm coming tonight and we are closing the hatches as Hannah
cooks potato pancakes and we are having dinner! Oh yummy!
Date:Mon, 04 Dec 2023 22:00:00 GMT
We arrived here safely on the 2nd and anchored south of the south
bridge across the channel from the city marina. We spent the last couple
days getting ready for our next off shore excursion to the Keys and visiting
old friends. It was a wonderful time. It's always nice to re-new old
We also visited ft. Pierce and went to their Christmas Parade
yesterday. That was an unexpected treat! We were just there to hang out a
bit and get off the boat and then found the Parade starting in an hour so we
waitied. There were lots of amazing floats, trucks, bands, politicians and
of course fire and police. There were little girls with batons and kids
doing acrobatics. There were dance teams and churches. It was a lot of
Today we did wash, got water, planned our route, and cleaned up
ourselves and the boat. Tomorrow AM we are off. We estimate Miami in 24
Date:Fri, 01 Dec 2023 23:53:00 GMT
Wakes and Bridges
Some people are worse than rude
Today was a long day. We made a little over 60 miles and anchored
just south of Coco. There were lots of bridges and two of them broken. The
first one only one side would lift so we had to skinny through 1/2 of the
bridge with only about 20 feet wide. The next one was under construction and we
had to be guided through by a little tug. We had only about 30 feet.
Most of the bridges we went through were 63 feet at the tide level we were
There was one power boater in a big fishing trawler with a light blue
hull. It was probably a Hatteras or a Jerret Bay and about 50 feet. He was
flat out and passed us throwing a 4-5 foot wake at only about 20-30 feet off
our starboard side. When we and our friends complained about being tossed
about he said we better wear our life jackets. Our friends reported him to
the coast guard. He did the same to other boats ahead of us.
Other than that it was a wonderful sunny day with lots of wildlife and
pretty houses. The morning was a little foggy and we saw a lighthouse
sticking out of the mist. The birds were low over the water and the
reflections in the calm water were like looking in a mirror.
It was a beautiful morning.
Any questions or comments may be directed to
info@SailingWithGrace.com Grace is one of only 8 48 foot Hinckleys and is loved by her family
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