From Bradenton to Key West to Fort Lauderdale April & May 2008

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  Linda and Dave getting ready for departure to Key West   Dave getting ready to leave Bradenton

 The two pictures above show Linda and Dave getting Helios ready to leave for Key West. Our good friend Dave flew down from Western Washington to help us deliver Helios to Key West.

   Heading out into Sarasota Bay       Linda in bow seat -    Dave at the helm

I am at the helm as we leave Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton, while Linda decided to try out the bow seat in Sarasota Bay, and Dave at the helm.

We left the Twin Dolphin marina in Bradenton, Florida 9:35 A.M. with the plan being that we would arrive early in the afternoon the following day. The wind was light from the North as we left, so we motored at 2600 RPMs doing 6.5 to 7.0 knots, until we were well clear of Egmont Key and could turn towards Key West. The sails were up at 11:30 with the main first and then the kite, (code zero). The wind increased slightly with raised our speed from just over 4 knots to almost 6.5 knots. The wind is almost directly behind, so we are sailing little deep and hoping for a wind shift to the west. You will see from the picture at the top of the page that we can shift the kite’s tack to port or starboard, which helps us to sail deeper. Dave manned the helm while I took a nap after dinner, after we had all watched the sunset during dinner. I got up at 9:00 P.M. to take the first 3 hour watch and the wind was falling, so we took down the kite and motored at 2200 RPMs doing 7 knots headed towards Key West. I relieved Dave at 3:00 A.M. and watched the sky begin to lighten in the East. The wind is maybe one or two knots from behind. We arrived in Key West at 5:00 P.M., a little later than planned but with no problems. We grabbed a mooring ball in the Garrison Bight Moorage and took the dinghy to town for a walk and some dinner, at a Cuban restaurant that was very good. We headed back to Helios for a good nights sleep. In the morning I ran Dave over to the Key West Yacht Club to meet a taxi to take him to the airport and his flight back to Federal Way, WA.

    Anchorage in Garrison Bay - Key West   Key Bight Marina-Brett&Connie with Linda

The mooring field northeast of Key West and tied up in Key Bight Marina near Old Key West with friends

Linda and I decided to spend a couple more nights on the mooring ball. We took all the dirty laundry in to wash and did some light shopping. Saturday morning around 9:00 we shifted over to the Key West Bight Marina. It was the first time putting Helios into a slip and everything went well, thanks to the staff at the marina pointing out the slip and catching the docklines. We hooked up to power and turned on the air conditioning to cool down and dry out the boat. Our good friends Brett and Connie Willis arrived at noon and we got them moved aboard and things stowed away. I was then time to make a grocery run and while the ladies put the food away Brett and I took the car back to the rental company at the airport and caught a cab back to the marina. We had dinner at the AB Lobster Restaurant for my birthday, (59), and the Willis' were kind enough to pick up the check.

    Brett at the helm headed north from Key West   Connie and Linda in bow seats

We were in no rush to leave the following morning and finally were out of the marina and on the water around 11:00. We set sail and beat into the wind on our way to New Found Harbor. We sailed about 1/3 the distance but time was becoming a problem, so we started the motors, in order to head directly towards the anchorage. After about one hour of travel the shackle attaching the lifting block of the stern of the dinghy broke. The dinghy was held up by the block on the bow. While Brett held on to the stern of the dinghy and Linda steadying the bow, I used a fender whip to attach the block to the arch and we hauled the dinghy back up. The shackle was defective with a crack from the casting. The anchoring in New Found Harbor went well, with the wind between 15 and 20 knots, but no fetch.

    Sunset from Marathon Marina   snorkeling at Tennessee Reef

The sunset looking across the dock from our moorage slip at Marathon, and snorkeling at Tennessee Reef

Today is Linda’s birthday and the weather gods are being kind. We have some light winds to sail in and only 23 miles to travel to Marathon harbor. There was enough wave action that we decided not to go out to Looe Key and snorkel. It was a good day of sailing and we pulled into Marathon at 3:00 in the afternoon. It was a little exciting going into the slip with about one foot clearance on each side, but slow and easy won the race. It was a very nice marina with good amenities and a wonderful view of the sunset. We left at 9:30 the following morning for Long Key with a planned stop at Tennessee Reef for some snorkeling. It was about 21 miles to the reef and 4 miles from the reef to the Long Key anchorage. There was not enough wind to sail and that resulted in flat seas which were good for snorkeling. The temperature required a stop along the way for everyone to jump off the swim step to cool off. We anchored just outside the marked off area for the reef, but still kept one person aboard while three were in the water. There wasn’t a lot to see, but the water was refreshing.

   Helios moored at Key Largo  Helios with Linda walking towards me  good shot of dual anchors

Helios moored at the Marina in Key Largo, and with all the amenities you could want

        Brett and Connie Key Largo   Bruce and Linda

Brett and Connie and Linda and Bruce just before walking over to one of good restaurants nearby

We were heading to Key Largo and the wind continued to build, reaching 25-30 knots almost directly on the nose. Since the crew did not have a  great deal of sailing experience, we headed in to a marina for the night. We ended up spending three days in Key Largo and having a great time. The wind did not let up so we decided to enjoy the area. The Willis’ rented a car on Saturday and drove to the Savoy in South Beach for an evening before flying from Miami to Seattle on Sunday. Linda and I left Sunday morning and reached No Name Harbor on Biscayne Bay on Key Biscayne about seven hours later. We cut through the Keys at Angelfish Creek in to Card Sound and then headed north to Biscayne Bay. The following day we headed out into the Atlantic for a run up the coast to Ft. Lauderdale with the wind at about 2 knots and flat seas. It took about 5 hours of motoring and we anchored in Lake Sylvia in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. We made the 2.5 mile run up the New River to Dan & Sarah Even’s dock and home the following morning, where we left Helios to await shipment on YachtPath International. We had Enterprise pick us up and we drove down to Miami Airport Hotel for the evening. We flew home the following morning.