February 9, 2009: An update from Sharon on Lucky – Oops, just barely floating

On Tuesday, January 6, after noon, Lucky was finally put into the water, and we stayed at a dock in Indiantown while we filled the tanks, folded on the sails, finished grocery shopping, and so on. Then we motored the quarter mile to Richard Brook’s dock, and started to relax for a couple of days.

We neatened up the boat and got everything put away, and had Richard B and Renita out to the boat by dinghy for dinner one night, our first real entertaining. Richard had hurt himself again lifting water jugs, and was trying to not do things.

We headed down the St. Lucie Canal the same day as Blue Pelican, but they go 6 knots to our 5, and we lost them until we got to North Lake Worth.

The canal has lots of water this year, and the locks opened on request.

We anchored in Peck Lake, North Lake Worth (where Vonny and I anchored on Wishbone in 2000), at the Lantana Bridge, in Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale (where a policeman warned us we could only stay 24 hours), and here in Lake Oleta at Baker’s Haulover (where we met up with the trawler Searcher, friends from last year). We have been to all of these places before and enjoy the anchorages. But all the bridges in between, with restricted opening times, get really tedious. We were planning to stay in the Bahamas or farther south this winter, and see more new places.

After sitting out a cold front (with actual freezing, wind chills, and dire warning of hypothermia and even death predicted by NOAA), we headed south to No Name Harbour on Key Biscayne and rafted off Blue Pelican, who were still waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas.

More Scrabble, laundry and happy hours with other cruisers.

Jenny and I often compare notes on our German boyfriends, who tend to micromanage and overinstruct us. But we felt a little better about them after meeting Maria, who had connected up with an American sailor on the internet and had come down to cruise to the Bahamas with him. She came with one small bag, and he said, “Where do you expect to put all that?” All the cupboards and lockers were full of tools and spares, and the food was piled in a couple of plastic bins, not handy for cooking. Initially she was supposed to pee into a funnel in a jar, until she persuaded him to let her use a bucket.  But she was instructed to only use three squares of toilet paper. (I don’t know how that was enforced.) He was mystified when the 30-gallon water tank was empty in a week. He called it “operator error on the part of Maria”, when he explained over the radio that she had jumped ship in Fort Lauderdale. I say, good for Maria. Some internet connections work, some don’t.

Klaus and Jenny left for the Bahamas Jan. 23, and we followed the next day. The wind was stronger than predicted, and north, not north-east, but we were passing other boats, and Richard was pulling lines as I struggled with the wheel. (Richard insists that I mention that we were sailing 9 knots.) But then Richard checked the bilges. We had more water in the bilges than last year.

So back we went, again. We chilled a couple of days at anchor off Ellis Key and looked at our options, including selling the boat, or stripping and sinking the damned thing.

But we kept poring over the cause. No water in the bilges at anchor, or when motoring in flat water, only when motoring or sailing in waves. The only thing that is in that position is the base of the support for the bowsprit.

Richard was hurting again, so we went back to Lake Oleta, north of Miami. He put 5200 all around the bowsprit base, and it has stayed dry. But we have yet to really test it.

And Richard was hurting again. So we got the message. No Bahamas and No Work This Winter. Well, Richard did one more job; he put in a deck pumpout for the Keys. And he was hurting again.But he’s feeling better now.

And Rebecca Lewis is coming to visit tonight. It’s going to be a peaceful winter in the Keys. And we hope it will get warmer.

We have changed from working to get there to being here. Today I painted a picture of Lucky,  and will touch it up with the Skipper’s technical advice tomorrow.

I hope it is warming up where you are.

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