Our MacGregor Index Page.......Southwest FL 2010 Index

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...............--- Back to the Tower and Trip Ends --

...............--- Friday/Saturday - Dec. 17th-18th ---

Day's Starting and Stopping Points:

Friday's Starting Waypoint = 026°56.443 N -- 082°03.541 W

Friday's Ending Waypoint = 026°52.283 N -- 082°10.361 W

Friday's Anchorage: By big tower in freshwater canal system.

Anchorage = 026°52.283 N -- 082°10.361 W


Saturday's Starting Waypoint = 026°52.283 N -- 082°10.361 W

Saturday's Ending Waypoint = 026°52.355 N -- 082°14.031 W

Saturday's Anchorage: Back on the trailer and in storage at All American Covered Boat Storage.

Anchorage = 026°52.355 N -- 082°14.031 W

After an easy night on anchor and a very good night's sleep considering the night before we moved away from Punta Gorda without going ashore under the influence of the Tohatsu outboard. We had come in the night before under calm conditions and.....

....that was how we left the next morning. I reverse the course in the chart plotter and deleted the old waypoints in the handheld and downloaded the new ones. Actually all the points were the same just now waypoint #1 was our anchorage in Punta Gorda and the last was our destination, which was near the tower in the fresh water canal system about 3 miles from where the Suburban and trailer were waiting for us.

After just a mile or so the wind started to increase at a fairly rapid rate and was coming in on our port side. Since it was rising fairly fast we....

... just started sailing with one reef in the main and the Genoa all the way out. We then set course and were able to run a number of miles on pretty much a westerly course.

Soon the bridge across the bay started to vanish astern of us and ....

....our nights destination, the tower, grew larger ahead of us. Of course about that point we had to make our turn northerly towards the lock about 6 miles away since there was about 1/2 mile of land between us and the tower at this point.

So we ran north with the wind coming from the SSW where Charlotte Harbor meet the Gulf. It was a great day and we were very happy about enduring the 3 days of the cold that enabled us to enjoy the trip under sail to Punta Gorda and back.

Back at the lock we once again had to endure our less than adequate abilities of handling the sailboat in close quarters. There is a small bay on the the salt water side of the lock and I had considered anchoring there for our last night, but the charts don't show depths there, so we were going to have to pick our way in on the depth finder.

As we reached the bay side dock at the lock I prepared to make a turn to starboard into the small bay. As I was about to do this Ruth pointed out that the bay was cluttered with crab pot floats and that it would be about impossible to anchor there without getting tangled up in them.

Faced with that I tried to execute a 180 in the boat's length as there wasn't much room to maneuver. About the same time a small fishing boat with a local commercial fisherman approached. He asked how to operate the lock. I yelled back what to do and told him to go ahead of us as I was trying to get lined up for another approach, this time into the lock and the wind out of the south was making that very difficult.

He pulled up to the handle that opened the lock and went in. Once inside he could see I was having trouble holding position in the wind at the lock entrance. He said, "there is room, so come on in", of course not knowing anything about my ability to maneuver in close quarters. I said, "If we come in I will probably run into you", as there was nothing for us to hold onto on the east wall of the lock. He said, "It won't bother me as long as it doesn't bother you". His boat looked well used and showed the signs of that use and I wasn't worried about us, so I motored us into the lock and before he got the lock closed we did bump up against him and pinned him to the wall for a moment, but it wasn't bad.

As the water equalized in the lock with the freshwater side we talked. He said he was a local buy had never fished over here by the lock. He said that a friend of his had taken over 500 lb. with his net a day or two earlier. We didn't say anything, but I'll bet one of the guys netting all night was his friend.

Next he opened the lock on the freshwater side and we pulled out with the dinghy in tow and thanked him for his help.

Ruth then started us down the canal system toward the tower about 5-6 miles away.

It was an uneventful trip on a beautiful day.

The few time we had been able to sail with the main I had opportunity to use the traveler that I had made.

It worked great and I was able to see how it was going to help us under various conditions. One of the reasons at this point in installing it was to help to some degree with the heeling. Ruth at this point is still trying to get accustom to that. She is up to 12 degrees being fine and at 15-16 degrees it is time to let the sail out some. The traveler did help control that without letting the main out so much. It gives me one more thing to fiddle with also.

The arrow points to the trip odometer and we weren't quite back to the storage yard yet, so a few more miles were added for a total of a little under 130 miles total for this trip.

Near the lock was a larger powerboat that was anchored for the night. This resulted in us having to nestle up pretty close to one shore to handle any swing on the anchor.

The wind a dusk went to zero and the water was like glass.

We watched our last sunset on the water and I also made....

...my last mistake of the trip.

The weather forecast was for rain starting in the early morning hours and continuing for a couple days off and on. We didn't want to leave the boat in Florida with wet things in it that might mildew. For that reason I had wanted to pull the pop-top enclosure off for the night and also take the main off the boom and store it in its sail pack/cover below to keep it dry.

I looked at the sky with not a cloud in site and told Ruth it won't rain until latter in the day the following day and left all of that stuff out.

Yes, I was wrong, about 4 a.m. we started to hear rain, lots of it. It rained and rained into the morning and then there was also the fog. Finally about 11 a.m it stopped. Since the storage yard shuts down and locks up at 8 p.m. and we had a lot to do we needed to either stay put or get going.

We decided to head to the storage yard 3 miles away and pull up the anchor and Ruth took us in that direction down the last stretch of canal. We hadn't gone far and it started raining again. I pulled out the rain gear, which wasn't great, and we motored on. Soon we were as wet under the rain gear as on it. I wasn't sure if it was the sweat or the rain getting in. Note to one's self, "before the next trip buy better rain gear".

Along the canal people were out under their house awnings drinking there morning coffee and watching us go by in the rain, usually with a wave to us. We finally reached the storage unit and tied up there at the entrance to the ramp with no real drama. I again had some problem loading onto the trailer due to the bow rollers and the guide bunks on the sides of the trailer that go all the way forward (I fixed this situation for the next trip). Finally after a few minutes of hassling the boat on the trailer it was up out of the water and the ballast tank was draining on the ramp.

All kinds of things were wet because of the rain. The rain stopped about 2-3 and we put the cockpit cushions out to dry and they made it before we left due to the dryfast foam and the porous coverings from Sailrite that we had used. We love them. There was no way thought that we could get the pop-top cover and the main with its cover dried, so they went in the Suburban along with the rode bags, the anchors stayed with the boat in the cabin.

We tried to get things organized in the boat as best we could as it would be about 3 months before we came back to it. Finally we were ready to pull out of the yard. It was 7:50 and then gates would lock down for the night in ten minutes. We entered the gate code and the gate opened and we left the yard and Kera Jane behind.

We hadn't got to sail as much as we had hoped for and didn't get near as far on the water south as we had hoped for when planning the trip back home. Our flexible schedule did keep us safe and we had a great time despite one front after another during our visit. We looked forward to returning in the spring, which we did, putting in the water at the storage yard on the 11th of March. If you get a chance you might want to read that trip as it is posted.

After leaving the storage yard we went to the Tampa area and got a motel room for the night and then started the 2 day trip to Ruth's daughter's house in eastern Penn. the next morning. Lots of pre-Christmas traffic going up the coast on 95. We spent Christmas there and then left the Suburban their and flew home, getting stuck in the Denver Airport overnight due to weather, another story. After being home for a short period we went to Vegas and got married!!! Then on to California to visit Ruth's other 2 kids (actually adults with their own kids) and then back home again. Flew back to Penn. in March and visited again with Ruth's family and mine in Conn. and then drove back down to Florida taking a 500 mile detour to look at a 32 foot Endeavour that looked great on the Internet but not in person.

As I finish this trip report in the boat on the 31st of March, 2011 we are about 186 trip miles south of the Suburban anchored off Indian Key Pass very near Everglades City and enduring some high winds for a day or so. Other than that a great trip and great weather to this point.

............................................................................................. The End