Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trip report

Well, I'm finally back home after our 1200 mile delivery, pushing Gort from St. Augustine, FL to New Orleans, LA. Lemme start my report with a lovely image: sunset on the deep blue ocean, hundreds of miles from anywhere.

Pretty nice, huh?

Now for the long, boring details.

7/28 Fly to Jacksonville, FL. Meet Bob at airport. Arrange boat meet and paperwork for next day.

7/29 Test sail, checkout, and paperwork. The boat is now Bob's! Yeah! Dinner with the Broc/Gail clan.
7/30 Shop and prep day.

7/31 Departure. Sailed South. Continued overnight. Despite wind predictions of 5~10 kts right on our nose, we wound up with mid-teens-to-20s at a decent angle and part of the time even at a great reaching angle, allowing us to do a consistent 9+ kts and even hit 12 at one point. Zoom!
8/1 Arrived in Ft. Pierce in the evening. Stayed at a marina for a full night's sleep.

8/2 Sailed South. Overnight. More bouts of decent wind despite predictions to the contrary. Rounded the tip of FL.

8/3 Sailing along the keys. Caught a lobster pot on the prop at night. Anchored for the night to free it in the am. Big squall blew over us for several hours during the night.

8/4 Dove on the prop but the pot line had freed itself in the storm. Continued to Key West, despite ANOTHER lobster pot hookup. This one did need cutting. Key West marina at sunset.

8/5 Prep day. Shopping, laundry, provisions, etc. Good night's sleep in marina in anticipation of passage straight across the Gulf of Mexico.

8/6 Depart KW direct to Gulfport, MS, Fairway, which leads to the ICW/Rigolets entrance to Lake Pontchartrain. Approximately 600 miles. Very still day. No wind. GoM still as a millpond. All motoring.

8/7 Crossing. Still pretty quiet. Not much wind. Cutting back on motoring to conserve fuel.
8/8 Crossing. Well, we got the wind today. Big squall. Ripped the mainsail before we could get it reefed. Had to hand steer for a coupla hours cuz Gort's brain (the autopilot) couldn't handle the conditions. Steep, choppy waves at 10ish ft. occasional 12s, wind gusting above 30. You can see the long rip just below the reef point.

8/9 Crossing. Better today. Some wind but not at squall level. After seeing almost no one on our other crossing days, we passed a cruise ship at night lit up like a fucking floating whorehouse. Amazing. Started seeing oil rigs, too. Good indicator that we're getting close.

8/10 Arrive at Gulfport. Anchor behind Ship Island for a full night's sleep. Phew!
8/11 Managed to get the anchor up before the first squall of the day hit us. After that it was a constant line of 'em all the way to Lake Pontchartrain.

Arrive in Lake Pontchartrain. Home base. Hooray! Unfortunately, the marina entrance was too shallow (silted) to get in, despite assurances by the dockmaster in previous negotiations with Bob and in my own hearing that it was sufficient for our 3'3" draft. Asshole. Tied up at nearby public pier. Bob (and Anita) dropped me at Judy's so I could get a comfortable night's sleep and Bob stayed with the boat. Unfortunately, the night went to shit with a big squall. Gort got really banged up against the public pier and Bob called SeaTow to drag him to a (slightly) better spot.

8/12 Bob called around and got Oak Harbor to grant him a slip. We moved the boat there in squall conditions, with steep, choppy waves, under a tornado warning. Blech! Got Gort all safely tied up to his permanent home by dinnertime.

8/13 Visited with my family. Dad looked pretty good. Caught up on sleep.

8/14 Visited some more. Caught up on more sleep. I'm getting too old for those two-person crossings. They take it out of you!
8/15 Did some practice handling with Bob and said my personal good-byes to Gort.
8/16 Depart N.O. Stuck in Denver! Ick!
8/17 Finally arrive home. Hooray!

I'll happily talk more details with anybody who's interested but I figure most of you will find this sufficient!


  1. More details, Frank, more details! Lots of em! =) Go Go Go!

  2. hope you had fun! and hope you DO get a 20 year old knee!

  3. Things to add: dolphins, staying cool in the Key West pool and ac'd laundry room, shopping on Duvall Street for lovely gifts for your wif and daughters, manly bonding time, naked German elf, turtles, bridge operators during the tornado watch, etc. You've got at least a dozen blog posts there! :-)

  4. What an amazing adventure! Don't know if my sea legs - and inner ear - could have handled all of that, but damn! Glad you were able to be a part of it!

  5. I think you would have loved it, Keith. Of the two weeks on board, only that couple of hours during the squall in the Gulf was unsettling. The rest was idyllic.