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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Fall Plans



At the end of last summer Hurricane Irma hit. It changed a lot of lives and ended more than a few. In the big scheme of things the fact that it changed my winter plans was no big deal. However, it was a big deal for me. My lovely wife and I had planned on towing the Oday 19 sailboat down to Florida and doing a lot of sailing. With the destruction caused by the storm, we decided to forgo the sailing part of our adventure and went camping instead. The infrastructural along the water, everything from channel markers to marinas needed time to recover.

While we did not regret that decision, we missed sailing. Since then my lovely wife and I tossed around a lot of different sailing plans. One of the things we did was to look at a lot of boats. Mostly we shopped on-line, but we physically inspected a number of boats in a couple of states. Both trailerable and larger fixed keel boats were investigated. None quite satisfied our desires. Boat shopping has been put off until sometime next year at the earliest.

One of the things I've wanted to do for a while is to sail down the Atlantic ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway). My lovely wife is not that interested, but doesn't want me to miss out. I have no worries about doing the trip alone in our Oday 19.

Not only do I plan on taking that little sailboat, I plan on doing the trip without a gas motor. The 55lb thrust electric trolling motor provides enough for my needs. Currently the boat has one deep discharge battery and a 30 watt solar panel. Next month an additional battery and 100 watt panel will be added. Since I plan on doing a fair amount of sailing, I'm not worried.

A lot of people say it's impossible to sail the ICW. They told me the same thing about the part of the waterway on the west coast of Florida. Even though I had a 6 hp gas engine, we sailed over 90% of the time. In fact, with more attention to tides and weather, I could have sailed the whole thing. The little boat sails very well in light air. It doesn't bother me if the boat is only going 2 knots. That still puts me 20 nautical miles down the coast in 10 hours of sailing. If I have to, I could cover more than that on a calm day using just the electric motor. I've enough real world experience with the trolling motor to confirm those numbers.

The plan is for my daughter, using her pickup truck, to drop me and the boat off in Virginia at the official start of the ICW. That would probably be sometime in the middle of October. After a couple months I should be somewhere in South Florida. Before Christmas I'll either fly or take a bus home.

After the holiday my lovely wife and I throw our tenting gear in the car and drive to Florida. Then we plan to divide up our time between tenting and sailing. In the spring, we will work our way back north. At some point my daughter once catches up to us with her truck and we trailer the boat home.

That's a thumbnail sketch of our plans. Any number of things could change it, including another disastrous hurricane. I'm scrambling to get everything ready in time. The house still needs things done before the fall. Upgrades to the boat are on-going.

The trip is going to be on a shoestring budget, mostly using what we already own. I expect both cold and hot weather, sunny days and rain. There will be a lot of long days at the tiller and days with nothing to do while sitting out storms. I'm looking forward to the adventure.

-Sixbears



8 comments:

  1. I hope everything falls together nicely for you.

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    1. Thanks Gorges. There are a lot of things that have to get done between now and then. Also, the weather could disrupt plans at the last minute. One has to stay flexible.

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  2. I envy you and hope that the trip gives you everything you could want from it.

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    1. I find I have to do something challenging once in a while to feel right about myself. Not getting any younger so can't wait forever.

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  3. Bon voyage! Keep safe and have fun~

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  4. That sounds like an outstanding trip. I look forward to reading about it as you do the different legs of the journey. Doing on your own will be kind of challenging, seems to me. But maybe that will be the best part of it.

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    1. It's been a while since I've done an adventure trip on my own. Using the small boat will actually be an advantage as it's very easy to sail. Small boat = small problems.

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