St. Lucia to Marathon, Florida, was the most beautiful of passages until it wasn’t.
Twelve hundred miles were full of fine sailing, and the last one hundred full of frustration and despair. The above image of GANNET’s Yellowbrick track only suggests the agony of those last miles.
I was aiming for Key West, but the wind was weak and then died completely and we were helplessly carried northeast at 2.5 knots in the middle of shipping lanes. Only skill and chance enabled us to get an anchor down Monday night off Boot Key, which encompasses Marathon, Florida.
It took us seven and a half hours to cover the last sixteen miles and my relief when we came onto the reef and the depth sounder changed from 160’ to 30’ and I knew we could get an anchor down and not spend another night drifting toward the Bahamas was immense.
The passage did not begin well. I woke at 5:30, put the Torqeedo on the transom at 0600. Tested and it started. But when I was ready to leave at 7:45, it wouldn’t start and the display read “Error 33”. I don’t know what that means or how to correct it. I have emailed Torqeedo asking for explanation.
I cursed various nonexistent gods, walked down the dock, came across a St. Lucian with a Cigarette boat who towed me from my slip and thirty yards before I could sail and refused payment.
After that for almost two weeks it was so wonderful that I began to consider if good can be appreciated without evil, if all sailing were that good would we enjoy it as much as we do having known gales and hurricanes? I think not.
During one of the beautiful afternoons I was so happy I took the photo of an old man having fun.
Our sailing is mostly over for the year. GANNET, who has now gone coast to coast the long way, will remain a Florida boat for the rest of this year, unless a hurricane blows her into another state.
In a few days I fly home, where I have not been since January, for a couple of months. I’ll return to GANNET and sail up the west coast of Florida to near Pensacola where I have been promised a sail on a Drascombe Lugger. I haven’t been on a Lugger for more than thirty years.
Early next year, time and chance permitting, I’ll sail for Panama, get GANNET across the isthmus, and sail to San Diego to complete the circumnavigation, hopefully before Carol’s birthday in April.
Daily runs St. Lucia to Marathon: 1323
Daily runs Durban to Marathon: 7746
Daily runs San Diego to Marathon: 23339