Friday, March 26, 2010

Key West, FL to Charleston, SC

Just before high tide on Sunday, March 21, S/V Event Horizon and a crew of three tossed the dock lines at Key West Harbour YCOA for a planned direct passage to Charleston.

Strong steady wind from an approaching cold front and a favorable Gulf Stream delivered us over 540nm in 64-hours, arriving safely at the Charleston City Marina on Wednesday morning, March 24.

The exact distance is unknown because information was lost the first night when we turned the electronics off during a lightening storm. (What's with that Ockam?) On the bright side (ha, ha), my captain and I were less fearful of dying or suffering severe damage than in previous storms since the boat had survived and protected us during a July '09 lightening strike. However, I'm guessing our additional crew member was less convinced of his safety.

While it was a fast trip, it was not an easy passage for this recently dethroned dock princess, hence no daily blog posts filled with passage details. (Sadly, there isn't much written in the ship's log either.) My lack of sea legs and a surprisingly large sea state made for an uncomfortable start. Although fine, I was extra careful to stay on deck, keep hydrated, and eat simple foods. Thankfully, I was feeling fine by the time I went off watch and down below for my first 4-hours of sleep.

The first two days felt more like participating in a rodeo than it did sailing. I just remember holding on and watching the high speed-over-ground numbers. Meanwhile my capable captain was glowing as we sailed close-hauled.

Our guest crew member, Brett, brought capable hands (he's the captain/owner of S/V Muircu, a beautiful Valiant 42) and fun company to the journey.

Despite endless reefing and unreefing, there was no damage done and too few bruises to mention.

Monday, March 22, 2010

S/V Event Horizon Position Update

3/23/2010 @ 12:00 AM(UTC)
27°24.04'N 079°57.71'W
Course 012T Speed 10.5kts
Wind 247T @ 21.1kts

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

S/V Event Horizon Position Update

3/22/2010 @ 12:00 AM(UTC)
24°38.38'N 080°43.21'W
Course 075T Speed 8.3kts
Wind 148T @ 15.3kts

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wanted: Sea Legs

My captain has identified favorable weather conditions for heading northeast. This is earlier than we planned to depart Key West but we have decided to take advantage of this opportunity to sail straight to Charleston, South Carolina.

We always try to be ready for a quick get-a-way--in case we need to run from bad weather--and having only a few hours to make the final preparations is probably a good thing because I'll be too busy to get all emotional over leaving.  

Ten weeks of posh marina living has turned this once hearty sailor into a dockside princess. For the first time in over 5 years of cruising, I will begin an offshore passage without sea legs and this has me very concerned.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sunset Key

We enjoyed taking the free shuttle boat ride to Sunset Key, a 27-acre island located about 500 yards (460 m) off the coast of the island of Key West, for alfresco beachfront dining at Latitudes Beach Café.

Sunset Key--originally called Tank Island because it was constructed by the US Navy to serve as a fuel tank depot during the Cold War--is only accessible by a shuttle boat that runs from the Westin Marina out to the island, which is privately held among its residents, including the Key West Westin.

We lingered over lunch at the upscale yet casual Latitudes overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I look forward to returning, someday... Note: reservations are required to get on the shuttle boat. Café offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in an indoor or outdoor setting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Key Kayaking

It is too cold to snorkel in the Florida Keys this winter so I've been exploring the nearby waters and mangroves by kayak.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preparing to Depart Key West

I kicked into passage preparation mode early because we have friends (who like to play hard) visiting before our looming late-March departure date. The excitement of fun guests has incentivized me to work swiftly through my to-do-list, and for the most part, the laborious stowing process is complete.

Now let the Key West Finale begin...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greetings from Key West

What's wrong with the above photo?

Winter clothing! The weather in Key West continues to be unseasonably cold, typically 15 degrees below the norm. Everyone lives in hope of a 70 degree day soon.

My endless pleading to stay and steady cold northerly winds have persuaded my captain to keep Event Horizon in Key West a while longer.