470 Catalina 2000.
Gary and I met 10 years ago and married 7 1/2 years. I was a competitive Country Dancer when we met. I retired 2 years later and Gary had a dream of sailing around the world. We bought my first sailboat, Gary’s 6th in Galveston Texas, a little 33′ Newport. We sailed her home through the ICW.
During our trip I said, ” you are either going to marry me or divorce me when this trip is over”. It took 11 days and lots of motoring and long days of sailing. We met many interesting people and every tug boat on the ICW knew we were out there somewhere. Not another pleasure boat in the channel in that cold month of March. We had 5 wonderful years on her. The grand kids, Jaggar and Jacob enjoy being on her and sailing, they spent many of night at our boat and the marina.
Gary and I moved to Seminole Florida from Tallahassee in August of 2005 right after we got married.
We sold “Little” Dancer and went on the hunt for “Big” Dancer.
Found her in Mobile Alabama. We brought her home in 3 days, this would be the first of our long distance, overnight sailing trips.
The Journey began when Gary said in December 2012, “we are leaving on March 22, 2013,” his 62 birthday. He told his boss and I turned in my notice for retirement on February 28, 2013. We rented the house and we had to be out by March 10. So my mom, Gary and I had several garage sales and packed what we thought we would need on the boat. So on Friday March 8th we moved on to our 47′ Catalina sailboat which we bought 3 1/2 years ago. We made several improvements to her, new sail, solar cells, dingy davits, shelves and turned the aft shower into a pantry. We stayed on the marina for 3 weeks packing and stowing all the provision for the trip. Mom stayed with us and help put things away. Our new cockpit enclosure was completed on April 2nd and we tossed our lines on April 5th, 2013.
Day 1 of our around the world cruise, April 4th 2013.
Our day began @ 5 A.M. or so it was to, hit the snooze button and up at 6. Our goal was to be out of port by 8:00. Took our last long hot shower, then finished stowing the last minute items, bikes, propane cans, Jerry cans, etc…Quick trip to the store for a bag of ice for the cooler in the cockpit, we are ready to toss our lines, we are no longer land lovers! We are now Cruisers!
Gary and I pull our dock lines at 9:30 A.M. and cast off for the last time in Madeira Beach Florida. We radioed the bridge for the next opening. The bridge tender said he would get the bridge right up. The tenders know Dancer well as we brought Christmas baskets to them for several years as a thank you. Under the 1st bridge and on to Johns Pass which will be our last Florida bridge to go under.
Weather was to be 20 knots of wind coming from the north, the weather man was right with 3 to 5′ seas. We set our jib sail at the last marker and headed south for Key West. This will be the first leg of our trip, 207 nautical mile.
As the winds continue to blow the waves continue to grow throughout the day. Gary and I started to feel like a message in a bottle bouncing around the sea. It was nice that almost everything that was stowed stayed in its place, except the aft head (bathroom) cabinet. It popped open on one of our rolls and everything went cur-plop to the floor. One white basket later it was all restored, only this time on the floor. Need to fix that!
With only the jib up we traveled at 6.5 knots at noon. Gary rigged the Jack-lines on both sides of the deck for us to tether on to. Our new PFD’s have build in harness’s that makes going forward so much safer. Even Rio has a harness and tether to keep him from going overboard or forward with out adult supervision Very proud of Gary, he wore his life jacket and tether every time he went forward to the bow.
1st dolphin sighting at 1:00, they didn’t stay long. By 2:00 the seas grew to 4 to 6′ and Gary gave up on trying to nap. After 5 hours of sailing the wind switched and we pulled the jib and started the motor. One hour later we decided to take the whisker pole down and try the jib again. BINGO we are under sail again.
It was a long night of rolling seas, pitch black skies and a little sleep, Rio would curl up with who ever was on watch and sleep between our legs, he too did not like the rock and rolling seas. We work on 2 hour watches, Gary will sleep, then me.
Day 2, Saturday 4/5/13
We arrived in Key West at 5;30 P.M., anchor down, boy was Rio happy, he could go on deck and take care of business, 24 hours of holding it. We went about putting the boat back in order from the 32 hours of sailing through rough seas. Dinner was Chicken on the grill and boiled potatoes. Lights out by 9.
Spent 2 nights in Key West. Sunday morning went into town to get a few items we needed to repair the mast. We went from in-mast furling to a full batten main so the furling was clanging in the mast. Gary had thought he had this fix before we left. We dinghed to Home Depot for 2 cans of foam spray to fill plastic baggies to stop the clanging. Then back to the boat and up the 65′ mast Gary goes armed with his tool to fix the bang, 45 minutes later all done and no clanging. Went to town and walked around for a few hours on Sunday then hung out on the boat getting ready to sail again in the morning.
We left Key West Monday morning at 7:30 towards Marathon, wind right on our noise at 18 knots. Will have to motor for quite awhile. Nothing exciting happen on this leg of the journey.
Tuesday April 8, 2013
We tacked through the night to round Key Largo and were able to put the sails up and shut the engine off. How quite!! This was around 9:30 A.M. Small rainstorm went thought at 11. We sailed with full main and 1/2 the jib out for the rest of the day and night. We we able to get into the Gulf Stream with add speed to our sailing time. We got 4 extra knots with this and 229 mile in the day. WOW! Thank you Gulf Stream!!