Sorry I'm a little rusty....lets see if the pics will show if I break them up???
The conditions were dreadful, we motor sailed beam reach/close hauled about 3/4 of the way through the turbulent stream, making 7-8 knots until the engine abruptly quit. It was 0330 hr and this was a serious downer. Not only did the engine quit but the winds were shifting so much that the auto pilot could not keep up, so I was stuck steering Ganesha for the next 4 hours. Our heading towards West Palm was not a good one and not wanting an accidental jibe I kept adjusting with the wind. We tried sailing starboard tack and couldn't make more than 2-3 knots with the current and 6-8 ft seas, so back to port tack to maintain 6-8 knots. After sunrise we were 30 miles off the coast when conditions settled, but unfortunately way north of our target! We tried our engine again and it started, thankfully. We believed we should have about 40 gallons of fuel left, not including our 15 gallons in jerry cans, but we decided to pull into Fort Pierce to top off. It was just after sunset and the marina said our 64 foot mast could clear the bridge, NOPE not at high tide! we diverted and tied up to Harbourtown Marina and they were closed!! Only diesel around was on land, so we considered sleeping at the dock until 0700 when the pumps open, there's a pub!! but we were in 8 ft of water at high tide with a 7 ft draft, we'd be in the mud until 0930 high tide.... that would put us 14 more hours behind schedule...did I mention my wife was flying down on Saturday to meet me?? We decided to call an UBER to see if they would make 2 trips to the gas station to fill our jerry cans, HE SAID YES! Thank you UBER MAN for the assist! You might ask, why did we stop when we might have had 30-40 gallons left... honestly I think we were spooked when the engine abruptly quit and questioned our consumption calculations.
My wife was aware of our current situation, so once underway I texted her to advise on a potential noon arrival in Key West on Sunday, she was happy! and so was I. Once the sun climbed over the horizon conditions were just right to fly the spinnaker! Not only did it look awesome but we were averaging 10 knots too! It was a glorious sailing day! We made it to Fort Lauderdale and with a storm front approaching we took down the spinnaker. In the rain we motored into Lauderdale and through the draw bridge to top off the tanks, 78 gallons! our consumption calculations were just about right after all.
Quickly back out we were trying to make up time. It seemed like in no time we were making the turn around the keys. Spaghetti and meatball night!! Saturday night around 2000hr we were heading back into the wind, tried to furl the genoa and it jammed, why now?, it's dark, it's choppy, there are shoals 2-300 yards off starboard!! I put my harness on made my way to the bow, JAMMED!! I had to physically work the line out of the drum one revolution at a time, all the while being splashed and bounced around! I kept handing back line to my buddy until it was all out, my knees were shot so I traded places with the Captain and he wrapped it properly back into the drum, 1-1/2 hour delay!!
At 2200hr the captain said he and I would be steering the final nighttime leg, he napped 2200-0000, my watch partner and I slept 0100-0400...once the sun began to rise I felt some sort of relief and I felt surprisingly awake believe it or not. It had been a very long sleepless day/night. At 0800 I was relieved by the Captain, but with less than 6 hours to go my watch partner and I chose to stay up with the Captain. In Annapolis my watch partner was new to this, but by the end she called everything by the proper name, she knew which lines did what, she knew how to navigate and steer, she sensed when help was needed and didn't hesitate to help, she earned my respect. Her efforts were rewarded by a large pod of dolphins providing escort the last couple of miles.
2 hours from our destination a short squall came through and rinsed the boat off for us and then a beautiful rainbow appeared over Key West. My wife said that she was my pot of gold waiting there, I said in my mind I pictured a bucket of Budlight ha!!
To be continued...on land! CHEERS!