It’s no secret, we are not the most experienced sailors. In fact, we are learning a lot as we go. During our years sailing as a hobby, not full time, we just avoided going out if it looked bad. Do something else instead. We knew that once we were cruising, eventually, we would hit some rougher weather. Well, my friends, that day arrived.
Okay, it could have been a lot worse. Really, it wasn’t even what people call “rough” but here goes:
We looked for the window to leave Savannah to Miami – we needed at least 4 days. The winds were coming from the north, in the 20s, so a bit more than we normally would want, but since we would be going on a broad reach, we felt comfortable. Seas were predicted to be 2-4 feet, but they were much larger than that once we came out. At first, we tried to get into deeper water to see if the waves would get under control. When that didn’t work and it was nightfall, we decided to get back closer to the coast, for fear we were a bit too close to the gulf stream. All night, winds continued to pick up to the low 30s and waves continue to hit us from unpredictable directions and intervals. So, as our back up plan had already mapped out, we decided to come in at Ponce de Leon, which according to Active Captain is one of the better Florida inlets. Unfortunately, the inlet was a lot rougher than we expected under those conditions, and lasted several minutes of white knuckling the wheel. Steering so hard against the waves I was sore after. But – we made it in with nothing but a few scratches. Final tally of things that broke:- Traveller: our boom break was too tight as we looked to jibe, so we had to release it which caused the boom to FLY across the boat and yank the screws right out of the traveller. Luckly, it was a simple drill, epoxy and re-secure job- Wine: too much shaking is not good for glass (who knew?). Now we will be more careful, unfortunately, the wine was stored right above a few books and board games, which now will forever be a shade of pink and smell of vinegar.- Bimini: not really a break, just one of the screws came loose right in the middle of the inlet. Talk about good timing. We have decided to put in extra straps when we know winds will be high- Sail tear: boo, this wasn’t really a bad weather issue. We had our main reefed, and the belly of the reef was rubbing a bit too much on our shrouds which caused a minor tear.
We also found quite a few leaks to start working through sealing up. We fixed everything pretty quickly (after sleeping for like 18 hours) and motored a few days through the ICW. There were some lessons, and we know we will hit weather like this (and worse) again, so next time we will be more prepared.