Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rock and Roll! The Maiden Voyage of Pearl

Gayleen and I got to the point where we had enough of the marina life. One last anchor holding us to land was left and that was taken care of on Saturday. We sold the car we had driven down from Massachusetts and used to run around to finish up the errands we needed to do to set up our new life. It was an odd feeling. Selling the house and all the other "stuff" seemed a relief and was refreshing. Selling the last and only car left a vacant feeling since we have both had a car since our teens. We were surprised that we felt this way. Moving forward we will adjust and realize that the new family car is the dinghy and thats what we will rely on to run errands when our new home is stationary.

Yesterday we finally made our way out of the slip to let Pearl (and us) have some fun. With some help from our marina neighbor Captain Stratton and his First Mate Joe as well as one very sturdy piling we were able to back Pearl out of the slip and leave the marina without leaving a string of damage in our wake. I even got a standing ovation from our friend Alan a few slips down from us. Of course after the fact I put on the "piece of cake"  look.

We first had to make our way into the Intercoastal Waterway then the plan was to go out the Ft. Pierce inlet and raise the big white sheets and do some sailing. Gayleen is always willing to step up to the task. Notice how relaxed she is at the helm..

We had a nice cruise under power out the Ft Pierce inlet where we were met by the confused Atlantic Ocean. It seems the Southeast winds over the last few days had really kicked up the waves, swell and chop. The goal is to enjoy cruising and not stress either us or Pearl so we chose to forgo raising the sails and enjoy the ride back in. That was a relief to our helmswoman who also decided to make some sandwiches just as we were leaving the inlet. Rock and Roll was an understatement. It was certainly a relief to make our way back into the inlet.

Next on the agenda was our first attempt at anchoring. We had solicited all kinds of advice on anchoring from the cruisers in the marina. One friend who had been living on his boat for 10 years is an instructor at the local Power Squadron even though he is a sailor and had been brought up on his fathers boat. I asked him all about it and he threw out a ton of scarey suggestions. Upon further questioning he finally mentioned that he has only anchored twice!!! Needless to say, in the future I will get a little more background information before I commit to soaking it all in.

Anyway, we went to the anchor field and saw a spot that looked good but didn't have a lot of extra room. I motored over to the boat that just came in and anchored before us and got the OK to drop anchor in between him and the next boat. The first try wasn't successful as we started dragging. I pulled up the anchor with Gayleen's help at the helm. Lined up again, dropped anchor once more and reversed the prop and backed up and this time felt the anchor dig in and set solid. That was it, we did it, our first successful anchoring. Of course for the next 3 hours we looked at the other boats and points on land to determine if we we really not dragging. Our neighbors popped over in their dinghy to say hi and gave us a couple of suggestions about the anchor snubber and we had a nice conversation with a couple that has cruised all the Caribbean and all of Central America. Once again the excitement built in us even with the stress of the maiden voyage and anchoring still wearing off.

After watching the dolphins play around our boat and the sunset we went to bed around 8 PM expecting to be up all night thinking about the anchor. With positive thinking invoked we both went to sleep and actually had a good night rest.

Its a beautiful morning and its nice to be out of the marina. We will dinghy in do the final checkout today and then plan when and how we will start south.

We are well rested but one of our crew seems to be still recovering from yesterday's events. The other member of the crew is in some deep hiding place being anti-social probably asking herself how did she get here in the first place.


  1. The best advice I can give about the science of anchoring comes from my younger years in boating. Assuming you're using a Danforth anchor, the more scope of anchorline you can let out the better. The smaller the angle of line to bottom the better chance it has to dig in. Once you feel it bite, you can pull the line in to a suitable length to minimize swing.

    To un-anchor, pull in as much of the line as possible until the prow of the boat is directly over the anchor. If it doesn't dislodge, tie the rope to the anchor cleat and use the engine to nudge to boat forward to pull it out.



    1. Thanks for the advice Jim, we are happy to take any advice from experienced boaters. We have a big ole Delta anchor as our primary anchor and it seems to work well.


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