Sunday, February 28, 2010
SEA Update 4: Arrival in Fort Lauderdale
I left Fort Pierce Friday afternoon and arrived in Fort Lauderdale at sunrise Sunday, sneaking into the inlet after the 4th in a line of 6 massive cruise ships. Conditions were pretty calm Friday and Alexandra didn’t make much progress. Saturday we met stormy seas and had a north wind that really rocketed us south. At one point the rain was on such a high wind that it didn’t really hit the water, it just went sideways and the seas seemed to steam. I have yet to have good sailing conditions in these 2 weeks! It's all or nothing so far. I had to double reef and shake out reefs twice Saturday, but we ended up spending last night with just the mainsail up moving at a quick pace downwind toward Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately the boat is not in great shape; the stove doesn’t work properly and leaks alcohol, so I can’t cook with ease, the mainsail had a batten rip through a pocket, the self steering unit won't self steer, the engine is exhausting into the cabin instead of out the stern, and the bilge fills up with water when the engine is running. I’ve pulled into the Ft Lauderdale marina in hopes of finding a sail maker and a diesel mechanic today. It’s frustrating to have all this stuff going wrong at once, but I press on and just remember; “blue-water cruising is boat repair in exotic places.”
My stay in Fort Pierce was very nice. I was disappointed that a cold front came through and immediately brought cold gusty weather, which is still lasting. I managed to repair the bilge hand-pump with replacement parts from ‘Worst’ Marine along with some other repairs. My crewmember and I decided to hit a bar on the last night to watch a couple favorite TV shows, which weren’t on anyway because NBC was showing the Olympics. So, we enjoyed men’s freestyle ski jump instead and the colorful cast of locals in the bar.
Now I have a little pressure to get to Nassau by the 6th, as an old friend from high school is meeting me there for some fishing and crewing on my beloved little boat. I keep breaking the rules by holding myself to a schedule… wish me good weather and a good diesel mechanic!