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Published: February 23rd 2010
Light airs sailing in crystal clear waters off Marathon
Well I've had a great week of sailing and now I'm back in Marathon's Boot Key Harbour.
During the last week I have had a several great days out sailing. Last Monday Mike and Bruce joined me aboard Harbinger and we went out about 8 miles to the edge of the reef. It was a gentle sail with sunshine, dolphins and sea turtles for company. Later on I went to the mast head of Wanderlust, Mike and Bruce's Endeavour 40, to refit their wind instruments and aerials.
On Wednesday I decided it was time to try out my reefing lines and the small jib and so I went out again, but this time I was alone. I sailed out under main alone and Harbinger is a very easy and predictable boat to sail with good tracking and only a little weather helm. I had a a nice sail tojust beyond the reef. The water on the reef is a wonderful turquoise but then just beyond the reef, in about 200', there is a sharp change to a very dark blue/black ink, but always crystal clear. The gulf stream proper is about 15 miles further out.
Thursday I joined Mike and Bruce aboard Wanderlust and we set off for Key West, which is about 42 nautical miles south west of Marathon. It was a lovely sail with a good northerly just abaft the beam. We made good progress along the Hawk channel, which is the inshore passage inside the reef. On our approach to Key West we dropped the sails and started to motor the last little bit, since we would be head to wind and against a strong current. When sailing you get used to things not always going to plan and the leaking water pump was just one of those things that happens when you least expect it. Mike and Bruce had recently repaired the said pump and so it was a bit of a surprise to find that the pump was leaking. Bruce took it easy and kept the revs down and all seemed to be ok and just as well, we ended up rescuing a man in a sailing dingy that had been swept out by the strong current. We must have towed him more than a mile back to his yacht, close to which we anchored for the night in the
shelter of Fleming Island. The US Coast Guard are very diligent here and so if you happen to come this way you need to make sure that all your paperwork is in order and that your flares and other safety gear is up to date, etc.. The fines can be considerable.
I had a nice few days in Key West with Mike and Bruce and enjoyed their company no end before returning to Marathon yesterday on the bus ($3). The weather was great but it has turned again and I'm sitting here on Harbinger listening to the wind and rain outside, catching up on my 'to do' lists and correspondence. It's good to be back aboard Harbinger although I'll miss Mike and Bruce's company and conversation. Thanks guys for a great time.
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