The forecast looked promising. East winds 15 to 20 (a broad reach), decreasing to 10 to 15 from the southeast ( a continued broad reach once we got 20 miles south).
So we decided to go “outside” from Angelfish Creek to Channel 5. Besides which our “inside” ICW trip over the same passage last year didn’t work out so well, counting the two hard groundings, one of which was exactly midway between a red and green day mark.
We didn’t leave as early as possible because we wanted to check out the Ericson 35 which had anchored very close to us. He had an unusual technique–he dropped the anchor in 8 feet, with maybe 20 feet of chain out. Then he proceeded to drive at full speed in a circle, the anchor chain streaming aft. We guessed it was a new method of digging the anchor in.
Before dark, he had dragged 100 yards behind us. By the time we checked him out in the morning, he had dragged about a half mile downwind. He was up and looking around as we motored past him to Angelfish Creek.
We got through Angelfish–an accomplishment since the Florida cruising guides disagreed whether the minimum depth was 12 feet or 3.5 feet.
Outside we had a nice sail for about an hour before the wind started increasing. It went from east to southeast, and increased to 20, still doable, but a close reach with our motor running. Then it increased to 20 to 25 and got quite bumpy. We carried on, just long enough that we had to decide whether to retreat 20 miles or continue on 30 miles, expecting the lightening wind.
We continued and never got the lightening. Instead we got the boat decks, dodger, and cockpit thoroughly soaked with saltwater breaking over the bow. And the autopilot failed.
Miserable day, but we got into Channel 5 about 5 pm and are now recuperating in Matecomb Bight.
We’ll probably sit here for a day.–rd