BRAEDONTON, FL TO CHARLESTON, SC
NOTE TO READERS:
It is 05 December 2016 and I’ve waited far to long to transcribe my scribbled journal notes into a cohesive accounting of this trip. So I will capture the highlights I can decipher. Captain Archie’s crew for this leg include “veterans Jim and Larry, and “greenhorns” Ray and Glen.
0600 sunrise on Tampa bay. Winds light and variable means 30-40 hours of motoring to Key West.
- Helm school for the new crew
- Guiness World Record Blueberry pancakes for breakfast
- Slab of Prime Rib for lunch
- Ray eats mostly rice cakes but the brand/style Larry bought are not to his standard. Larry bought “a lot” of them so we spend the day brainstorming possible uses. (Life jackets is the best idea)
- Ray’s new nickname is “Rice Cakes”
Late afternoon converstion:
Ray “Where will be be stopping?”
Jim “Key West”
Ray ” when will be get there?”
Jim “Tomorrow afternoon.”
Ray “I meant where will be stopping tonight?”
Jim “We aren’t”
- Michael McCloud at Schooner Wharf Bar and dinner at PEPE’s for dinner
- Ray and Jim find good music, Jameson’s whiskey and West Virginia dance partners at the Hog’s Breath Saloon
Ray proves to be an excellent liberty “wing man”. On the way back to the boat I tried several directions with no success but kept insisting it was only a couple of block so we should keep walking. Ray hails a cab and tells the driver the marina we’re going to. “But that’s only 2 blocks away”, says the cabbie. “That’s what this guy keeps saying but he doesn’t know which two”.
- The main outhaul needs replacing. With splicing, jerry rigging and patience. we manage.
- We depart into 15-20 Kt Northeast wind with 4-5′ seas. It’s going to be a very long day and night.
- Archie and i share a 3 on 3 off watch schedule supplemented by Ray, Glen and Larry.
- 0230, autopilot shuts down and we do a 90 degree turn in a couple of seconds (WOW).
- Another conversation during middle of the night watch.
Glen "So where did you grow up"? Jim "New Jersey" Glen "So did I, what part of the State? Jim "East Orange, outside of Newark" Glen "Wow, so did I. What school did you go to"? Jim "Ashland grammar school and E.O. high" Glenn "I went to Ashland" Jim "Is your last name Ramsey"? Glenn "Yes it is, Hey! You're Jim Beardsley and we were best friends in the 4th grade".
- Another long, hot, humid day of motorsailing into big swells
- The seas cause Larry to do a pole dance between the two posts in the salon earning him “the stripper” nickname
- Meat balls A-La Cockpit floor for dinner. “It’s like dog shit” says Larry to Ray, “You’ll track it all over the boat”.
- Ray “We’re still going to Fort Pierce aren’t we”? Archie, “No, we’re going straight to Charleston”. Ray “You’re bullshitting me right”? Archie “No”
- A perfect day. 10-10,7 Kt beam reach in the gulf stream.
- I take my first shower while underway in an active sea. To use Andrew’s description of scuba diving “It’s a lot of work for what it is”
- Ray proves to be a comic with great one liners. Like “I’ve never in my life been with a bunch of guys that sleep so much and drink so much water”
- During deck rounds I find the jib furling line is nearly parted and we do a temporary repair.
- Glen hears a US Navy transmission about a warning on the VHF. I get US Warship 42 on the radio and they say we are 8 miles inside a 25 mile exclusion area and are sailing into a live fire exercise “firebox”. I get instructions to sail East, and coordinates where we can resume our northerly track. When we make the turn the radio comes alive. “Sailing vessel BETTY ANN, this is USN warship Predator, is it your intention to cross my bow?” We turn to look and see a frigate steaming up our stern. “Predator gives us new instructions which we willingly follow.
- Big plates of corned beef and cabbage for dinner.
- Clear and hot with a 10-12 Kt port quarter wind and ETA at MEGA Dock of 1200. We’re two days early so we hope there’s a spot and there is.
- Larry is off to visit his son. We do some work on the boat, have dinner at Fleet Pier and a drink (or two) at Salty Dog bar and turn in for the night.
- I make two attempts at splicing double braided line but can’t get it right so Archie gets it done for $20 at the marina shop. I make a pledge to learn this skill and now splice all the dock lines, mooring lines for friends at our boat club.
- I talk on the phone to Jake, son of a friend of mine, that is stationed at the USN base attending nuclear school. He’ll meet us tomorrow for dinner and recommends the Blind Tiger Pub. He suggests we try the King St. Grill Sports bar tonight. We do and the appitizers are great but the meal is mediocre. The Pop D.J. that follows drives us from the place.
- We do more cleaning and work on the boat and provision for the next crew.
- Evening at the Blind Tiger Pub where we meet Jake, and are all taken by the beautiful and entertaining bar maid. It is the day of the Kentucky Derby. She stops at each patron at the bar and asks “Which horse won the race, I missed it” The answer of course is “I’ll Have Another” So she refills your drink and moves on to the next person.