Monday, March 8, 2010

Preparations and the Second Guess

I am going to take a quick minute and get everything caught up to speed this morning, I am in the midst of getting ready to head to Bimini for a week or so, which will probably be the stop that signals the end of, well the turn around point, of this trip.

Over the last few days I have spent a whole lot of time working on Arden - sealing the chain plates, cleaning, bright work, some work on lines and rigging - you name it I have done it. The standing rigging is all back in tune after being loosened for the chain plate job, and the sealant looks like it has cured. I got my all chain anchor rode all measured out and stowed - 205 feet of G4 chain, should be plenty enough for where ever I go, and, it gives that extra safety margin of being chafe proof. That now makes 4 complete sets of rode on board, for 3 anchors. The only bit of ground tackle I am missing now is a good fisherman style take apart anchor for my storm anchor. I know where one is, and if the money is right when I get back to Oriental NC I will pick it up.

I spent a good bit of yesterday cleaning the boat and topping off the water tanks, I have a full 87 gallons on board, once again Arden is bow down, with the chain rode weighing in at about 275 lbs, and the water tank coming in at just over 320 lbs, her attitude in the water is right back where it was before I added the aft water tank, down by the bow by and inch and a half or so. Unfortunately, I am low on her marks all over, however, right now it is just an aesthetics thing, as her lines where I painted them are a bit below the manufacturer's lines. I will remedy that when I haul her out this summer or fall and repaint the hull.

I have also squeezed in every drop of fuel that I can on board, the fuel tanks are full well into the fill tubes, and the jerry jugs on deck are all full as well. I think that puts me around 47 gallons in the tanks, and 15 on deck, if I can catch a break with the wind, I will be good for fuel at least until I get to the upper end of South Carolina.

I went over to Sven und Gabi's last night, we had a barbeque for Elias' birthday (Elias is the Venezulean guy that owns the beautiful 105 foot sailing yacht) and everyone was there - Elias, Matt (who is leaving with me in the morning) Frank und Sabina, Sven, Gabi, Julia and Carlos. We had a great night, and it was also kind of a going away for Matt and I as well.

I am making my first set of flags this morning, I have made the Quaratine flag, (this is flown as you come into a foriegn port to signal the customs guys that you are requesting clearance into customs) and I am just about ready to start making my Bahamanian courtesy flag in just a few minutes. I have learned a bit about sewing nylon this AM, it is a real pain in the butt to sew out in the cockpit. It might also be that my sewing machine has a bit of age on it and may not be at 100%, but no matter, it is a bit harder to sew than say canvas.

I hope I have everything done, and am spending a bit of time second guessing things as I am often want to do, but I really can't think of much more that needs to be done, so I think I am ready.

I spoke to David and Peg this morning, they are aboard Journey and are making their last minute preparations to sail, and I outlined the plan that Matt and I settled on for our departure. We are going to leave here at about 1015 or so, that is when the tide is slack and starting to come back in. That will have us into the current at the bridges, which will give us a bit more steerage and control if we have to wait for bridge openings. I figure that it will take us an hour to an hour and a half to get down to the ICW, where we will meet David and Peg. Once we are all together, we will sail down to the main channel, out to the ocean, and hang a right and head south, the goal being south of Miami by nightfall. At sunset or just after, depending on how far south we are, our little flotilla will hang a left and head east towards Bimini. That should allow for a bit of drift due to the current in the Gulf Stream (which is at about 2 knots right now) and for some leeway as we will be running with a south/south easterly wind. If all works out as planned, we will make the Bahama Banks at or just below Bimini some time after dawn. If we get there before dawn we will lay off and wait, hopefully we will get there an hour or so after day break.

So here we are, all of us making last minute adjustments and getting set to go. I will post again in the morning, and then that may be the last post before I return to the States in a week or so, I have no idea what kind of internet will be available over there.

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