30 Dec St. Pete to Fairhope
Here it is: my first blog post. Our sail from St, Petersburg, FL, to our home port of Fairhope, AL. Of course it didn’t start out smoothly as we trailered our dinghy down but didn’t bring the key to get the motor off the dinghy to stow while sailing. So several hours of contemplating, stressing, calling locksmiths, we decided to screw it: let’s go. Hoist it up using the halyards and get old comforters and tie it down. Get diesel and head out: we can do this even though none of us have ever sailed anything bigger than a sunfish.
Good bye St. Pete. You are amazing. It was absolutely breathtaking and great sailing leaving the city. We rolled out at 3 pm and set sail. We saw one cargo ship as we departed the city.. But then we were solo until we eventually hit land at 5:30 am Sunday. So our first sailing trip ever wouldn’t be an adventure without 5 ft seas and 30 mph gusts of winds? Yep, that happened. Sleeping was tough. Thank goodness for the eisenglass to help shield the wind but I wouldn’t say any of us got much sleep except for 1 hour here and there. Upon sunrise Saturday winds slowly died down. Dolphins came out and then trip got better. We cruised at max hull speed the first night under wind power only around 7.5 knots. Night two winds died down to steady 10-20 knots and we motor sailed our way right into Panama City, FL.
Land=Hallelujah! I think we were all happy at this point. While it was almost cleansing to be away from social media, television, loved ones, and any other human interaction for 38 hours, we were all happy to walk on a pier. We pulled up to Pirates Cove Marina and fueled up, walked to a yummy mom and pop breakfast, took a nap, and then set sail again around 1 pm.
This was the most enjoyable part of the trip. Perfect bathtub flat waters. Air temp in the upper seventies and no humidity. Sight of land. We had the perfect sail for the last leg. We trolled for about an hour but came up short with only bonitas so we caught and released. Then was the wine and cheese party. In our opinion the perfect cruising dinner…. off to bed for Randy and I around 8 pm while Pat manned the helm, then Pat went down below at midnight, while Randy and I took over from midnight til we arrived in Orange Beach at sunrise on Monday am. Leg 2: 16 hours. Now we are exhausted. Cruising through the intercostal in shallow waters and unlit bouys was mentally exhausting. But we made it home and alive and got to enjoy the view of the below sunrise.
Back to work in the real world for now. A day later Randy motor sailed her back from Orange Beach to Fairhope. Calm seas but no wind. 7 hour motor down the ICW. Life is pretty good here at the marina, except the laundry list begins of these “never ending projects” for the boat life. Mainsail off with a rip, switching out the lights to LED, cushions, not sure where to start…. until next time!