C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Outward Bound from Lake Worth

Inspired by an enthusiastic dinner invitation from Rick & Cynthia, the crew of SV Reverie, we decided to spend a night at the Riviera Beach City Marina.   The marina is located on the west side of Peanut Island on the mainland of Florida.  The marina facility gets an overall thumbs down from Anne and I.  The docks are fixed (not floating); the current in the area can run over 2 knots; and the slips have only partial fingers.  If it were not for the friendly and amazingly helpful dock master, Ernie, we would have likely moved on after sizing up the slip.  On the positive side the marina has just completed a new bathhouse/laundry facility and the Tiki Bar on site is welcoming.  The marina does not have any internet access; they charge $7/day for power hook-up; but the potable water is free.  The marina has a dinghy dock for a daily fee.   In the future I think we would choose to remain in the Lake Worth anchorage and dinghy into the marina. Enough about the marina… we were able to take some long showers and clean our laundry prior to Rick arriving to pick us up for dinner.

After getting to know cruisers on the water it is interesting to visit them at their terrestrial residences.   In 2008 we spent time with Reverie’s crew while in the Abacos.  We had a great time catching up on sailing and other travel stories.  Dinner; a medley of grilled veggies, grilled fish, and stuffed clams; was delicious.  Thanks Reverie – hopefully we return the favor when you pass through our home port.

During the 24 hours we spent in the Lake Worth area the offshore winds decreased into the 15 knot range becoming more favorable for us to sail northward on the outside.  We were up early on the 25th to take advantage of a slack tide in our escape from the marina’s docks and exit the Lake Worth Inlet.  

Despite our timing and favorable winds the inlet was rougher than either Anne or I expected.  We motor sailed under a full main until the confused seas of the inlet were behind us.  The northward flowing Gulf Stream runs close to shore at Lake Worth.  By the time we had the genny up, the sails trimmed, and the motor silenced our GPS reported C’est la Vie was making a consistent 10 knots northward.   Wow, we were expecting a push from the stream, but averaging 10 knots with bumps up into the 12 knot range filled Anne and I with a sense of awe at the possibilities of covering vast distances riding the “stream”.

After setting up our Cape Horn Autopilot, “Otto”, we plotted a course for the Cape Fear inlet along the coast of North Carolina.  By 09:39 our GPS reported that the 429NM to Cape Fear would take 53H37m.  We established a schedule of 4 hour watches.  Otto was deftly handling the steering but we must also maintain a crew on watch.  The crew on watch is responsible for monitoring the autopilot, our course, and for other hazards (i.e. other vessels, storms, etc.)   Despite suffering from mild bout with seasickness, Anne took the first watch.  

With our speed continuing to average around 10 knots, I began my watch at noon.   High on the power of wind to propel and steer C’est la vie the first hour of my watch passed blissfully; then something went bump in the lazurette. 

Anne and I were both in the cockpit when it happened.  “What was that?”  It was a sound not only heard by also felt.  We quickly searched around, but found nothing amiss.  Perhaps we struck a submerged object or a large fish?  Not able to find any damage or cause we settled back into our bliss.  But our bliss was short lived.  Now Otto was refusing to hold a steady course.  Hmm, must be struggling with the weather helm created by carrying a full main in 15 knots on a close reach.

 I reefed the main to reduce the weather helm.  Otto continued to struggle to hold a course.

Back to hand steering – bummer.  When we switch back to hand steering, one of us leans over the transom to remove the wooden steering oar.   It is not a dangerous maneuver and it saves wear and tear on the auto pilot steering system.   While removing the steering oar I discovered the source of the mysterious bump.

From the exterior, the vane seemed loose.  Opening the lazurette, I discovered that after 10+ years of stress and salt exposure the stainless steel screws attaching the starboard mount to the hull sheared.   Anne assumed the responsibility of hand steering while I began to size up the repair. 

A couple of trips between the tool locker and the lazurette confirmed that we had the tools and materials aboard to facilitate the repair. 

A couple of minutes hanging upside down in the lazurette combined with some trips to the tool locker and I was feeling seasick.  I do not succumb to motion sickness often, but now all the symptoms – sweats, tremors, nausea were upon me.  I struggled through the repair always noting the quickest path to the railing in anticipation of seeing my lunch for a second time.  Despite the setback of shearing a third bolt, the repair took about 90 minutes.  I was below decks stowing tools when my nausea overcame me.  Fortunately I had already cleared a flight plan for the sink.   I felt much better.

In short order we had Otto back on the helm and my green was down to a light shade of swiss chard. 

20:12 the log reports a large ship to our starboard and 2220 feet of water under our keel.  Our speed is down to 8 knots.

By sunset the winds are backing to the south so we drop the main to adjust to a broad reach.    So begins our first night on this offshore passage.

1 comment:

  1. We forgot to ask when you were in Riviera Beach.
    How is Origami, and have you been taking better care of her? Just teasing.
    Have a safe and great summer.