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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunset Island, FL to Beaufort, NC - Departure!

Early on the 25th we aborted our plans to visit the Dry Tortugas due to unfavorable forecasts over the next week.  The window for sailing to the Tortugas exists, but the extended forecast did not offer a viable window for returning.  With only 4 weeks to travel north to Beaufort, NC we could not afford to sit out the weather in the Tortugas. 
Late in the afternoon on the 25th, we departed Sunset Island on the ebbing tide.  Our destination, Russell Pass, is only 5NM from Sunset Island, but symbolically is a giant leap as we are now underway.  Anchoring in Russell Pass also sets us up well for an early departure the next morning.
Still experimenting with our new dinghy, Segundo, we chose to tow her out to Russell Pass.  15 knot west winds were stirring up whitecaps across Chokoloskee Bay.  Segundo tracked well behind C’est la Vie.  Unfortunately she did take on a significant amount of water from spray off her blunt bow.  She will require a short leash when towing in choppy waters.
After setting the anchor we entertained the next hard dinghy experiment - hoisting and stowing, Segundo, on deck.  The hoist went smoothly despite the stiff west winds.  We did learn a painful lesson when Segundo disgorged a couple gallons of sea water on deck.  While we had closed the forward hatches, the middle ports remained open.  Our wardrobe and head were treated to an unwelcome salt water rinse.
Our plan was to store Segundo bow forward with her transom resting on the mast step. Enough room then remained on the side decks to allow comfortable access the bow and windlass.  Keeping the dinghy’s center seat from resting on the forward hatch proved challenging.   Our simple and creative solution (the author is not adverse to a bit of self-flattery) was to use two boat fenders to elevate the stern and a square floatation cushion at the bow.  Once the correct clearance was obtained we made her fast to the toe rail, grab rails, and mast with rope.

I would not trust the current set up for bluewater travel.  As a temporary solution while we test out the pros & cons of traveling with a hard dinghy we are pleased.  If we decide a hard dinghy is preferable then we will install proper chocks for mounting the vessel.

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