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Downwind to Indian key

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Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:41 am

Left from key largo. Made good time on an almost dead dead down wind leg to Indian key. It was breezy, two reefs in the main for on the wind work, but for this trip I left the full main up. I also had a Yankee jib up. I had five miles of steep reaching at about 6 6.5 knots then the course became almost dead down wind. Still averaging 5.5 knots. I had forgotten to disconnect the engine from the steering so I luffed up to do that. That made the helm lighter. Took me a minute to figure out what was wrong.
The boat handled ok And There was no great pressure on the rudders but the slop in the system was annoying. The Yankee was losing effectiveness. I couldn't quite go wing one wing, so I sheeted it flat. That stopped it from banging around. The wind seemed to be picking up and though the speed was thrilling I decided to reef the main. When I came onto the wind, I thought a double reef was in order. That reduced speed to 4.5 to 5 knots but made sailing easier. I tried a variety of methods of steering. One rudder, outboard down out board half down...having the outboard down only slowed the boat a little but the prop clunked every time the boat went down a wave. I had it in gear to keep the prop from spinning. (Good? Bad?) Having the Yankee sheeted flat like that helped prevent the boat from wanting to round up. Sailing with both rudders down is preferred and seems to lessen strain on the system. Passed another boat tacking up wind with a jib and a trysail. Noticed she had a stackpack main. I anchored behind Indian key. The tide was low, and it remained very windy. 25knots I guess . I noticed that my shroud lashings had slackened. It was too windy to paddle over to the island. Later, the tide came in and the boat began to roll with the chop coming in from deeper water. Indian key has always been rolly in windy weather. The last time I was here I parked the boat more on the flats, but was chastised by a ranger. The wind is supposed to abate later. In the afternoon I plan to sail down to long key, since its a nice quiet place to walk the dogs. Dogs are technically not allowed on Indian key but I take them over anyway early in the morning.

Ix
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Chinook » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:06 pm

I'm thinking that a whisker pole would have helped you with the jib on the downwind run. It helps keep it filled and not flapping, and you can go wing on wing, even when not quite going directly downwind.
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:37 pm

I have a whisker pole but it was windy and I'm by myself. Just as soon loose some speed but keep things easier. I am more inclined to do stuff like that in protected waters.

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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:59 pm

After going ashore on Indian key, I wanted to see if there was any damage from the storm. The dock is not open. There were some trees down. The storm had exposed some pottery shards, glass, and other debris by the shore. The water did not cover the island. I left about noon and sailed towards long key. Now on a close reach. It was choppy and breezy. I left the 2nd reef in from yesterday and was making 4-5 knots with the ydnkk jib up. Sighting long key bridge over channel 5 on this approach is tricky because long before you are anywhere near channel 5, you can see the north side of the bridge. (The side facing the gulf) This is sort of confusing the first time. Like it was 26 years ago in my fat little 23 cutter. I remember coming in close to shore looking for the channel markers then realizing I had things very wrong.
I decided not to stop at the long key beach since you have to work into the shallows and it was still pretty early. I sailed under the bridge without issue as the tide was with me. Once on the gulf side of the islands, the wind seemed to diminish. I shook out the reefs but declined to set a working jib. The water was much smoother than it had been in hawk channel. There were crab pots everywhere. I anchored late in the afternoon near an outlying flat island called channel key. There were some shoals with tidal cuts between them. Might be a good place to catch shrimp.

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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby vizwhiz » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:11 pm

Awsesome trip reports! Sounds like fun! We’ll get down there eventually. You going to fish too? Snorkel?
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Chinook » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:00 pm

I totally agree with your comment about installing and removing whisker pole, especially if single handing, in rough, blustery conditions. That jib flaps around a lot, and if you set it in a wind that continues to strengthen, it can get really hairy trying to remove it, so you can shorten sail or change course.
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Tomfoolery » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:24 pm

Chinook wrote:I totally agree with your comment about installing and removing whisker pole, especially if single handing, in rough, blustery conditions. That jib flaps around a lot, and if you set it in a wind that continues to strengthen, it can get really hairy trying to remove it, so you can shorten sail or change course.

I don't have a whisker pole for this boat, but did for my last (keel boat). I set it up so that at full extension, I could furl the sail all the way in. The pole would extend a bit beyond the forestay, but that didn't matter as the only sail showing was a Kleenex when furled with the pole attached, and the pole was clipped to the sheet anyway, so some sheet slack was in order.

No problem furling the jib with the pole still attached, and when the boat orientation to wind and waves was right, I could just run forward and cut the extension line loose to collapse the pole. If I wanted to. But I could just keep on motoring with it still in place and remove it for storage on the deck at a later time. But even with the spinnaker halyard attached as a topping lift for the pole, I wouldn't want to fight with it in a blow. I used to leave the topping lift attached (bitter end was stopper knotted through its cleat always) in case I dropped it overboard. It was a big pole, and would cost thousands to replace with new, though I found it for cheap through a local boat broker's classifieds.

Maybe that experience is useful to someone with a Mac. :)
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Highlander » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:53 pm

Well with me having a cutter rig I guess I could try out this method interesting idea they say having the jib tightly sheeted to the center line prevents rolling I also like the double preventer set-up
https://www.google.ca/search?q=whisker+ ... 15aUsMOAQM:

J 8)
PS I,ve seen where some guys just attach the whisker pole end to the jib sheet line instead of the jib clew !
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Don T » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:12 pm

Hello,
I changed out the snap clasp at the outer end of the whisker pole in favor of a pointed end which I stick through the clew eyelet. When I'm single handing and the weather gets up I can loosen the jib / genoa sheet and the pole just drops to the deck. I can then furl the sail and worry about the pole later.
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:32 am

A friend and I are discussing a square sail for downwind work.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the paddle board. I'm Pleased to see a number of mature conch here. I hope one day to be able to do limited harvest again. The trailer court on Ohio key was wiped out, but there appears to be work being done with heavy equipment. It was too windy to swim and later I cooked a snapper I had caught last night. I moved the boat to another little cut nearby where the current is even stronger. Its overcast today, so I won't be swimming. There is or used to be, a roadside scenic pull off 1/4 mile from here. I may go over there for a trash run. Good place to walk the dogs if has been abandoned.

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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:15 pm

Last few days were spent goofing off. I found an orphan kayak, and moved the boat a few times to other spots not far away. Looked for railroad artifacts under the bridges. There was a school of huge grey snappers there too. But I didn't have the time to try for them as I got a call from work. I have to return a few days early. It was on the nose and blowing 20 of course, so I motored back to marathon. But then I decided to sail a bit. Even a double reef main was too much. The Yankee jib was all she could carry up front. Doing 4-5 jammed into the wind as high as shed go. I was having a hard time keeping the leeside lower snug. It was too rough to mess with it so after a few hours i switched down to the spitfire jib. This reduced the speed but increased the comfort. I like that jib a lot. Nice light helm, responsive. During this time I had about 2/3 board down. I dropped the rest and watched my track on the plotter. Didnt make a rats as bit of difference. I closed the shore and tacked. It became apparent that I would not reach my anchorage at this rate of about 2 knots VMG. I struck the jib and motor sailed until the course made that impractical. About dusk I anchored in the lee of lignumvitae key. I was beat and the dogs were ready to mutiny.
Over all I was happy with the performance. Its a tall order for any small boat to make mileage dead upwind in 20 +
Headstay sag is an issue. I need a 3rd reef in the main. I have 350 lbs of extra lead ballast and she still had too much sail up.

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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Herschel » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:11 pm

Ixneigh wrote:A friend and I are discussing a square sail for downwind work.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the paddle board. I'm Pleased to see a number of mature conch here. I hope one day to be able to do limited harvest again. The trailer court on Ohio key was wiped out, but there appears to be work being done with heavy equipment. It was too windy to swim and later I cooked a snapper I had caught last night. I moved the boat to another little cut nearby where the current is even stronger. Its overcast today, so I won't be swimming. There is or used to be, a roadside scenic pull off 1/4 mile from here. I may go over there for a trash run. Good place to walk the dogs if has been abandoned.

Ix

Years ago in a different life, I used to camp at a campground on Ohio Key. I think they called it Sunshine Key. Are you saying that it was completely gone? :cry:
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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Ixneigh » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:21 pm

Yes. That's the place. No more trailers. Its a lovely area. There is another camping place just south of Bahia Honda. That seemed very busy but had more things like tents and motor home.

Yesterday I stopped in islamorada and got fuel. I was on my last six gallon tank of the three I carry. Had a nice burger from the restaurant nearby which was busy. The area of anchored boats had been thinned out from the storm but many remained. That evening I motored over to cotton key near by, and the kayak flipped over due to the painter getting hung up on something inside. (I knew this was an issue, thought I could make it just over to cotton key)
Fortunately it wasn't rough. I righted it and towed it half full of water until I anchored, then bailed it. The wind seemed less the next day and it appeared to have shifted slightly. As long as I got back to key largo by afternoon I was fine, so I decided to try sailing instead of the planned traveling under power. I had plenty if fuel, I could always make up lost time. I put up the full main and the Yankee.
Once I reached out into the bay, I had to take a reef. And then another. But the wind wasn't dead against me. It only took a few tacks to get to cowpens cut where there was an exquisite sharpy schooner anchored nearby. Big too. 60 feet maybe? I had to use the motor to get through, and sailed on the other side down the icw.the wind was gusty and flukey in the lee of the land. I tried various sail trims. The boat seemed overcanvassed with the Yankee but I was too lazy to switch to a smaller jib. Partially because the occasional lull would appear, and make me think about shaking out a reef, before the wind strength increased again. Towards the Afternoon I really seemed to have the boat in a nice grove. High 4s for several hours, hard on the wind. Dispute the wind it was not choppy because of the shallow water. The boat was sailing really well. Easy helm. Not squirrely. I had the jib in a bit tighter than I would normally. The main was eased just a little. Half board down due to possible shoaling. The leeside lower was slack, but with no chop it didn't seem to be an issue. With chop, the mast seemed to bounce and that wire would snap tight.
When I arrived in key largo I put the sails down and covered them. The boats behind the Murray nelson government center didn't seem to have been affected by the storm. I anchored where I like to, not too far away from the dinghy parking area. There was one of those cute little tugboats that had just anchored. A bright red one. The kind of boat one might consider after becoming too decrepit to sail. Sort of like, after sailing but before the nursing home :p as I recall they are trailerable but it looked awfully wide.
I'm glad I have that giant anchor in here because the holding ground is iffy. Its only place I have had my boat drag (and I thought someone stole it because I couldn't see it anywhere. )It was 1/4 mile away where some saint had placed it on a vacant mooring after he decided that the rocna and dsnforth anchors I had down were worthless for this location. I bought him a 12 pack for his efforts ;)

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Re: Downwind to Indian key

Postby Herschel » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:18 pm

The kind of boat one might consider after becoming too decrepit to sail. Sort of like, after sailing but before the nursing home :p as I recall they are trailerable but it looked awfully wide.


Thanks for the update on Ohio Key and Florida Bay waters around there and up by Largo. Many years ago sailed my Hobies in those waters. Keep my 26X on the St. Johns River and associated lakes for the most part. At 73 y/o, I had to laugh at your reference to the kind of boat we need between the Macs and the nursing home. Kind of thought it would be a pontoon boat for me, but am happy to see that the local city fathers in Sanford are letting them put in a nursing home right next to my marina. How is that for luck? :D
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