On Saturday, I invited my brother and his family to come down to the boat for a sail. The weather turned out near perfect. We had light winds in the morning, but it was expected to pick up to the 10-15 knot range in the afternoon. And, the temperature was going to be in the low 70s (F). Not bad for mid-January!
Using GPSVisualizer.com I’ve colorized our GPS track of the sail according to the speed of the boat. If you load the track in Google Earth , you’ll see a legend on the left of our speed. I’ve also added some placemarks describing where we raised sails, had wind change, etc. I may have to think about a way to recording wind speeds when we are visualizing our tracks for the circumnavigation. A few photos are included in the KML, but you can view the photos here as well.
We started out at about 11 AM and motored down the St. Marys river out to sea. I timed it so we had the tide going out when we left, and tide coming back in as we returned. The winds were less than 5 knots at the start, but once we got out a couple of miles the winds picked up to a little over 7 knots. So, we turned into the winds and raised sail. There were a few other sail boats a few miles out. Once we were making way, we had some lunch. The boys had a great time running around the boat and playing like they were pirates.
There is a right whale protected area about 12 nm out. A cargo ship was headed around the protected area to go in the inlet to Fernandina Beach. After he passed, we turned around to head back in. The winds gradually picked up as we neared the inlet. The direction of the wind was perfect and we managed to sail most of the way back up river towards St. Marys. We dropped sails at the sharp bend to the south in the river.
As we headed to the marina, the dockmaster asked if we could park in a different slip. We had already set up our fenders and docklines on the other side of the boat, so we had to turn around a couple of times while we re-arranged. We pulled into the new slip and got some help from other boaters with our lines. Fortunately the power line just barely reached the power outlet near the starboard bow. My brother John and I watched the moon rise over St. Marys. It was a perfect end to a perfect day of sailing.