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DIRECT COURSE TO TARPON SPRINGS May 3, 2010

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Apalachicola, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I was asked by my Gemini friend to crew for him as he took his boat from Apalachicola to Tarpon Springs. Yes, I am always ready. Well almost. My little part time job gets in the way. But not this time. Kent the owner and his wife had been cruising from Pensacola to Apalachicola for about a week. Because of my schedule, we had built in only one weather day. Not good. The weather day was used up on the first weekend of their cruise by a front that caused all the tornado damage in Mississippi. The new plan was to leave Apalachicola on Wednesday and sail to Tarpon Springs, arriving during the day Thursday. The winds was out of the north about 10 when we left and was to move to the NW and slowly die before reappearing out of the east/southeast. The idea was to beat the wind shift or it would be on our noise. Remember, gentlemen do not go to weather.

When we cleared St George Island the wind was NE about 10 and the swells were 1-2 feet. I had never been on the catamaran in these conditions. Wave slap was an understatement. The wave period was just enough to get between the hulls and with little more than a foot of bridge clearance, we slammed pretty hard. Thankfully the wind continued to die and shift to the north and eventually the northwest, along with the seas. We motor sailed with headsail only till after midnight when the wind was not strong enough to keep up with our motoring speed. With beam on to following seas, the movement of the cat is like a cat, very quick.

We had friends in a Catalina 34 traveling with us and there motion was the normal roll that one experiences in a monohull with quartering seas. The nice thing about the trip is that we stayed on the rum line and made very good time. The currents would generally set us either north or east with occasional shifts to the opposite direction. We got to the north tip of the key off Tarpon Springs about 7:30 A. M. We motored around the island and up the river to Tarpon Spring and were at the dock by 9:30.

The last 3 times I have made this trip, I have had similar conditions. That’s scary. I am due a trip with storms and miserable conditions. As with any trip off shore always allow time for a good weather window.

That was the smallest yacht I have made that trip on and the first cat. Because of the movement of the cat, you would either get into shape of get beat up in a long passage. I understand there are two Gemini’s going around the world at this time. I hope the crews are young and strong. This was fun and always a learning experience with different equipment and boat characteristics.

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