The November WCTSS trip to Cedar Key is growing every year. One trip per year is clearly not enough. The town is still recovering from flood damage due to Hurricane Hermine. A lot has been repaired but they still have work to do to get back to 100%. As has become a tradition, we stayed at Sunset Isle campground. They have already done many repairs and others are ongoing. The little docks we liked so much are gone.
View from our campsite. Remnants of the dock at low tide.
Tide's in; time to go sail. Where's the wind?
Eventually got a decent breeze. Cruising by the beach at Atsena Otie.
Meade Gougeon was out in "Woodwind".
Goat spent Friday night in marsh grass. Got crabs.
It's been a long, hot summer with not much interesting sailing going on. It's still hot but good sailing weather is coming up real fast so I dusted off Goat and joined the WCTSS for an easy daysail at Ft Desoto, a 20 minute drive from our house.
Approaching the fleet anchored at the giant shoal off North beach at Ft DeSoto park. This shoal has been growing recently and is now very large with some interesting features to explore.
From the shoal.
I rigged the GoPro to the tip of the yard.
And got some fun shots.
There was no wind before 2pm and most folks bailed out. Dimitri and I waited it out and got rewarded with a decent sea breeze.
We explored the shoal but Dimitri, with his Wind Rider's deep 18" draft, just could not hang with Goat's ridiculous shoal water ability. I routinely skim over shoals where the gulls are walking. Off the wind, board and rudder up I need maybe 4", maybe less if it's blowing hard enough to scrape over the sand.
A mid afternoon snack.
Walked around for a while. Lots of wildlife on the flats.
Delicate sand dollars survived the sail back nestled in the bow.
Time to hoist sail and head back home.
Gerry with his neat outrigger sailing canoe conversion was coming back in as I sailed back to the launch site.
Another day in paradise comes to a close. Time to pack up and head home.
Have I mentioned that we love Cedar Key? We always have a great time at the Small Boat Meet so this year we took a week off to enjoy the event at a relaxed pace. The weather was spectacular. Not a cloud in the sky with a couple of very windy days, a couple less so and a couple light, drifty air days. Something for everyone.
Arriving at Sunset Isles campground.
We brought Goat, two bikes and two full size kayaks. I need to add kayak racks to the Goat trailer. In the meantime the kayaks go inside the RV through the rear window. A bit ghetto but OK as a temporary solution for short trips.
We use the kid cart to haul groceries and all sorts of other crap.
Launched Goat Thursday morning. RV with Goat trailer fits well in launch ramp spaces. This was a requirement when we were picking out what to get for a camper.
I dropped the mast off at Island Place beach then launched Goat and rowed under the bridge. This is what I saw when I got to the beach.
Thursday the winds were 15 kn gusting to 20 kn. Only a handful of boats were out. I had the second reef in and Goat was scooting around at 5-7 kn. Glen was out as well in his Beetle Cat.
I was sailing the boat off the wind while videoing when a gust hit. I was too slow steering the boat back under the sail and over we went. No big deal, was back upright in seconds. Did not even get wet. I have video of the whole thing and will post when edited. A screen shot for now.
Stopped for a rest on Atsena.
On the way back in to Cedar Key I hit a group of f#$%ing Manatees! No really, they were mating in the channel. The water was murky and I had no idea they were there. As the boat stopped with a bang the water exploded around me and one of the Manatees side swiped the rudder. It hit hard enough to blow out the rudder box. I did not realize it at the time as I still had good steering control and it was only a short distance to the beach.
That night with Hugh Horton's help, a scrap piece of wood, one pump of West System and a couple of deck screws we had the rudder cassette back to functional. The permanent repair will require a complete rebuild.
Structurally good as new.
Friday the wind was a couple knots lighter at 14-16 kn, which is a shame as I had great crew. Wes White and I spent the afternoon flogging the Goat. There was enough wind to just start the Goat planing at around 7 kn with a few bursts into mid 8 kn range. With a couple more knots of wind we would have been solidly on plane all day long! But I'm not complaining. Photo by Michael Jones.