Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Washington's Birthday Regatta

Egret is a replica of Commodore Ralph Munro's design form 1886. Munroe was an early settler of Biscayne Bay. His estate, called The Barnacle, is now a historic park in Coconut Grove. The park hosts an annual regatta for classic boats of all types. This year is the 20th anniversary of the recreation of the original Biscayne Bay regatta held in 1887.

We arrived in Coconut Grove after an easy 4.5 hr drive down I-75. The area around The Barnacle is a vibrant and congested downtown with lots of excellent restaurants. Since we arrived mid-day Friday traffic was not bad by big city standards. The Seminole Launch ramp next door to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club was recommended by the regatta organizers and it is a very good ramp. It filled up on Saturday but was deserted when we launched on Friday.

Seminole Boat Ramp.

Dennis Bradley and crew arrived shortly after we did. 

A pleasant view while rigging the boat. 

Dennis prefers to launch before stepping the masts.

A couple helping hands make mast stepping easy at the dock.

Launched and ready to go. 

When we inquired about a mooring at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club they were out of deep water moorings but had no problem accommodating a shallow draft Egret. The club is a great place with friendly staff and a 24-hour mooring shuttle that worked really well. We brought bikes, so after picking up a mooring, we took the shuttle to shore and did a bit of bike exploring in the immediate area around The Barnacle. It's all very walkable but the bikes were nice to have. The ramp was empty so Dennis stayed for a while at the dock while his crew finished provisioning for their upcoming sail back to Pine Island. 

Dennis leaving the ramp. 

Waking up Saturday morning.

On Saturday, The Barnacle hosted a breakfast with delicious baked goods and coffee. After breakfast we had the captain's meeting for the upcoming race. The race organizers kindly spelled out the rules in exquisite detail for all of us non-racers. This included a fully acted out visualization of the race course layout. 

Some of the fleet assembled at The Barnacle dock before the race.

Some park rules were suspended for this private event.

Race prestart. 

Boats were divided into 3 classes. We were in Egret class. One glance at the competition and we knew we would be jockeying with the other two Egrets for the last 3 places. Our performance turned out to be a ridiculous comedy of errors. Not being racers we did not take the race seriously but wanted to at least see how we did against the other Egrets. That was not to be. As an example of the absurdity of the day, race two started while I was answering the call of nature below. Nuff said.

Dennis off the wind. 

Taking the scenic route back to The Barnacle via the Brennan channel past the Coconut Grove Sailing Club mooring field.

Some of the fleet coming in behind us.

We coincidentally met up with Per Lorentzen who sailed his Sea Pearl down from West Palm Beach.

Back at The Barnacle Saturday afternoon.

Dennis's Egret sitting a bit low in the water. They are provisioned to the gills for a 12-day cruise back home to Pine Island.

Been waiting a while to get this shot.

Saturday night was the big party and awards ceremony. The food and company were very good. As can be expected there was just a bit of boat talk. 

I scored this awesome t-shirt.

Saturday evening off The Barnacle dock. 

Heading out Sunday on the mail run and raft-up.

Michael Burwell sailed with us for the day.

Alyn Pruett's Effortless anchored then the two Egrets rafted up. It was a rather rough raft-up and others, probably wisely, decided to continue sailing.

It was fun making new friends at the raft-up. The chop forced constant fender minding but it was worth it.

The mail run party.

The chief instigators. All we know is they put on a good party and liked our rum. Our kind of folks.

Conditions were ideal to launch kite-cam. Unfortunately, the old, trusty GoPro had other ideas and started malfunctioning. I took a ton of video of the Egrets sailing but the exposure is totally blown out. Will try to salvage some of the footage. 

Launching kite-cam. Can't believe the GoPro chose this time to die. Looks like 1970s print film. Arghh!

Sunday afternoon, we dropped Michael off at The Barnacle, said our goodbyes and sailed back to the mooring. We cleaned up at the sailing club and headed into town for another excellent dinner. 

After dinner I played with some night exposures.

Monday morning after another great night's sleep.

Kristi found a nice spot to do some work while I went off on a trailer tire buying spree. One of the tires developed a blister on the way from St. Pete. I did not want to use the spare and have no spare for the trip back so I took the wheel to a nearby tire shop and had the tire replaced. 

Cruising is said to be mostly boat maintenance in exotic locations. Trailering boats is similar if somewhat less exotic.