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 Post subject: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 2:55 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Posts: 824
Location: atlanta, georgia
Another memorable trip to the Florida Keys:
Sorry, I only have one pic, I really suck and kept the phone deep away from the elements.
http://i1090.photobucket.com/albums/i36 ... ailing.jpg

Spent 9 days and 8 nights, half in the Backcountry (uninhabited Keys, one in the Atlantic and 3 in the Gulf) and the other 4 nights in relative luxury of campsites and 1 hotel.

The last time I did this trip was in October, 2010. Although I stayed in many of the same places the two trips were entirely different. In 2010 I had fair winds and an entire week of sunshine. This year, in the same rig, I had ridiculous winds, big rolling waves, and rain every night and day. I was in the quattro with the Kayaksailer rig.

If you are looking for sandy beaches and umbrella drinks go to Miami. If you want mangrove islands, rocky shores, and huge weather then the Keys is it, especially in the fall. It is serene but not desolate, there are pleasure and fishing boats everywhere.

I started my trip from Pennekamp State Park, which is a busy tent/RV park on Key Largo. I stayed there two nights to make sure I had time to get everything set up right for the trip. The night before I launched we got almost 3 inches of rain. Yes, I got wet.

After a slow start the next morning I missed the tide getting out of Key Largo Lagoon and Sound, so I spent two hours paddling against a challenging current without the help of much wind, as the cuts are fairly narrow and don’t allow much fetch. But as soon as I made the Atlantic I was in for a crazy sail, one that would be repeated every day thereafter. With the wind blowing at 20 and gusting to 30 I had no trouble making 22 miles that day and averaging 16 for the rest of the trip.

The wind was constant E-NE and the archipelago runs W-SW so, except for when I was moving between the Atlantic and the Gulf through cuts and bridges, I had a tailwind most of the time.

On that first day I almost lost it on three occasions, and not because of gusts but because of quartering/following seas that would push me hard to port. That would put me broadside to the waves and into a quartering/following wind. For a couple of hours I was bracing and using my paddle to rudder every 10 seconds or so. It was a little scary and completely exhausting. I took that pic titled Running in the Florida Keys early in the day before the wind picked up. Later I was way too busy to think about pics!

Dennis suggested a sea anchor? I did not have one nor did I have experience, and I got used to bracing and paddle steering. I reefed when on a reach and felt very comfortable even in the big winds, as I was generally traveling directly into or away from the wave action.

I am looking forward to another trip, maybe next fall, before I get too old!

_________________
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1990 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
36' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor


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 Post subject: Re: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:35 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: South Salem, NY
I think that sounds like it was and excellent trip Greg. Adventurous and nice and long. So cool.

The following, and quartering seas sound like a real challenge and I can only imagine how exhausting that must have been. I'm guessing the sail was riding on the port side as well?

I think a sea anchor or simple drogue would have helped slow the boat down a little when you crested waves and found yourself sliding into the troughs. For boats our size I believe you could have just trailed a substantial length of line to accomplish this. I tried to imagine the situation and thought about the gear I carry on board. My first thought was to drag my canvas bucket somewhere between 30-50 feet behind the boat. But then I thought that might have been too much drag. Not only that, but a heavy load on the boat... and where do you tie it so that it doesn't cause a broach if you got too sideways going down a wave? Nix the bucket. So I think simply dragging a line would have done it. 50, 60, maybe 70 feet? It would certainly slow forward progress and it would be easily adjustable once you decided where to tie it off. I have a trolley system so I would have used the carabiner loop as a guide and sentd it to the stern of the boat. Keeping the balance of the line in the cockpit you could increase or decrease the drag by simply letting line out or pulling it in. The nice thing about only having line out is that it is unlikely to snag on anything. If you found line alone wasn't enough drag you could pull it in and tie something to it.

The drag line, drogue or sea anchor may have made it less stressful, but you made it without and made some serious distances as well. That's a lot of great sea time.

How did everything hold up? Any new insights?

Congrats again on what sounds like a great trip. But geez Greg, will you buy yourself a waterproof camera already! :P

d

_________________
Klepper Aerius II
Klepper T9
Long Haul MK1 Expedition 'light'
Klepper S4 sail rig
Kayaksailor 1.6 +genoa
BSD 36HP


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 Post subject: Re: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:23 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Posts: 824
Location: atlanta, georgia
Sorry for the lack of pics, I just don't do that. Ironically, I had some friends offer to buy me a go-pro for the trip, I just was not interested. And the main sail was mostly starboard, the jib was on wing port on my runs.
I learned a lot on this trip.

If you don’t mind me getting a little Zen here, I reflect on an experience almost 40 years ago. When my wife and I left grad school we skipped graduation ceremony (much to her parents chagrin), and spent a rain soaked week on the Delaware river. She was good natured and naive about what to expect.
We canoe camped for 6 nights on the islands that allow refuge for through-campers on the river. It rained every day and night, and I prided myself on having a hot fire and a dry bed every night. For anyone looking for a river canoe experience I highly recommend it, just don’t think about doing the trip in a folder. Rent a canoe and give it back, dents and all, and you will be better off.
Now, here is the Zen.
40 years ago we relied on wood fire, tarps, ponchos, shad, bass, and trout for our comfort and sustenance. Our only technology was an aged coleman lantern that needed an explosive match ignition to get it going. All of our cooking was done with a cast iron skillet or a grill over the fire.
For this trip, I relied completely on technology. The Kayaksailor rig performed flawlessly, despite the huge stress I put on her. I was prepared with a full set of backup rigging and sheets, and did not need any. I would not hesitate to have another go with this rig as-is. I did use SailKote every night…without which the mast cart would bind. And a carbon fiber, kevlar/tpu kayak…really? I relied on my MSR camp stove to have hot meals, even in the rain, and I only used 2 propane canisters in the entire trip. Boiling water for coffee in the French press in less than a minute. Lunches were made underway with either foil packed tuna or peanut butter on pita bread. I never put the tarp up, I actually only anticipated needing it for shade…not needed! My headgear was completely worthless, I had an SPF hat with neck guard, but what I really needed was an expedition hat, like the one DoiNomazi and his wife sport. My best friends were my waterproof headlamp and my iPad reader. My Garmin let me know where I was from a relative and absolute perspective, and it estimated my time to each destination. I was in touch with USCG at all times, although I never needed to connect with them except for a radio check (it was interesting to monitor channel 16 and learn of the interdiction of the raft of refugees). Go figure.

So, 40 years, a lot changes.

g

_________________
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1990 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
36' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor


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 Post subject: Re: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:19 pm 
forum fanatic

Joined: Thu May 30, 2013 2:00 am
Posts: 60
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Greg,
Yep, the same kind of 40 year old memories for me too, with the same high tech gear now. And your Florida conditions so similar to here in Brisbane, Australia. Same latitude, mangroves, etc. And sometimes too much wind, and sometimes too much rain.
Sailors do say that sailing downwind is the most dangerous point of sailing. I've learned the hard way to reef early to slow down and even then I'm nervously waiting for a broach. I also tilt my BSD leeboard way back to act like a kayak or surfboard skeg, which I think must help. I know you can't do that with your leeboards, but anyway you can get more boat in the water farther aft will help. I also lean back as far as I can if/when the boat starts to surf on a wave. And if you know you are going to be sailing downwind, load the boat heavy aft and light forward.
There don't seem to be many of us doing multi day sailing/paddling trips, and I'm only doing a couple each year. Do you think there others who do more but aren't writing about it here? I suppose they would be using hard shell kayaks, which would explain it. And there are those too busy doing it to write about it. Don't know how Doi finds the time to do all they do and produce the films, but thanks guys. We are such a small clique in our folders.
And thanks Greg for your report. And we mustn't let Dennis cause us to feel guilty for not posting the excellent photo records which he does so well.
Roberto

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2013 Longhaul Mark II Quattro with BSD schooner rig and outriggers. Packraft
Incept K40S


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 Post subject: Re: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:56 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: South Salem, NY
For the record I'm very envious of you guys and these trips you do. Perhaps one day I'll have the time... meanwhile I live vicariously through your adventures and tiny little day sails...

d

_________________
Klepper Aerius II
Klepper T9
Long Haul MK1 Expedition 'light'
Klepper S4 sail rig
Kayaksailor 1.6 +genoa
BSD 36HP


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 Post subject: Re: Florida Keys again
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:17 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Posts: 824
Location: atlanta, georgia
Yep, very lucky to be able to take these trips.
I know this is a small community, but it has been invaluable to me. I really appreciate Michael's efforts that make it possible.
I think the kayak camping community is a very small one indeed. In the few dozen nights I have spent in my tent between Alaska and Florida I have yet to run into a single other paddler. Compare that with the kayak traffic on the Chattahoochee River where I live, there are days that I see hundreds of kayaks floating past.
I appreciate the advice on sailing downwind, that all makes sense.

Best,
g

_________________
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1990 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
36' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor


Top
 Profile  
 
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