Our Overnight Passage to the USA

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 5/9/2021 – 5/16/2021

Good morning and happy Sunday! Here’s the link to this week’s video, I hope you like it! ☺️

Last Sunday we woke up and got ready to leave Shroud Cay. A squall blew through, so we sipped our coffees and waited it out. 

Once things cleared up, we pulled our anchor and set sail! We had about 10-12kn of wind for most of the day, so we used our main and our jib and were cruising around 6.5-7kn. 

We had to jibe a few times to get our course right, but we were able to drop anchor in Nassau that evening. It was strange to be anchored near a power plant and several larger commercial ships, it’s easy to forget that Nassau is much more developed than the southern Bahamaian islands that we spent most of our time in. 

Monday morning we began our passage back to Florida. The weather was not ideal, but if we didn’t leave then we would’ve been stuck for another week, so we took the opportunity while we had it! 

Recently, a motor yacht had a through hole fail, partially sinking the ship and setting it adrift between Nassau and the Florida coast. It’s last reported location was on our route, so we chose to motor all day to make sure we passed it before dark. 

Ray had scratched his eye the night before and I didn’t want him staring into the sun that day, so I kept watch. It was very hot, but I sat at the helm all day reapplying layers of sunscreen over layers of sweat and watching lines of sargassum float by.

Just as the sun was setting, we came up on a group of cruise ships that had been anchored out since they stopped operating back in 2020. We came across these on our passage to the Bahamas back in January too, and learned that while they’re anchored out like this they remain staffed, and the working conditions for the staff have been a bit controversial… 

We kept motoring (and occasionally motor sailing) through the night, aside from a few hours during Ray’s watch shift where we got to do some real sailing, and had 6 more hours to go once the sun rose. 

Luckily Ray’s eye was feeling much better, so we took turns keeping watch and taking naps. We arrived in Palm Beach later that afternoon. 

When we pulled into the anchorage we were surprised to see 3x the boats that we saw here last year, leaving very limited space for us to anchor. We tried to drop anchor 3 separate times, but couldn’t get a good grab. Frustrated and sleep deprived, we decided to leave and keep sailing North to Cape Canaveral. This would’ve added 20hrs to our trip, but we’d rather do that than worry about dragging into another boat in a crowded anchorage. 

We headed back out to sea, raised our sails, and began making our way North at 8kn! Things were looking up… until Ray decided to call ahead to a couple marinas in Cape Canaveral to see if anyone had a spot for us, and none of them did. 

We quickly evaluated our options- with nothing really between Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, if we decided to keep sailing North we might as well go all the way up to the Chesapeake… but that didn’t make much sense because we have reservations to haul out in Cape Canaveral in June so we’d have to turn back around anyway. Maybe we should just go South? Biscayne Bay? Miami? 

We turned around. 

Our speed dropped to 1.8kn. 

We started an engine- SOG 4.0-4.5kn.

We were going against the wind and the current. It would take us 30+ hours (and more fuel than we had) to go South. So, we pulled back into Palm Beach in hopes that a spot had miraculously opened up. 

Just as we were nearing the end of the anchorage, another sailing catamaran passed us going the opposite way- they were leaving, and we dropped anchor in their spot. Exhausted, sweaty, and starving, we jumped in the shower then dinghied to shore for some cold beer and fried food- an American classic. 🇺🇸

Wednesday morning we had a mission: find a place to dispose of the rancid bag of garbage we had been carrying around with us for weeks. I’m not sure how it could possibly smell as bad as it did since we throw all our food scraps overboard, but it was bad. We did some research and called around, and discovered the Palm Beach Sailing Club.

We took our dinghy over, disposed of our trash, and chatted with the girl in the front office. She said we could ship packages to the club, get groceries delivered- whatever we needed- so we paid for a two day pass and organized a grocery order. 🙏🏼

That night we were woken up by our anchor alarm around 11pm. We went upstairs to check things out and sure enough, we (and several boats around us) were dragging. It was pouring rain, so we waited, hoping our anchor would re-grab. It did, but we were a little too close to our neighbor so once the rain let up we pulled up and reset farther away. Luckily we had no trouble getting our anchor to grab that time, so we went back inside and kept watch for a while before heading back to bed. 

The next morning we were keen to leave. The anchorage in Palm Beach was just too crowded for us, and the wind and current always seemed to disagree, leaving us spinning in circles all day and putting us at risk of dragging and after last night, we were not convinced it was a good spot for us to wait until our haul out reservation in June. We decided to head to Miami.

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. So, we picked up our groceries, brought our laundry to shore, and checked out a few other restaurants around town. It’s looking like we can leave here early next week, so we’re just sort of killing time until then. It’s definitely nice to be back in a place with Ubers and restaurants and shops, but we’re not comfortable leaving the boat for long enough to really enjoy or explore the area, so we’re looking forward to getting to a more comfortable spot soon!

I hope you had a good week. ❤️

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