Windfall's trip to Mosquito Lagoon 56 1/2 miles
- On March 22, 2011, I took Windfall on her first overnight trip from her new base in Daytona Beach, Florida. My wife's vacation was over and she had flown home to Michigan the day before. In order to take advantage of the out going tide, I departed at 3:10 AM. The other choice was 3 PM and that didn't fit with my plan. In minutes I had the main and genny set and the outboard shut down and tipped up. A soft warm wind blew from the S.W. and with the ballast tank empty, the boat made good time reaching south the 4 1/2 miles to the high level Dunlawton Bridge. The moon was up and that helped. On the way, I called the drawbridge tender behind me on the VHS for a radio check on low power (channel 9). The radio work fine. I would need it later. Pass the big bridge the wind quit so I dropped sail and motored south on the ICW, the tide helping me more now. It was still very dark when I arrived at an anchorage called Rockhouse Creek, a 25 acre "cove" just off the channel between two desert like spoils islands. Not surprisingly there were two 40 foot sailboats anchored there overnight. I anchored and watched the sun come up while waiting for the tide to change. Both boats were northbound having wintered in points south. Now it was dead calm so I proceeded under power using the radio to request the bascule bridge at New Smyrna Beach open for me. From there to Mosquito Lagoon is 14 miles all of which is a minimum wake, nearly straight channel, mostly developed on the west side. By late morning Windfall was out on the broad expanse of the lagoon sailing in a nice south wind. Beyond the far end of the waterway the Space Center was visible on the horizon. After a pleasant sail on the lagoon, I turned back north into the ICW but with the out going tide and the light following wind, I couldn't sail fast enough to get to the anchorage in time to go ashore and explore before dark. So again I dropped sail and cranked up the "iron wind". I seen a manatee and many dolphins on the way back up to the drawbridge. Arriving back at Rockhouse Creek around 5 pm, I motor right into shore, dropping a stern anchor 80 feet out and getting off and placing the bow anchor right on the beach. A guy on a trawler there said it looked like I had been there before. I said "yes, I was here this morning". I explored a small part of the island were it was sandy and cacti were growing wild. After dinner aboard, I went ashore again until dark when I was attacked by hordes of "no-see-ums" (tiny biting flies). This was new to me too and I have no screens for the cabin, not that it would have kept them out anyway. They were a minor torment all night and in the morning nearly a thousand of their corpses litter the deck.
It had been clear for days but at dawn, fog formed and visibility dropped to about 100 yards. If I were going to go out on the Atlantic this would have been the time (low tide) but the swell was still running 4 foot, I was burnt, bitten and sleep deprived and decided to try the ocean on a better day. By noon the boat was in her slip. She had been out 33 hours and have gone 56 1/2 miles, about 1/4 under sail. She used up one of her two 6 gallon fuel tanks. Not bad.
I am back in Michigan now but hope to be down there sailing her in a few weeks. Capt. Randy