32:22.510N 64:40.340W Vero Beach Florida to Bermuda
Vero Beach, Florida to Bermuda 1-10 May 2016
May 1, Sunday
My month was up in Vero Beach and the Plan was to motor down the ICW to Fort Pierce and get a weather forecast on Monday morning and then decide whether to leave.
I turned the motor on at 8am on the main tank, and it soon stopped. I changed over to the day tank and set off. It took 4 hours to motor down to Fort Pierce and to get to the marina or the open sea I had to go through a bridge that required opening. A sport fisher, big enough to request the bridge opening, had gone through and later I heard them request another opening. The conversation went ‘man it’s rough out there’, which did nothing for my confidence.
I got to the inlet and the sea was about an hour away through the inlet and breakwater, so I went for it.
My waypoint said 240 hours, which turned out to be quite accurate, if daunting at the start.
When it was dark I did have a cruise liner next to me, which told me that my AIS was not working. I had reset the chartplotter, but don’t know what to do about the AIS, but I have the good old fashioned radar.
May 2, Monday
The Gulf Stream took me up level with Cape Canaveral before I popped out and could head East in the morning. I was close hauled, which is not fast, but going in the right direction.
The oil pressure light came on, which meant there was a fuel problem – that doesn’t make sense to me, but I just do as it says in the manual.
I changed the fuel and pre-fuel filters, which I cannot see how they were a problem as I have been using super filtered fuel. I also plumbed out the main tank, no idea why that won’t work, but it should be good as a storage tank, maybe it was an air leak.
I have a problem with diesel in the bilges, maybe the tank was leaking, I could have over-filled it, but it is such a pig to get to I haven’t looked. I also have to check the water tank overflow, because I also had water in the bilges. I cleaned up.
That evening I lost my Heiniken hat, which has been with me since Curacao 2008. I nearly went to retrieve it, but thought better of it.
May 3, Tuesday
I had been having some current with me, but this finished after lunch.
I realised that I could use Stanley, my wet vac, to clean out the bilges, brilliant.
It was tough to do anything heeling close hauled and bouncy, even washing up was a trial.
There was a storm until 5pm and I tested the motor, which was happy.
May 4, Wednesday
After the storm it was calm and then the wind moved to dead behind, which is a much more comfortable direction.
May 5, Thursday
I had been waiting for the storm cell that was coming down to the Bahamas.
This is what would have stopped me from leaving if I had waited for a forecast on Monday.
The storm did not really affect me until 6am and then it was a very worrying 4+ hours.
Even after the storm had passed, the sea was huge and I couldn’t sit in the cockpit without being thrown on the floor. It was too rough to do anything, but I was half way to Bermuda.
Steve had sent me messages from the Iridium website saying to go North, don’t continue East because it will be worse. Unfortunately I didn’t get the messages for 3 days, so I continued East and it was bad.
If a message is important we have arranged to call or send from a phone, not the website. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing.
I was very tired and so put the radar on overnight to check for shipping. I didn’t see one between when I switched the radar on that night and off again in the morning, but it made me feel safer.
May 6, Friday
Again there is the calm after the storm. I gave up trying to sail and turned the motor on 1500 RPM and with the main I could make 4 knots.
There was a small bird that landed and kept sitting with me. I let him sleep indoors, but he was dead in the morning, which was sad, but I am not equipped for bird rescue.
May 7, Saturday
There is no further diesel or water in the bilge, which should mean that it was overflow of both, although the main tank has probably leaked down to a level where it doesn’t come out any more.
An old Dutch schooner type boat passed me, the only boat I saw on the trip.
I motored from 2 to 6pm.
May 8, Sunday
I had a horrible realization at 4am, that I didn’t check out of the US. I wasn’t stopping at Bermuda if they were going to send me back because I had no exit stamp in my passport. I did check later and you don’t check out of the US, I just went along with it and didn’t have anything official to say so.
I had to motor again from 6pm and from then on the sails were an aid, rather than a transportation method.
At midnight I was sick, I can only think that is was a kidney stone, as the gall bladder went in Panama.
I still had to fill up the diesel tank.
May 9, Monday
The wind was not strong, but was on the nose, which slowed me down, my motor is not strong.
I was seriously concerned that I was not going to get into Bermuda before dark the next day.
May 10, Tuesday
The radar has stopped working, but I couldn’t fix it. So instead of sitting inside watching the radar, I was sitting outside watching for lights.
I was able to use the sails and the motor to make 5 knots, it should be possible to reach Bermuda today.
The engine keeps dying, which used to be a fuel starvation problem, but this time it is definitely the throttle. I had asked someone to look at it in Florida and they said it was fine. It is when the motor has been in use for long periods then the connection at the engine doesn’t work.
I arrived in Bermuda and had to go through the cut, which was stressful with the throttle. I had to go down, open the engine, fiddle with the connection and get back to the helm. If it had been rough or any later I was going to ask for a tow. I got to the wall, as the Customs dock was full, at 4pm, very relieved.
I moved over the the other side of the wall with the other boats and had an early night and a very good night’s sleep.