Fort Lauderdale: Yacht capital of the world?
Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Thu 10 May 2007 19:36
This part of the world does not make life easy for cruisers, unless of course you happen to be a multi-multi-millionaire. Anchorages are very few and far between, and access to terra firma is extremely limited(and needs to be paid for- $6/day at a dinghy dock for Bob- our tender) as all the waterfront is privately owned. After a maximum of 24 hours at most anchorages the water police move you on, marinas seem to start at around £2/foot/night(£80 for Sarah Grace),and even once ashore in typical American fashion everything is a very long hot walk away. Motorists eye you in amazement because not only are you actually walking but also carrying shopping. Florida has not endeared itself to your cheap skate yachtie correspondent.
Fortunately, as terminal depression was setting in, I had a message from our lovely Swiss friends Rudy and Lilian (aboard Shiva).[ We met and sailed with them in 05/06 and they had pioneered the route we took this year from Venezuela, giving frequent invaluable reports and advice on the best anchorages etc along the way.] They saved the day as they tipped me off about 'Bruno's Zoo' where they were currently staying. This consists of a probably illegal row of mooring posts that line the end of his garden in Fort Lauderdale. There is space for 6 boats, a hose and an outside shower under the shade of a banana tree. At £10 per night and surrounded by friends(Jem caught us up the next day),morale rose dramatically from an all time low. We can do the final provisioning and preparations from here for the long haul home.
The affluence of this area has to be seen to be believed: Port Everglades is networked with canals which provide miles of huge waterfront houses with their own docks. We arrived on one of the busiest weekends of the year as an Air and Sea Show was going on- jet fighters roared overhead for three days producing head splitting decibels of noise. The waterway had so many motor boats cruising up and down I think the authorities should introduce obligatory indicator lights for all US craft. In true American style,huge was trumped by bigger and marinas were lined with dozens upon dozens of mega yachts while more lined the canals in front of the houses. They were all gleaming as crew busily polished and buffed already lusturous surfaces. $12 million for an average sized mega yacht, and the regular sized sports fishing boats we had seen so many of since Key West were on offer in the brokers window for $1.5 million. There were hardly any sailing yachts and Sarah Grace towing Bob through the melee drew more stares than the mega yachts( probably of sympathy).
So we are back among friends and now await favourable weather for the leg to Bermuda.