Onward South To Boca Raton N26 20.355 W080 04.039

Sun 11 Nov 2018 16:50

Onward South To Boca Raton    N26 20.355 W080 04.039

3rd and 4th November 2018


Haigri slipped her dock at Riviera Beach at 0815hrs and motored in good although overcast conditions back to the AICW.  Passing Lake Worth Inlet we negotiated the first two restricted bridges without incident but had to give way to a large superyacht at Flagler Bridge as not really enough room for us both to squeeze through.  Plus they asked us really nicely!


Giving way was the only answer as a bit of a tight squeeze


We then plodded on for a couple of hours until finally the wind swung to the north and Chris seized the opportunity to unfurl the genoa and we actually sailed.  This helped with speed as one problem for sailboats who traverse the AICW is that a number of the bridges between Lake Worth and Ft Lauderdale open within 15 minutes of each other.  This is great if you are a powerboat but not so great for us little sailboats so we had quite a bit of mooching about waiting for openings.  Fortunately, we weren’t in any great hurry.


An unusual bridge


Another feature of the AICW is the use of the VHF.  Back in the UK we don’t really tend to use our VHF radio as unnecessary.  Here on the AICW we have had a lot of practice albeit not quite in the RYA/MCA manner.  The phonetic alphabet was out as we were specifically asked not to use it and listening over the airways “Roger” and “copy that” seemed to be used fairly frequently a definite no go in the UK.  It also took us a little while to know what to say which in the end took the form “….. bridge this is southbound sailboat Haigri, awaiting your next opening, over”.  This was usually acknowledged by the bridge who gave the time you had to wait for the next opening plus they requested the spelling of the yacht name.  It was also good manners, when you had passed under the bridge, to thank the bridge which we did.  In the US whoever mans the radio is referred to as Captain.


A local making his/her views known!

Motoring down the waterway is a pretty long process and after 8 hours of negotiating bridges and having only reached Boca Raton we decided to stop.  There are very few places to moor up on the ICW and few marinas that take transient sailboats so we ended up anchoring in Boca Raton Lake which had sufficient depth for Haigri’s 1.8m draft.  Nightfall here in Florida comes early around 5-6pm and no sooner had we anchored when the night drew in and brought with it squalls, thunder and lightening and an awful lot of rain.  Needless to say we had little sleep that night.


At anchor in Boca Raton Lake – surrounded by high rise apartments


After a restless night we upped anchor, manually, as we found the electric windlass had stopped working.  Yet another little job to sort out!!!  Sailing seems to be a process of lurching from one repair to another despite how much maintenance has already been carried out.


Peter visiting a neighbouring yacht

Ft Lauderdale anchorage


Onward we went again down the waterway to Fort Lauderdale where we were rewarded with clear skies and warm breezes.  Again, we had no luck with marinas as there was a boat show on and the area was filled with giant superyachts (lots flying UK ensigns) so anchoring was the name of the game.  We anchored without problem but then found that there was nowhere we could land the dinghy as transients were not particularly popular hence we stayed onboard and watched all the activity going on around us.  Noisy party yachts seemed quite popular and then at 6pm presumably the boat show closed as all participants sounded their horns.  Very noisy.


A busy highway


Tomorrow we say goodbye to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and its many bridges (which, amazingly, stay open 24 hours a day) and head out to the Bahamas