Day 4 of my Florida Keys sailing trip was at TRIP. Time to head home – the wind forecast was east to southeast. Hoping for an early switch to SE wind, I left the Scouts Sea Base and went through Channel 5, between Lower Matacumbe and Long Keys. The bridge is 65′ high, easy access to the Atlantic Ocean and Hawk Channel which is somewhat protected. It’s inside the Florida Reef and the reef breaks up the ocean swells. It was calm at first, because it’s shallow but farther out from land it gets choppy. No big deal – kinda. The wind was 15+ from the east and guess what direction was needed… yup, east. 15+ on the nose is tough going, the sails are useless at that point. My little inboard diesel is 14 horsepower pushing a 6 ton boat, it was working hard to make 3 knots. With no wind and waves, the engine can push the boat at hull speed, about 6 knots but not headed into the wind and waves. Boo Hoo
The wind was to clock around to the southeast, but that didn’t happen yet. And as one follows Hawk Channel, it curves around and eventually turns north. With that in mind, I slogged on. After over an hour in the slop, I gave up and turned around headed back to Channel 5 and the comfort of Florida Bay. Going with the wind and chop, it took me about 20 minutes to cover the same ground into the chop in well over an hour! Florida Bay is on the lee side of the keys so it was a lot less choppy. The engine didn’t have to work as hard, and the sails helped as I zig-zagged through the bay and channels.
I did take some videos as well as pix, they can be seen at Google Photos