18nov2023 The autopilot is my best friend today

Technically it’s an autohelm but it’s been steering ever since I left Newfound Harbor at 7am. With the solar panel, it there is no draw on the batteries on a sunny day like today.

The yellow line is the track sailed from Newfound Harbor in the Lower Keys to Matacumbe Bight in the Upper Keys

Sailing from Newfound Harbor at the crack of dawn this morning hoping to make it to Islamorada. Once undersay, I felt I’m going to make it. Wind was about 10 knots early in the day, pushing the boat along at about 3 to 4 knots. The wind picked up quickly, with the boat sailing along at five to six knots. Sailing in the lee of the keys, the ocean was not too rough. Along the 7 Mile Bridge it was more choppy cuz the bridge does not block the wind and chop from Florida Bay. After the 7 Mile Bridge adjacent to Key Vaca (Marathon) the wind will dropped a little and the water a little calmer – a lot calmer actually.

Good wind from the north today. That works out well heading east for a beam reach. The wind picked up as the day wore on, so I had to reduce sail. The main sail was reefed and foresail furled gradually, and the boat was able to maintain 6 knots. Eventually the foresail was reduced to about 25%. The autohelm was in use all day, it’s essential for sailing single handed.

It sure was nice to get back to the dock at the apartment in Islamorada! Here’s a link to some pictures at Google Photos.

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