We realized early on in the planning process that in order for us to do long passages with our toddlers on board we would need more hands on deck. The first person to come to mind for the job is my beloved sister. Not only do the kids adore her but she mostly works remotely and this type of adventure would be right up her alley.
Heather flew in from Los Angeles to join us. We decided to leave the kids with her at my parents house for a few days for us to do a coastal shakedown sail from Vero
Beach (140 nautical miles) down to Miami. Tomas and I wanted to have complete focus on the boat and learn as much as possible about how she sails without distractions.
We left Vero to head to Fort Pierce where we stayed one night. The weather report changed that morning to more moderate conditions so we decided to go for it. The first half of the sail was fine in the predicted 4-6 foot swells NOAA projected. But then we hit some squalls and the winds picked up to over 30 knots and the seas to over 10′ swells.
We got to use our foul weather gear in the rain as big swells beat us down for somewhere around 4 hours. We were far enough south in the journey that the only option was to continue down to Lake Worth as opposed to entering the Intracoastal Waterway at two other inlets prior, as they are not safe for entry in our size vessel.
We were ecstatic to pull into Lake Worth inlet safely after a long 4 hour beat down in the rain. We also took it as a big learning experience. It was good to see how well the vessel handled in those conditions and also how poorly the crew functioned in those conditions. We learned everything that was going to fall off shelves in rough seas. And we learned just how understated weather predictions can be.
The rest of the journey down was pleasant and we were able to get the kids and my sister back on board while in Fort Lauderdale. We were able to see friends and pick up spare parts we couldn’t find online.
The sail down to Miami was the first time at sea for the kids and for my sister on this vessel. Everyone fared pretty well and the rocking of the boat put all three of them to sleep for much of the trip. We made it into No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne’s state park just in time for dinner.
We spent the next few days playing and exploring around Key Biscayne. Tomas installed our new Echo Tech water maker. And worked on a leaking oil seal on the port sail drive. We borrowed a car to get in our last bit of provisions and to refuel before we set sail.
We have now been able to get in over 300 nautical miles of shakedown hours both under sail and motor on the vessel – both inland and coastal cruising. We have refreshed our skills navigating and tried to freshen up on our sailing techniques on our new vessel. We have stocked up on spare parts, serviced all the systems aboard, and stocked up on provisions. And we have run out of time to be in Florida without paying state taxes on the vessel. We also need to get this boat delivered to Puerto Rico to start working! So without hesitation, are officially ready to untie our lines and set sail on our adventure!