Monday, May 14, 2018

May 2018: From Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach

Fri, 11-May….to Old Port Cove For Scheduled Maintenance

We had excellent weather and sea forecasts for Friday, 11-May and the morning sun and light breeze seemed to support that, so by 1000 we had departed the dock at Pier 66 Marina and were back underway.  We exited the Port Everglades channel in light traffic and pointed Ghost Rider north, paralleling the Florida coastline about a mile offshore.
Southeast Florida Departing Fort Lauderdale....but the Entire Coastline
Pretty Much Looks the Same All the Way to Palm Beach

Temperatures hovered in the upper 70’s with a northeast breeze around 10 knots, making the humidity quite tolerable.  Sea conditions were nearly ideal – a light wind chop on top of a small swell at pleasant intervals, so the ride was excellent. Those conditions brought out quite a few other boats, especially the local fishermen along the numerous fish havens located in this area, but only occasional evasive action was required. We handled the helm from the perch on the fly bridge the entire day, averaging about 8 knots of ground speed.

At 1530 we entered the Lake Worth Inlet in calm waters, joined the ICW and followed it five miles north, arriving at Old Port Cover Marina in North Palm Beach at 1605. Rick pulled Ghost Rider bow first into her assigned slip, where she would be staying for about the next month for her annual service call at Yacht Tech.  For an idea of what that consists of, see our summarized punch lists below.

As predicted, the weather went to hell in a hurry shortly after arrival.  A combination of an upper level trof, a Bahamian high pressure center, and a developing low in the eastern Gulf of Mexico quickly led to a massive area of precipitation that smothered the Florida peninsula and most of the western Bahamas in squalls.  So while we had to cut our Bahama cruise short by a few days, we were content that we had made a good decision to return when we did.
Ghost Rider Tucked Back into OPC Marina....if the Shot Looks Familiar,
It Should....We're in the Exact Same Slip as Last Time

Thus concludes our Bahamas adventure for this year.  We covered 527 nautical miles in the 34 days since we had departed OPC back on 08-April, consuming approximately 420 gallons of diesel fuel along the way (still leaving 900 gallons in the tanks....with the generator accounting for a good portion of the fuel burn.)  From Grand Bahama, through the Abacos, the Berrys and Bimini we visited 12 different islands, including 11 anchorages and 4 marina stops.  Overall it was an excellent experience and enjoyable journey, making for a very thorough shakedown cruise, and helping us get to know our Nordhavn that much better.  Weather challenges intervened a bit too often for our tastes, but we still made the most of the opportunities we had along the way.  And we will likely return next year – at some point we want to visit Eleuthera, The Exumas and Andros.
There is a Lot More to See in the Bahamas....Hopefully Next Year

We also gained more insights into proper provisioning for food and supplies as well as spare parts.  Chelle did a fabulous job stocking the boat and galley with all our food and drink needs, and usually found the expected local opportunities along the way to replenish certain fresh foods.  Mechanical spares and fluids were over-stocked in most cases (no worries, they eventually will get used), the main exception being some repair parts for the Racor water separator fuel filters.  Towards the end we did run short of fruit juices needed for the Goombay Ghosts, but who could have predicted that new development?

The boat itself did very well.  From the mechanical propulsion and electrical generation perspectives it was nearly perfect.  The “boat business” issues we did encounter were relatively minor and certainly did not impact the journey or the schedule.

Boat Business: The Punch List

Nevertheless, after a long cruise, the vast majority of it in areas with little or no boat services available, it’s typical to develop a list of things that require attention – some by experienced pros, others that we can attack ourselves; some qualify as routine or scheduled, others as repairs. 
Rick Placed Aluminum Baking Pans Under the Main Engine's Oil Pan
to Measure Loss Rate and Cut Down on Absorbent Pad Use

Our list for the pros includes: address main engine oil pan leak (again…warranty item); replacing the wing engine transmission’s torsion coupling (old age); repitching the main prop so we can attain the rated RPM at WOT (on the list since we bought the boat); replacing the main shaft’s cutless bearing (old age); bottom paint and zincs (a below the water line bi-annual event); coolant flush and valve adjustment for the generator (every 600 hours); and install a new sonar unit for the dinghy (the old one is dead).

The list for ourselves includes:  restocking some spare parts and supplies – filters, light bulbs, shop towels, engine oil, that sort of stuff; ditto for re-provisioning the galley; remove, clean and reinstall the generator’s starter/solenoid cables (previously tightened when the genset wouldn’t start, just a precaution); take an oil analysis sample from the generator (a good periodic practice to be sure the engine internals don’t have developing issues); remove & replace the generator’s water pump impeller (another periodic maintenance task); change the oil on the wing engine (done annually); seal a rain water leak in the radar arch (an old cable hole requires re-caulking); repair a fraying ground wire on the wind instrument in the pilot house (new discovery); replace the leaking Racor filter water drain (and get at least one spare to carry, we don’t like fuel leaks); replace or repair the clam shell seals in the toilets (old age).
A Large Baggie Over the Search Light Seems to Have Halted Its Rain
Water Leak....Not Elegant, but Effective.  Poor Housing Design.

We’ll be able to attack some of these items in the coming week before we leave Florida for some dirt-dwelling time with family.  But we won’t be able to get the boat hauled out for paint and prop work until the end of May – apparently it’s a busy time of year for the local boatyards – so that’s why we’ll have the boat here for close to a month before we sortie again.

In the meantime we are looking forward to spending some time with Chelle’s family in Oklahoma City for our nephew’s graduation; followed by Rick’s family in the Lake of the Ozarks for some inland boating with the kids and grandkids, and then in St. Louis for more family time and an annual charity event.  When we return to the boat in early June we’ll have an update on all the boat business action items, along with a better idea as to when we’ll be departing for our east coast cruising this year.