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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:21 pm 
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We finally sailed our TI for the first time this weekend from the marina at Flamingo, Everglades National Park. It was $3 for use of the boat ramp (we already have a National Park Pass). I bought a baseball cap in the store that cost me $15, but the sun was BRIGHT so I figured it was worth it since I had forgotten mine.

I rigged most everything on the boat (except the mirage drives) while on shore, and easily wheeled her down the boat ramp, wondering if I would have the strength to get her back up the ramp on our return. Removed the wheels and dropped the Drives in and we were pretty much ready to go.

As we were preparing to leave, some small boats were coming back home. The TI was getting more than a few looks from the curious folks. One of the sailors, seeing that we had a sail, warned "You are going to FLY out there - I hope that is your intention!". The forecast was for 10-15 knot winds and a moderate chop, and it was definitely doing that -and maybe a little more. "Good!" I said confidently, but I have to admit that with that warning I was just a wee bit scared inside! I figured if it was a problem we could just drop the sail, turn around quickly and peddle back before anything bad happened.

As we left the protected marina and turned south into the channel into Florida Bay, the wind picked up. We raised the sail and within a few seconds the GPS was registering 8MPH. The starboard ama wasn't buried, but I'm pretty dang sure we could have done that if that was our goal. Water everywhere! I had left the starboard tramp rolled up, although I'm not exactly sure why I did that. Maybe I was thinking it would be easier to get out if we had to abandon ship. :) The Tramp was just barely touching the water and causing quite a spray.

"Oh My God!" the wife yelled from the rear cockpit. "We're sinking!".

We had sailed our TI in the lake in the back yard a few times, but hadn't seen this kind of speed yet . I twisted around to take a look back, only to see water "fountaining" out of the scupper holes in front of the rear cockpit. A few reassuring words and all was well.

I didn’t want to go too far on a run – because I wanted to make sure we could make it back to the marina, so I turned out of the channel and came about. We practiced tacking/jibing and running back and forth near the shore a bunch of times.

Away from shore and out of the channel off of Flamingo there are sea grasses in very shallow waters. We did sail into these by mistake. Any other boat would have been in deep trouble here (at a sudden 1 ft depth) , but not this one! We dropped the sail, raised the rudder and the centerboard, and paddled out. At first we tried to go in the direction that we wanted to go, but very quickly found that the wind would not allow that. Instead we went with the wind and back toward the shoreline and eventually broke free of the weeds, and we were able to get under sail again. Mental note to obtain nav charts…

Then it was back to the marina, and to my absolute joy I was able to walk our TI up the boat ramp.

Mission Accomplished! There and back again, and we survived – and in what I would consider to be some more advanced conditions. Between the two of us, there was only one compliant – the wife says I “hogged” the controls and that I should have let her have them. I promised I would next weekend…

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:04 pm
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Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
I know that feeling only with the AI Solo!!! You have caught the bug and I'm sure you will have many days like that in the future!
I would get out there myself but I am waiting for a new hull to arrive as the current one has a drivewell crack and takes on quite a bit of water..

Congrats

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:54 pm 
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Location: Maui, Hawaii
Congratulations! Sounds like a good sail under your belt. Yep, once you get above 6mph it can be a very wet ride.

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http://KayakingBob.com - - - - - Hobie Island Sailing since 2006 - - - - - 2011 & 2012 Hobie AIs and a 2012 TI


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
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Location: South Florida
Congratulations! Sounds like a good first (real) sail.

I'm out of town for a couple months, but Ted Jean (TJ) and Marc Krawatsky (mkrawats) might be interested in joining you if you want company on any of your sails.

Nice job!

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:23 pm 
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Location: Texas
Glad you to hear you had a great time.
It can be a wet ride. Been meaning to buy or make a spray skirt for mine.
My wife will not ride in front till I take care of most the spray and yes it can be quite a lot as you found out.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:51 am 
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Location: Plant City, Fl.
Sounds like you had a great time. We sail Tampa Bay a lot and have only had ours up to 11MPH for a short time (gusts) once. Most of the time ours is between 3 & 7 MPH. But it sure can be a wet ride at times. Denise loves the front seat so I sail from the back. She likes to stand by the mast at slower speeds so she can see into the water better.

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The world is 70% water – So that means we should spend 70% more time sailing than mowing lawns!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:42 am 
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Location: Boynton Beach
Sounds good. You definitely need some charts to sail in that area, though you're right, it's pretty easy to get out of shallow water trouble in an Island. I'm hoping to get down to Key Largo again in the next couple of weeks with the goal of sailing out to some of the reefs. Where are you located? Mark and I could do a day trip from here, but that would be a grind.

Ted


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:53 pm 
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We are based in Kendall (Miami). Yesterday we scouted out Biscayne National Park. Entrance to the park is free. They don't allow motor boats, but they will let you launch your kayak for free (sounds like the right price to me) from Dante Fascell Visitor Center at Convoy Point. Key Biscayne is about 9 miles of open water that extends to the East (hopefully no sea-grass beds!!) before you hit Elliot key, and many more miles North and South. There are campsites on Elliot Key (only reachable by boat), and reefs for snorkling/diving a few miles more to the East.

We are thinking we'll try to use that as a base. First I'll pick a spot in the water like a mile to the east of launch on the GPS and navigate to there and back, and then keep extending that out until we feel really comfortable and have a good idea of what we can do in different conditions. Once we can safely go out 5 miles and return, we'll try to go the full distance to Elliot Key and stay there overnight and return the next day.

Once we do that, I think the sky is the limit. Explore the reefs, go camping, etc.

It's a plan anyway!

Think that will work, or is that too ambitious?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:53 pm 
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Location: Boynton Beach
If you lack experience sailing or experience with the local conditions , that's probably about right. This boat is new to me as well, but I have had it out in a variety of conditions in the last few weeks and already have a pretty good feel for it's capabilities. With the simple mechanics and the triple propulsion options, it would be hard to get into too much trouble. I've sailed it conditions that would have had me taking the sail down and motoring for safe haven in the mono-hull. You can't sink the thing, so what the heck. Carry a radio with you in case something ridicules happens (eventually it will) and carry more water than you think you need.

I love sailing in Biscayne Bay and have boat camped near Elliott Key several times. Fortunately I've never had to actually camp on Elliott - guess I will If I take the Island. In the past, we would tie off at the park until after dinner, then anchor out away from the racket. For a real treat and cultural experience, you need to sail over to Sand Key Cut (separates Elliott Key from Sand Key) to witness the goings on at the sand bar. On the weekend, about 50 or more boats anchor there with cacophony of songs blasting, horns blowing, plastic bottles drifting through the Cut, etc. But for the most part, the south end of the bay is idyllic, with low boat traffic and miles of clear water. Circumnavigating Elliott Key by going through Sand Key Cut to the ocean and back in through Caesar Creek is thoroughly enjoyable.

Can't wait for the weather to cool, except that I will be back at work (:

I plan to give Keith my work schedule in hopes that he will schedule one of his trips so I can actually make it.

Ted


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Camping in the summer in SFL can end your desire (particularly your spouse) to do any camping in FL, ever! Elliott will have some breezes, hopefully, but the heat will still be torture. And, if the wind stops the bugs will be insufferable. Camping in SFL generally starts Nov 1 or later.

If you go camping this summer, good luck.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:05 pm 
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Agreed! Definately no camping until Winter to avoid a mutiny!

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