24 41.73 N 081 07.21 W
Well, it really did blow up to 35 knots last night. We had a very fast ride. One could say thrilling. I'll even confess to a degree of anxiety at times.
Just before sunset, a second front (warm front?) passed. One could see a sharp line pass over with absolutely cloudy weather in front of the line and absolutely clear sky behind it. The clear sky made for exceptionally beautiful star gazing last night. It also caused the low temperatures. I know Libby suffers in the cold so I tried to take the brunt, 4 hours watch for me versus 2 for her. Still, even I was cold despite the multiple layers.
I was right about the waves. They never did get big. Never more than 2-3 feet. Despite that, for the very first time on Tarwathie. I got pooped. A rogue wave suddenly broke over the stern and dumped a load of cold water down the back of my neck. After that, my clothes were wet and I was even colder.
At least the winds stayed moderate, nothing more than 20 knots. That is until my turn to take a nap. Then they picked up to 30 or more. Tarwathie was really flying. The highest sustained speed we saw was 9.5 knots, but the GPS recorded an instantaneous peak speed of 13.02 knots. She was also becoming increasingly hard to steer, despite the fact that we were flying the foresail only. I reefed the foresail 50% and steering became much easier. Speed decreased to 7 knots.
We depended on our GPS chart plotter to navigate among the numerous shoals along Moser Channel. If we had only paper charts, we would not have been able to do that in the dark. Despite the GPS help, our depth sounder alarm went off a dozen or so times, showing depths as low as 6 feet. That make our blood pressure rise a bit.
An hour after dawn we crossed under the 7 mile bridge and turned for the final 2 miles in to Boot Key Harbor. We made 122 miles in 22 hours. That's a very fast passage for a 32 foot boat.
Once inside the harbor entrance, only 0.5 miles from our goal, the real trouble happened. What trouble? I'll write about that tomorrow. Right now, we're anchored off the island; outside the harbor.