What We Learned While Sailing [...]
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Owner: Harbors Unknown

What We Learned While Sailing Key West on Our Seawind 1600 Catamaran | Harbors Unknown Ep. 10


Location: Key West
Latitude: 24.56000000
Longitude: -81.78000000
Published: 18 Dec 2020

What We Learned While #SailingKeyWest | Harbors Unknown Ep. 10

If you haven't seen our performance in light wind video, check it out here.
https://youtu.be/FH-5X-eXv4Y or watch the sailing playlist here
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCwNmkqXr8562e564Xf2Ih6i-VSvG9POu .

After last week’s friendly race #sailing in #KeyWest we headed to #WesternSamboReef, off of the Boca Chica Naval Air Station and picked up a mooring to snorkel a bit. The Western Sambo Ecological Reserve contains the greatest habitat diversity in the Lower Keys so I was excited to check it out. Unfortunately the water was a bit choppy and there was quite a strong current so I stayed super close to the boat.

A rectangular nine-square nautical mile area, Western Sambo Ecological Reserve begins at the water's edge off the sandy beaches and salt ponds of Boca Chica Naval Air Station. It continues through nearshore hard bottom and inshore patch reefs, out across mid-channel reefs in Hawk Channel, over offshore patch reefs and the shallow bank reef, and ends at a depth of 60 feet.

Anemones, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, sand dollars, and sea urchins are found nearshore. Surgeonfish, bar jacks, four eye butterflyfish, rosy blennies, neon gobies, grunts, wrasses, angelfish, damselfish, striped parrotfish, butter hamlets, sharp nosed puffers, and schoolmasters are residents at the reef. Huge gray angelfish and hogfish meander the shallow areas of Western Sambo.

The biggest fish I saw was a barracuda who was eyeing me. I think the sparkly front screen of the GoPro was attracting his attention. Luckily he stayed away.

The next morning I was invited to go for a short flight in a small 5-seater Cirrus plane over Key West to enjoy the beautiful view. It was my first time in such a small plane but I was excited to see the water from the air.

It’s incredible to see the Western Sambo reef from the air. There is so much more to explore than what we visited. I hope to come back one day.

We flew over Ballast Key, a private island located just 9 miles to the south of Florida’s Key West region. This jewel of an island forms the southernmost point of land in the United States. Ballast Key is the only private island within the Key West National Wildlife Reserve.

Home to a decadent main house, a charming guest house, beaches galore and mile upon mile of unspoiled wildlife, this tranquil, 26 acre private island has something of a celebrity past; hosting a veritable who’s who of the American cultural and literary scene and even featuring within 1989’s popular James Bond venture, License to Kill.

Before we knew it our flight was over. But the memory will last a lifetime.

We headed back to the #StockIslandMarina, where the boat was docked for the week. It’s the largest deep water marina in all of the #FloridaKeys, and is more than just a place to dock your boat. It’s a 40 plus acre community, adjacent to the #PerryHotelKeyWest complete with a pool, gym, laundry facilities, bars + restaurants. There are many liveaboard residents in the marina, many of whom use their parking spot to create a front patio. It is soo cute!

In a few week’s we’ll share our sail back to Fort Lauderdale but let’s just say it started off quite interesting.

For now, we'll share some of the things we learned while #sailinginKeyWest. Probably the most useful thing we learned was how to use the preventer when sailing downwind. It's the first time we've had a boat without a traveler so there are some nuances to get used to with the sheet system. Once we figured out the preventer it's quite easy and we used it a lot.

We realized that we'd like to change the hook on the anchor bridle. It falls off the bridle every time even when everything is aligned and perfect for anchoring.

We learned the daggerboards are near impossible to raise or lower while under way. You either need to raise or lower them before setting sail or turn into the wind to release pressure on the daggerboards.

Next we realized the screecher is very difficult to furl on a port tack. The sheet and furler are on the starboard side. The sheet is typically on the winch so the furler needs to be pulled by hand which is really difficult. We're researching a solution to this challenge.

Finally, a viewer asked about slapping and was concerned slapping would be an issue with the #Seawind1600. We measured the distance from the bridge deck to the water line and the nacelle to the water line and both are within the standard recommendation for a 52' #catamaran.

00:00-00:41 Intro
00:42-04:12 Snorkeling Western Sambo Reef
04:13-06:05 Flying Over Key West
06:06-06:32 Stock Island Marina
06:34-06:45 Preview of Sailing Key West to FT. Lauderdale
06:46-07:57 Using the Preventer
07:58-08:43 Anchor Bridle Hook
08:44-09:54 Furling the Screecher
09:55-10:48 Daggerboards
10:49-15:08 Bridge Deck Clearance + Slapping
15:09-16:39 Closing

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