The Joys of Docking in a Tight Spot Between Two Very Expensive Yachts (BLOG)

I did not want to hit anyone, but I will admit that I had less concern for the $150K Sea Ray than the $1 million Hatteras and the $2 million Burger. Sorry, but I was thinking of my insurance agent!
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“Life is short, we should all move more slowly.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that my middle name is Murphy, especially when it comes to Murphy’s Law. As we came from Key Biscayne up to Ft. Lauderdale, the winds and seas were calm. Would it stay this way until we made our crossing? What do you think?

As we pulled into the lovely Lauderdale Yacht Club for our final provisions, Brennan, the dockmaster, was there to help us tie up. Of course, the winds were finally beginning to pick up as we approached the dock on the South Canal. Going to sea is easy; going to a dock is not! Well, as we approached the South Canal I noticed that we would be between a large Hatteras and an even larger Burger, both of which had their center console ‘dinghys’ tied up next to them, making the canal even more narrow … how nice. As I looked at the Hatteras, I noticed that she was moved back into our space by about 10’ so that her boarding ladder would fit on the dock. This, of course, made our space about 10’ shorter … again ... how nice.

ChilbergSlide

We spun Mud Puddle Rose around avoiding a Sea Ray on the other side of the canal, while keeping a close eye on the Hatteras and Burger. I did not want to hit anyone, but I will admit that I had less concern for the $150K Sea Ray than the $1 million Hatteras and the $2 million Burger. Sorry, but I was thinking of my insurance agent!

Well, due to the rearranged Hatteras, we had what looked like 49’ 6” to slide into rather than 65’. Please remember, we are a GB 49 with both a bow pulpit and swim platform! In case you don’t understand, that translates into 50 points on my blood pressure and two extra drinks once we are in the slip. The dockmaster was off our stern saying, “That’s good, right there is fine.” Well, what he could not see was that our bow pulpit was less than 6” off the Hatteras’ bow pulpit and we still had to get the bow in to the dock. I nudged her back and cleared the Hatteras by a frog’s whisker. [Please Google that for the exact dimensions!] All I know is that I could hear my heart beating and my anti-per spirant had long since given up. Susan and Brennan both said, “Well done, Captain.” I, of course, tried to look nonchalant and only asked Brennan if he could give me a smaller slip next time … how nice.

“Susan, cocktail hour has begun!”

 I love Florida, but simply can't wait for the Bahamas.

I love Florida, but simply can't wait for the Bahamas.

New friends Jim and Karen Lettko came by to help with provisioning and get a look at a cruising trawler first hand. Karen was so kind to take Susan for our final Costco run, while Jim and I went over Mud Puddle Rose top to bottom and bow to stern. We focused on a few key areas: the windlass and ground tackle for anchoring; the lazarette for storage of spare props, anchors and snorkeling gear; the flybridge to go over our Garmin GPS and Furuno backup system; dinghies and, finally, a long look in the engine room. We discussed, among other things: diesel engines, maintenance, thru hull fittings, pros & cons of watermakers, inverters, UV and charcoal filters to purify the water, and the value of a full size washer and dryer for those who do not enjoy spending the day in laundromats!

Later in the day Chris and Sally Plonsky, great cruising friends and clients, joined us for two delightful days. They too, like the Lettkos, were so kind to help us provision. Trips for our final Publix and liquor store runs as well as the Annual Dania Beach Marine Flea Market were a life saver. Thanks again to Jim, Karen, Chris and Sally!

Finally, Buzz Smith, a childhood boating friend and member of the Lauderdale Yacht Club, dropped off a spare water pump for us that I had ordered. Spare parts that are tough to get in the Bahamas are vital to provisioning. One cannot bring an entire “spare boat”, but we do try to bring as much as we can afford and fit aboard! Now all that was necessary was to fill the gas tanks for the dinghy, top off the water tanks and have the barge come by to top off our diesel fuel. We prefer a tanker or barge for our diesel, when we can get that service, for two important reasons. First, it is less expensive and secondly, it is fresh and super clean. Finally we were ready to depart, but the wind had swung around to the Northeast making the Gulf Stream dangerous and impassable … how nice.

Stay tuned for our departure. We love Florida, but nothing is like the Bahamas!

Next stop: idyllic anchorages from past voyages like this one in The Exumas certainly makes all the getting-there-stress worth it.

Next stop: idyllic anchorages from past voyages like this one in The Exumas certainly makes all the getting-there-stress worth it.

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