On Sunday the 28th, we were to meet up with Larry and his some Mike at the boat and get her hauled and rigged for the road. We agreed on 10am as the trailer was not going to be ready until between 10am and 11am. Stu and I got there about 9:45am. I walked around and looked at some boats, some very neglected which is always a sad sight, saw a Manatee, some pelicans, and some nesting cranes. Larry showed up promptly at 10am and we got on the boat to motor over to the ramp. We motored around in the fairways for a while looking at birds and just talking about sailing. After about 30 minutes, we ran out of gas….. The wind blew us over to a private dock that had seen better days but, I had the boat hook in my hand and fended us off and we nudged in gently. Stu held the boat to the dock and I grabbed the gas tank and walked the half a block to my truck and then drove a couple more to the gas station where I put in about 4 gallons. Make sure right?
So after the gas fiasco, Larry called his son Mike as it had been over an hour since he said he was on his way from the trailer shop. New wheels and tires, bearing buddies, and new lights on the trailer at no additional cost to me. He said “Where are you?” Mike replied “At the boat ramp, where are you?” To which Larry replied “No you aren’t, we are there and you are not.” So after a little more chit chat and ooopps, Mike went to the wrong boat ramp… So about 40 minutes later he arrived with the trailer. All looked OK, except for a fleeting moment I thought the tires were a little under. All told, about an hour and a half delay....
It took about 5 attempts with the boat and trailer to get the boat floated on as close to center as we could get it. It was getting pretty hot too, Florida sun and 80+ degrees….. So after we got the boat on the trailer finally, Mike took to setting the bunks and getting things tight on the trailer. After that, we started undoing the forestay and the baby-stay. We had the jib halyard attached to the trailer winch so we could get things disconnected as need be. After that, we had Stu, all 6’3 and 300# of him, in the cockpit and Larry and I on each side of the mast. Mike began to unwind the winch and the mast started to come down slowly. Just like we wanted. We did have a few “oh hell” moments dropping the mast but, we kept her straight, sorta, and Stu kinda caught the mast the last couple of inches it came down. But, nothing broke!
After the mast was down and I had it secured at the bow, Mike basically said “Go to Harbor Freight, get some straps and strap here and here and have a nice trip home.” By this time I had come to the realization that we were going to be in Florida another night. It was already after 2pm and I was tired, Stu was tired and we both were disappointed about spending another night and not heading towards home. But, in the grand scheme of things, it was the best move.
So between going back to the hotel to re-book a room, going to Harbor Freight, then towing the boat back to the hotel, I think we crossed the Manatee River 6 or more times that day…. I also had to hook up the ground wire for the trailer lights as it was just hanging there. This trailer was just worked on by a trailer maintenance shop right?
So we got back to the hotel, got back in to a room, then walked over to the Oyster bar again for dinner. Plan is to be on the road by 7am to get to Dalton Georgia for the night. 576 miles away, 12 ours probably on the road. The forecast… fog and rain… YEAH!!
So we got up on time, had something, no idea what now, to eat quick and we headed out in to the ¼ to ½ mile visibility fog. It also decided to rain a bit about an hour in to our journey. The run through Florida was un-eventful save the rain and fog that eventually burned off. We got in to Georgia and were feeling pretty good about things so far. I was doing about 55mph comfortably, over that and she wanted to dance a little back there. We got about midway in to Georgia, around Cordele, and I noticed that the boat was moving a lot more than it should over the bumps and what not. I told Stu it looked like we had a problem and as luck would have it, the exit we took had a Home Depot right there. So we parked in the lot and I headed in for a set of adjustable wrenches as I saw right away the right rear bunk was loose from the boat. We spent some time messing with that and got it tightened up. Every time we stopped for gas, every 120-150 miles, I would check it and Stu would wrench it tight again. Yes, he is a bit stronger than his old man…..
Night began to fall as I soon realized this was going to be a bit longer of a drive than initially thought. Oh joy, back in Atlanta traffic! At Night! With a trailer you are no longer sure about!! Weeeee!!!! In the middle lane and getting passed on both sides by those bat-shit crazy drivers again. Was pretty white knuckle there but, we made it through and finally got to Dalton 14 hours after we left Florida. Yeah, a bit tired…..
The temp had dropped to a chilly 41 degrees and the wind was blowing about 10-15 so yeah, it was kinda cold. LOL
I know you are riveted to your chair reading this….. It is an amazing story so far, right?