A restful nights sleep is an important part of an enjoyable cruise. As you can see from the picture, Shallow Minded is well suited at least in terms of space and physical comfort for spending a pleasant night aboard. A key ingredient is anchorage selection. On this trip for the most part, I have had some really good ones.
With a flat bottom boat, the chuckling of the waves against the floor is quit an amplifying experience so it pays to put as little fetch between the boat and windward land as possible. Shallow water is preferable. Lucky for me, “shallow” is her mission statement.
Eventually, it’s time to get moving, and so I do. Remember, this is my first sail! After motoring the eight miles down the St. Marks river, I deploy sail and run off toward Carrabelle with a 8-10 knot following wind. She makes about 4.5 to 5 knots more stable when I strike the mizzen and depend only on the big gaff main. Unfortunately the wind dies withing a half-hour and I am left to motor the rest of the 30 miles. The motor is magnificent. I make an easy six and one-half knots, having changed back to the factory three bladed prop. Seems the 4 bladed R7X9 1/4 takes a little too small a bite. I believe from observation that a R9 4 blade will be just about right. Oh well, next time. No complaints for sure. And the gas used is very nominal. Here we are having arrived at the bight of Dog Island at about 2:30 pm. Of course she tries to skate all around the anchor until I put up the riding sail. Wow does that make a difference! She hangs to the wind in a most magical way!
This is a beautiful Island, wild and isolated from the mainland. There are over 100 retirement homes here but only 30 some people actually live here year round
There are definitely more cars than people!
They say that cars come over from the mainland and just never go back!
The Gulf beach goes on for ever with not a person in site.
So what’s going on here? Yes, this is the premature end of the planned two month voyage. Looks like I’m going back to work for a couple of years at my old job. It’s a long story…
Here’s a small to-do list with some to-don’ts as well.
- Redo the plumbing so no more worries about leaks and add a nice big faucet
- Take less stuff!
- Build my own Bimini, smaller adjustable, about the size of the two solar panels
- Install a mizzen mast track. The current lace system gets caught on the rigging.
- Try to either re-design the main mast boom jaws or design a goose neck
- Move the vang forward. It catches on the running rigging and the life-lines.
- Redo the sole in the galley so as to improve access to the bilge.
- Change the water tanks to 19 gallons each.
Did I mention, take less stuff?
Conclusion: Shallow Minded is a very capable cruising and sailing vessel. With disciplined stowage and some improvements to the rigging, locker areas and Bimini she will carry plenty of supplies for a 3 month voyage for two. Honestly, if I get too old to handle the masts, she would make a fine river and coastal motor cruiser.
I’ll update this site with my improvements and ideas as I work through the next two years of work and boat work.
Here’s a few picture highlights of the trip.
I know, who would have thought this would be one of the high points. Three weeks and plenty to go. Never a worry or a smell from our trusty Airhead.
Yes, the Sunny inflatable kayak was also a favorite! I’m carrying a 50 lb water jug in the back.
I used it to carry my 6 gallon water tank, deploy and retrieve my stern anchor and 25 of chain. Used it as a dinghy and a fun paddling craft. It really has served me well over the years. Most of the time it is all the dinghy I need.
The solar panels ran my refrigerator and served all my electrical needs including a little transmitter time on the ham radio.