The day started with what would become a routine. I got a cup of coffee and sat on the bow of the boat enjoying the views. As I watched other boats and the Miami Skyline it occurred to me that one of the greatest benefits of sailing is that you always get a “hotel room” with the best view in town. No other hotel in Miami had the views we had. The water inches from my feet, the warm Florida breeze, the sights of sailboats pulling their anchors ready to go…. it just could not get any better (until it did – In Boca Chica a few hours later!).
The rest of the morning routine included sitting in the saloon going over the upcoming day and discussing some sailing content (navigation, engines, electrical systems, etc). We then reviewed raising anchor procedures and we got on our way to Biscayne Bay.
Most of the day consisted of tacking and jibing drills. These are the basic ways sailboats turn when sailing towards or away from the wind. We also learned how to “Hove To”, which is a way to make the boat stop so you can take a break from sailing without taking down the sails. We did so while eating lunch.
The drills were exciting and exhausting. We did them over and over, rotating positions until the crew began to work as a well oiled machine (well kinda! sometimes we worked as if we had two left feet!). I was actually surprised at how physically tiring it was. I’m in pretty good shape but there were times when I had a hard time turning the winches!
Sailing is pretty hard work…Although this was clearly a much faster pace than we would experience when cruising in the BVIs (it would take you weeks of easy sailing to do the number of tacks and Jibes we did that afternoon) but I think this is a good representation of what racing will be like, and I liked it!
After the drills we sailed south to a small island called Boca Chica where we had our first taste of pulling into a dock under power. I confess that none of us was likely paying too much attention to the procedures because the place was stunningly beautiful. This was by far the most gorgeous place we visited. I spent the rest of the evening talking to other sailors and enjoying the beautiful sunset.