I got to the boat about 2:30pm before anyone was there. I got a chance to pick a berth (room) and walk around the boat. The boat was an Island Spirit 37 Catamaran named “About Time”. I had read about it and seen pictures online so it felt familiar. The boat was supposed to be a fast and rugged tank, perfectly suited for the type of abuse these boats receive in sailing school. That characterization was mostly correct, expect for the speed. Maybe I have been watching too many videos of Gunboat but I guess “tank” and “fast” should never be in the same sentence!
We spent the first night in the boat at the Blue Water Sailing School’s marina. The place is near many restaurants so one of the fellow students and I simply walked to a nearby Thai place located in the shopping plaza west of the marina (highly recommended). Oh there is also an amazing vegetarian restaurant down the street from the marina where I had lunch prior to coming to the boat. The place is called “Eat the Tea” and had some amazing veggie sandwiches.
In the morning before our first day of sailing we did a safety briefing and discussed the route for the day. Today was supposed to be “shake down” day for both the boat and the crew. The plan was to motor inside the Fort Lauderdale channel until we reached the entrance of Port Everglades and then take a sharp turn towards the east to enter the Atlantic ocean. The idea behind the ‘shake down’ was to test all boat features and to make sure the crew (students) didn’t have any major sea sickness or other problems that could impact our week of sailing. The sail to Miami was pretty uneventful and we got to do a few “tacks” which is a maneuver you use when sailing towards the wind. I was at the helm when we motored into Miami and it was quite amazing to lead the boat in between massive tankers and cruise ships! We finished the day practicing anchoring at a pretty anchorage in an abandoned sea stadium built to watch boat races.
Two interesting things happened that night. First we realized we had no water. Since we topped off the water tanks before we left, we either had a leak in the water tank (or a faucet was left open) or the water pressure pump had died. We joked that this was probably part of the course since diagnosing and fixing the never-ending list of things that always break in a boat is a key skill needed when you are the skipper. Luckily for us it was the water pump and we had a spare, so soon after we had water again!
Second, while sitting on the bow of the boat looking at the sailboats around I recognized a boat anchored next to us. It was SV SeaWolf, one of the many sailing couples I follow on Facebook and youtube. I sent them a message on FB and Dominick came over soon after to say hello. It’s amazing how small and close the sailing world is. Meeting other friendly sailors is one of the things I like the most about the sailing lifestyle. Here is SV Sea Wolf anchored next to us.