The day has finally arrived and we wasted no time as everyone was up early, eager to get underway. We left Port Tarpon Marina with a full contingent of marina neighbors aboard our friends Bob and Dietland Coan’s Sea Ray to escort us out of the Anclote river.
Bob, DeeDee, Bruce & Myra escorting us down the Anclote River
(Pilots Discretion underway at 29 knots)
Once clear of the Anclote we turned south and headed down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for Venice. As it turned out, nature wasted no time providing us a spectacular preview of the the wonders that await us in our new world of cruising.
(Dolphin in our wake)
A pod of dolphins took up station on our bow wave less than an hour into our trip and the boys got a front row seat as the dolphins took turns gliding just below the surface in front of our anchor and then breaking off to jump clear of the water and trail us in our wake. We did have a brief encounter with a few afternoon thundershowers while crossing Sarasota Bay but that really only served to give us a free freshwater wash down.
The first days run was completed in 10 hours after which we dined aboard and all hands slept like logs, exhausted but full of anticipation for the journey ahead. I am putting up a screen shot of our route with this post and we will create a subcategory within our blog to archive each days travel so that you can reference each leg of our trip as your curiosity warrants. Thanks to all of you that have sent along well wishes.
Pilots’ Discretion track on day 1
The crew of the Pilots’ Discretion
Randy, Theresa, Ryan, Ronan and Patton
As this is being written we are finishing up our last minute to do list. Tomorrow is go day and we are ready both in a preparation sense and emotionally. All of the planning, prep and provisioning is done. This past week has been filled with farewells, family and friends and a mad scramble to deal with the inevitable “boat stuff”. I want to thank the guys from Pitman Yacht Services, Doug Bruce as well as James Cleveland from Cleveland Diesel for hanging in there and helping us make sure the last minute maintenance items all got taken care of.
On a personal note, the boys got to see their grandparents this weekend and we also had the pleasure of a visit from my friend and mentor, retired airline Captain John Davis ( US Airways 757 Captain).
Capt. Davis and Randy
All in all, the support from family and friends as we have gotten ready has been nothing short of amazing. I am sure some of them must think we are crazy to undertake such an ambitious trip but they have been there to help out in any way they can.
We especially would like to thank our boat neighbors at the Port Tarpon Marina, Bob and DeeDee Coan, who graciously hosted a “Bon voyage ” party for us at their home. You guys have been great and we will miss visiting with you while we are gone. There are no goodbyes associated with our voyage; only until we see you again.
Today, we ran the boat one final time to verify proper systems functioning. I was very pleased as everything worked well and we observed a top speed of 29.5 knots which indicates the hull and running gear are clean and the engines are making rated power. I have attached a screen shot of our track as depicted on our Delorme satellite tracking website so you can see what to expect as we travel on our voyage.
Our next post will be after we are underway. To say that we are all excited and looking forward to the start of our voyage is an understatement.
Pilots’ Discretion being prepped for bottom paint in the Travel Lift
With literally days to go before our departure, we still have a few open items on our list of preparations. The largest of those items is to have our boat hauled out of the water to have a new coat of bottom paint applied. The bottom paint protects the hull and running gear from barnacle buildup which in turn can have a dramatic effect on overall boat efficiency ( think 33% reduction in fuel mileage in extreme cases.) It also provides us one final opportunity to go over all of our engineering systems prior to departure so it is an effort worth the cost and labor. Yesterday morning, Theresa and I were at the marina early to get underway for Pittman Yacht Services, a dry dock facility that is equipped with a travel lift crane of suitable capacity to literally pick up our 45000 lb boat and place it on a set of blocks out of the water to facilitate our maintenance efforts.
It was a beautiful morning on the river and although the trip was brief, we enjoyed the opportunity to take Pilots’ Discretion out for a quick trip.