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Old 11-15-2015, 09:13 PM   #21
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Sunrise from Barber Marina.

Anyone who gets the chance to stay at Barbers, do so. The guy has an unbelievable collection of outboard motors in his ships store. The place sits on 5000 acres and the 3 mile long driveway has life size statues of dinosaurs stalking in the woods. Also, I think he has a replica of Stonehenge on the property... well it looked like Stonehenge to me. Coming back from dinner on our only night there, they had lit up the helipad, and had an SUV standing by, as someone was flying on to the property.

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Old 11-16-2015, 03:11 AM   #22
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Thank you for sharing, so we all may enjoy. Appreciated. Your boat is a beauty and proving it. Keep us posted..
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:59 AM   #23
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Great photos!

Love the pic of your boat at anchor-- it's such a nice looking vessel. You have to grin every time you see it I bet.
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:34 AM   #24
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I do smile every time I see her anchored. I've not given her a bath in two months, so that will help. I'm also closer to having all the ballast installed, and while she's still bow up, she's getting closer to level
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:46 AM   #25
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Conall's boat heading south

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Originally Posted by Conall63 View Post
I do smile every time I see her anchored. I've not given her a bath in two months, so that will help. I'm also closer to having all the ballast installed, and while she's still bow up, she's getting closer to level

Does she roll more than you would like without the ballast (don't remember the hull shape)? Do you plan to install paravanes in the future? Would be fairly easy with your skills and the steel construction I would think.
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:54 AM   #26
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I'm not sure about roll and ballast, but she does roll. She's a heavy boat, so the roll seems slow in my opinion.

When I framed her, I had the framing designed for a paravane rig, and I welded in all the reinforced framing along with the brackets for the poles. It's on the list, but pretty far down.

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Old 11-16-2015, 05:39 PM   #27
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Thanks for the guided tour Conall. Amazing.

I just keep telling myself it'll be my turn some day!
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:34 PM   #28
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This is a great post! Keep it coming as you continue your travels. Glad you like Barbers. It is a great Marina. It's where we plan to stay this winter once we leave Mississippi.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:45 AM   #29
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After a week of family Christmas duty in Ohio, all six kids the wife and myself made it down to Barber marina to get back on the boat and get her moved further east.

I'll for the last time say how much I liked Barber Marina. His collection of outboard motors along with all the high quality eclectic things he has on site such as these hand carved chairs and tables, make this a top notch facility.

The weather for us during this last week of December left little to be desired. The rain was heavy and for the most part non stop which was compounding the epic flooding seen in the mid west. It was great having all the kids together but with the weather not cooperating, this trip was not what the kids had hoped for.

Because of the weather, we elected to stay in some harbors vs anchoring out. The ages of are children are 7-21, and while I look for certain things when choosing a harbor, the kids only look for one thing, and that one thing is good Wi-Fi. I''m not shucking any parental duties, but good wi-fi does make life easier.

The larger bays I crossed, Pensacola Bay, East Bay, Choctawatchee, and West bay, all were done in unsettled weather with stout winds and small craft warnings. It was a little intimidating, but the boat did good and the motion was tolerable. My wife and smaller kids had left earlier to get home due to some work issue she had, so it was me and the college age kids who did most of this move.

The boat ran good but a couple of issues did pop up. Years ago, while I was connecting my battery switch panel, I heard a slight crack while I was torquing down the battery cable studs. I do remember at the time telling myself that "it will probably be OK". On this particular cruise, the chart plotter lost power a couple of times, and as things in the battery switch go looser, I lost power to the engine start switch. We were at Bahia Mar marina this time, and quick session with my multi meter ran down the broken switch issue I had ignored years ago. All of my electrical gear is Blue Seas, and it was a pretty easy fix to go to West Marine and buy a replacement switch to swap out of the panel without having to re wire the panel. Blue Seas has a life time warranty on that switch, and even though I was the cause of the failure, they told me to send it back and they'd get a new one headed my way.

On the last hour of our last day of running to Panama City, I did an engine room check and got a stronger than usual whiff of fuel. Looking at the engine a little closer, I found fuel leaking from an injector. It was hard to tell if it was leaking from the return side or the pressure side, but my gut tells me it's on the return side. We had been running the engine around 1800 for the last four hours to get to Panama City while still light, and with our arrival time looking good, we throttled back to 1500 and the leak subsided. Because of the new year holiday and me having to head home the next day, I'm going to have to have a mechanic look at the fuel leak while I'm back home. If the fuel leak is on the pressure side, I could risk wiping out a cylinder due to leaning it out with improper fuel delivery, or a whole list of other bad things could happen.

We'd hoped to be able to do more sight seeing on this short cruise, but because of he weather, the miles rolled by pretty quickly, and I now have the boat at Panama City Marina. Once our fuel issue is resolved, I'll start looking at the weather as this is where I'm plan to cross the bend to the West coast of Florida. I've been doing a fair amount of reading on this part of the trip, and I think I have a plan. The plan is to wait for a two or three day weather window and leave from Panama City heading towards Tarpon Spring or Clear Water for a mid morning arrival. If the weather holds good, I'll stay off shore and try to get as far south as I can before ducking in. I've been watching the weather on Passage Weather and the NOAA sight.

Cheers,

Conall
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:04 AM   #30
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Went by Barbers a few weekends back and saw your boat. Nice ride! Good luck on the rest of the trip down. Please keep us up on your progress.
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:27 PM   #31
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Thanks for the trip report Conall. Enjoy following your trip.
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:29 PM   #32
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Is your boat at Panama City Marina or St. Andrews Marina? The last photo looks like St. Andrews. Our boat is on the "permanent resident" side of the transient dock at St. Andrews. If your boat is there, I'd like to stroll by and take a gander at her. I also have a question -- I'll PM you.

And yes, the weather was pretty crappy here over the holidays -- glad you made it safely.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:03 PM   #33
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I'm at Panama City. That last pick was from St. Andrew where we hauled the dinghy from.

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Old 02-06-2016, 10:07 AM   #34
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At Panama City marina, I paid for slip rental for the month of January, and between waiting on the weather and having the weather window coincide with my wife's work schedule, it was the second last day of January before I was able to get back to the boat.

My two friends helping me with the last part of my boat move arrived at the Tampa airport, and after picking up our rental life raft in Tampa, I gathered them and we drove the six hours to Panama City. By the time we returned the rental car at the airport, grabbed some dinner, and a cab to the marina, it was close to 11:00 before we arrived at the boat.

The first day of travel was going to be a 55 mile run from Panama city to Apalachicola via the inter-coastal. While we had enough fuel on the boat to get us to Ft. Myers, the price of $1.65 per gallon at Panama City Marina was too good to pass up so we decided to pump the holding tank and pick up 100 gallons of fuel, and as usual, our planned departure time of 0700 was now a thing of the past.

The weather for the next week was going to be stellar as high pressure had settled in over the gulf, and the trip down to Apalachicola confirmed this. Arriving late in the afternoon in Apalachicola we were greeted at the dock by a friend of one of my crew who lives in Apalachicola and owns Taylor's lumber yard. Ken Fish, owner of Taylor's proceeded to show us around Apalachicola and East Point, and in doing so had me realize what a fantastic part of Florida this area is. The people are crazy friendly and the sea food is the best I've had on my travel across the northern gulf.

Because of my schedule of having to do this crossing around my wife's work schedule, I was on a tight time frame to get to Ft. Myers yacht basin. Because of this tight time frame we began our crossing journey from Apalachicola with the target of landing in Venice, Florida. In round numbers, this made for a trip of about 230 miles. In order to get to Venice with enough daylight and not knowing what kind of speed we'd make across the gulf, we left Apalachicola around 0600 in order to get to the sea buoy at east pass inlet by 0900

The weather forecasts was was for light winds and seas of 2-3' settling down to 2' or less by late afternoon. Our course line was staighg from the east pass buoy to the buoy at Tampa ship channel, then make a turn for the Venice inlet. Setting the throttle @ 1600, and watching our speed bounce between 6.8 and 7.2, we settled in for 25 hours of hand steering across the gulf. Once off shore I felt pretty comfortable that the seas were indeed 2-3', but unfortunately on our beam out of the west. The beam seas were with us for the rest of the day, and as the sun began to set, the seas shifted to more forward on starboard, but had yet to lay down to the 2' or less we were hoping for. Once the sun went down, the challenge of hand steering in the dark quickly sunk in. Because of how fatiguing it is to stare at the plotter screen and hold the boat on course, we agreed to do two hour shifts of steering. The time went by quickly and we were all able to catch some sleep, and sometime around 0300, we all agreed that the seas had indeed laid down as did the motion of the boat.

The closer we got to Tampa, the more targets we began to see on radar. A beautiful sunny Sunday morning found us following the sport fish boats as they quickly crossed the radar screen heading to their honey holes.

Arriving at the Venice inlet within about 30 minutes of our original guesstimate, I pulled back on the throttle for the first time in 30 hours. We called the dock master at Fishermans wharf marina to confirm our slip assignment. After nosing in and tying off, we sat on the front deck and had a few beers realize the first crossing.

A great dinner at the marina restaurant was all the time we'd spend at this nice facility as we left the next morning for a short 35 mile, near shore, run to Cayo Costa where we'd anchor for the night. I've been to Cayo Costa a few times, and it is for sure a must stop for any cruising in this part of Florida. Unfortunately for my friends, I did not bring my dinghy for the crossing, so we had no way to get off the boat and see the park.

Fog found us as we awoke the next morning so we had to wait a few hours before we left for Ft. Myers Yacht Basin. The trip to Ft. Myers would be on the inter coastal, and even though it was the middle of the week, the boat traffic was substantial.

I'm now at my new home port of Ft. Myers yacht basin as an annual tenant with this boat move behind me. The odometer on our Garmin plotter says we've come 2400 miles on our move south. There is a lot to digest as to what's next for the boat, but a few days of maintenance and up keep are in order as very little was needed or done on this trip.

Cheers
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:42 AM   #35
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Awesome trip! Your crew looks very salty. The pic of the dude sacked out in the chair is classic.

What happened to your auto pilot? Can't imagine hand steering on that trip. When we went from Clearwater to Panama City the AP did all the steering.

How were the 2-3' waves on the beam? That's what we had and we weeble wobbled for 30 hours.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:14 PM   #36
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Congrats on a great crossing!
When you left Apalachicola did you go out to the gulf through Government cut south of Apalach. Or head out over south of Carrabelle?
If Govt. cut how was the depth, your draft. I have been through Govt cut in my boat 4 ft draft no problems but last several years ago
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:05 PM   #37
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Hey Car dude... The guy crashed in the chair was for sure worthy of a pic with his fly catcher wide open... On that particular day we had left Venice heading to the Boca inlet with a slight swell on the nose. It was 80 degrees and the boat had a nice motion to it.

The auto pilot is still on the list of things to purchase. Having hand steered for 30 hours, I think I feel safe to say an auto pilot would have dramatically changed the trip. Hand steering was nothing but work, and having an auto pilot would have added a different dimension to the social aspect of the passage. Auto pilot has for sure moved up on the list.

2-3' on the beam was a not hateful, but made walking around the boat a little more challenging. A few strategic hand holds are needed.

Steve, we were told to not use Govt. cut, so we used East pass @ Dog Island/Carrabelle.

This being my firsts off shore passage on my home built boat, I'm very happy about how she performed. She's for sure a work in progress, and I now have a short list of must do jobs to get her to where I want her to be.

Conall
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:59 AM   #38
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Conall-

You stated that you were steering by the chartplotter, is that right? I can't imagine steering from a little triangle on the computer screen instead of the compass. Is there some advantage that you do so?

Also, where did you source those nice big dorade cowl vents?
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Old 02-07-2016, 05:58 AM   #39
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When I hand steer a long straight course, I would have the course line drawn on the chartplotter, then steer to the course by compass bearing, checking and making adjustments to stay close to the course line. I would not even think of doing that long a trip without an auto pilot though. Hats off to Conall!


We had a boat (just a guy and his wife) without an auto pilot following us on this last crossing and he was hallucinating by dawn!
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:32 AM   #40
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The vents came off of Ebay Mako. I put in some search parameters and had emails sent to me when the parameters were found. Those are six inch vents ( the size of the pipe ), and as I recall, it took a few months of watching to find them.

I was really not to clear on how we used the plotter to steer. I have a Garmin unit with a 12" screen and everything can lay over...chart/radar/sonar. I laid the course bearing with the plotter, then switched screens and used the radar screen to maintain the heading. Because everything overlays, the bearing line is on the radar screen, so to steer, we'd watch the radar heading line move, and adjust the helm to try to keep the heading line on top of the bearing line...pretty fatiguing. All needed information is also on the radar screen such as right or left distance off course , magnetic bearing, magnetic heading, speed and depth, distance to next turn, and arrival time.

When we first cleared the buoy out of the East pass, we were steering by adjusting to the course line on the plotter screen, trying to keep it straight up, and not really paying too much attention to the boat icon on the screen. For me, there's too much clutter on the plotter screen once off shore, so using just the radar screen seemed more fitting for off shore. The radar was set for 36 miles, and throughout the night we saw a couple of targets such as some shrimp boats, and a few charted towers along the course. For me it was fun seeing the targets first appear on the radar screen, then slowly get closer to where could tell, on one instance, that they were shrimp boats as we could see their lights by eye, and using the binoculars, we could see the lit up rigging.

For me being a total rookie at this type of boating,steering by using the radar screen and staying close to my course line was my primary purpose in life on this particular day. When I was steering I'd keep the boat plus or minus 50' off the course line, when bud "A" was steering, he'd keep it +/- 500' off the course line, and when bud " B" was steering, we were lucky if he'd keep it at 1/4 of a mile. When bud "B" would take over the helm, you could instantly watch the arrival time begin to fade as he had a hard time keeping things straight and the boat would zig zag. Within 1/2 an hour of bud "B" taking the helm, the arrival time might be three hours later than it should be proving that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Bud "B" was sort of taken out of the steering rotation, and although he did steer some, he had a hard time with it especially at night.

With the long deep keel and heavy duty steering system, once the seas calmed down, the helmsman could let go of the wheel for maybe 30 seconds or so with only a slight touch needed for corrections.

If I had a few more passages under my belt, I might have felt just as comfortable using the magnetic steering compass I have on the helm. The magnetic compass seemed to be off a degree or two as compared to the compass on the GPS, and that slight deviation was noted when we were under way. It's hard to say just how far off it could be, and I need to have someone who knows what they're doing look at my installation and properly swing it. I have zero experience using a steering compass to hold a course, and the more I think about it, the less fatiguing it probably would have been.

Throughout most of the crossing we were in 90' of water. We were told that crab pots could be possible up to 20 miles out as long as the water was 50' or less, so we kept that in mind when laying our course. A rhumb line from Apalachicola to Tampa fit deep enough water and good distance off shore. Once on the line from Tampa to Venice, and in sight of land, crab pots became frequent in the daylight.

The bottom line to all this is that the boat needs an auto pilot! The sad part to all this is that I already have the expensive gear installed in terms of the pump, and all I really need is the solenoid valve in one line, and the Garmin auto pilot to tap into my network port.

Conall
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