For The 4th Time
Tom and Kaye Assenmacher
1975 MK-II Yawl, #157

 Hit Counter Visits Since 4/23/2013

First Posted 4/29/2013

Page last modified: 07/25/16  

After having spent nearly 3 Months in the Abacos, the crew of SHEARWATER (Tom and Kaye) leave Man O' War Cay on Saturday, 30 March, 2013 for the US of A (FL)..  We have decided to leave SHEARWATER on the hard at Westland Marina, in Titusville, FL for the summer and fall (2013).  The long trek back to our home in the mid-Chesapeake Bay area (Kinsale, VA) via the ICW takes about 6 weeks (weather dependent), so in order to save time, we have stored SHEARWATER in Titusville.  We plan to return to SHEARWATER in November for launch, and return to the Abacos sometime in December 2013 in order to spend Christmas in the Bahamas.

Overall Chart Of SHEARWATER's Return Cruise From The Abacos (Polar View)
(The 'Green' Mark Is Located At Man O' War Cay - The 'Red' Mark Is Located At Titusville, FL)

The following is an account of our return to Florida in late March - early April, 2013.


Dropping SHEARWATER's Mooring In Eastern Harbour, Man O' War Cay
30 March, 2013

Finally broke the ties to Man O' War Cay! Left Eastern Harbout at about 10:45 this morning (30 March, 2013) on a rising tide, and sailed / motor sailed to Crab Cay, about 40 NM from Man O' War, and about half way to Great Sale Cay, from which we hope begin our Gulf Stream Crossing late tomorrow (Easter) evening, arriving in Ft. Pierce Inlet in the early afternoon on Monday morning. The weather has been good, with an easterly/southeasterly wind of about 10 - 14 kts. The crossing weather is supposed to be good, but will check the weather closely before we set out across the Gulf Stream. We are really out in the 'boonies', at Crab Cay. 5 other boats including Jan and Cam (Canadian friends) on TE AMOR.

Both of us are fine, and glad to be underway again. All the boat 'machinery' is working as advertised!

We wish all of you a happy and blessed Easter!

Anchorage At Crab Cay (Polar View) 
30 March, 2013

Anchorage At Crab Cay (Google Earth)
30 March, 2013

We made it in fine shape to Great Sale Cay, about 120 NM from Fort Pierce , FL (our landfall back to the 'Good Old US of A'!  An uneventful motor/sail leaving Crab Cay at 06:45 this morning (31 March 2013), and arriving at the anchorage at Great Sale at 14:00 .  Checked the weather, and it was a bit of a surprise as the forecast winds were a bit higher that is comfortable (for us at least), so we've decided to stay here at Great Sale for another day and a half, to let the forecast winds die down a bit.  Present plans are to leave Great Sale Cay late Tuesday afternoon (at about 1800 or so), and sail to Fort Pierce .  The first 53 miles are on the Bahama Banks (relatively shallow water and somewhat protected), which we plan to traverse Tuesday night, and cross the 60 or so miles to Ft. Pierce mostly during the daylight hours on Wednesday, arriving at the Fort Pierce sea buoy in the early afternoon on Wednesday.  We'll check into U. S. Customs (via cell phone) once we get to Fort Pierce, then proceed about 12 NM to Vero Beach (also known as 'Velcro Beach' - since one can become 'stuck' here), to arrive there in the late afternoon on Wednesday.  We'll take a mooring there for a few days, then start the process of moving 'north'.  We still may leave SHEARWATER in central Florida for the summer and fall - but nothing is 'locked in concrete'.

Anchorage At Great Sale Cay (Polar View)
31 March, 2013

Anchorage At Great Sale Cay (Google Earth)
31 March, 2013

Sunset At Great Sale Cay
Monday - 1 April, 2013

TJ Raising the Anchor At Great Sale Cay Tuesday - 2 April, 2013

Since our last update, we've been busy!  Left Great Sale Cay at 1300 on Tuesday (2 April,2013) to cross, as the weather seemed to be cooperating (wind was supposed to be calming down and coming from N to East during the evening).  

Kaye At The Helm (Actually on Autopilot) On The (calm) Bahama Banks
(Note The Nearly Calm Sea State)

The Bahama Banks were nearly flat for the first part of the crossing, but after White Sand Ridge (on the west edge of the Banks), seas were quite lumpy and rolly - Wind and waves had been forecast (Chris Parker/NOAA, Etc.) to be wind at 10-12 Kts with waves being 2-3'.   In fact, it was very 'rolly' to Ft. Pierce , FL including the first half mile of the Ft. Pierce entrance. Actual winds were closer to 15-17 kts from the NE clocking to the SE.  Seas were 4-6' but not really breaking, just large swells.  

Sunset On The Bahama Banks

Gulf Stream Crossing - Note Following (and rolly) Seas
(Actual Seas A Bit Larger Than Photo Shows) 

Got to Ft. Pierce at about 1100 (Wednesday morning), and on to Vero Beach at 1330.  Even got our own mooring (#39)! Checked in with U.S. Customs via cell phone (we are enrolled in the Local Boater Option -  LBO).  The check-in took no more than 1 minute! The 130 NM  trip from Great Sale Cay to Vero Beach took 24-1/2 hours. Needless to say, with only several very limited 'cat naps', we were both quite tired by the time we arrived in Vero Beach on Wednesday afternoon.

There were several other boats crossing yesterday, and all reported similar conditions.  We've made 8 Gulf stream crossings, and this crossing was the most uncomfortable that we've experienced.    

We experienced absolutely NO boat problems on the crossing (knock on wood!).  Other than a few canned goods rolling around in lockers, everything was secure!  All mechanicals and electricals worked as advertized.  

Vero Beach (FL) Mooring Field (Google Earth)
3- 8 April, 2013

Vero Beach (FL) Mooring Field (Polar View)
3- 8 April, 2013

 We stayed in Vero Beach for 5 days before heading further North to Titusville, FL, where we are planning on leaving SHEARWATER for the summer and fall (WESTLAND MARINA -, returning in late November for another cruise to the Abacos next winter (2013-2014).  We spend several days going through 'boat stuff', packing 'stuff' in Ziploc Bags, etc.  We always enjoy Vero Beach, and had great time visiting with other cruisers, doing a bit of shopping, visiting the beach, etc.


On Monday, 8 April, 2013, we departed our mooring at the Vero Beach City Marina at 0700 and headed 'north' again to an intermediate stop in Cocoa, FL where we spent Monday night.  Since the winds were light from the SE, we anchored in the lee of the Titusville Bridge along with 3 other boats.

Cocoa Anchorage (Polar View)


Cocoa Anchorage (Google Earth)

Other Boats (MINDEN And CANTABILE )At Anchor In Cocoa, FL

We raised anchor at 0715 and proceeded about 20 NM to Titusville, FL, arriving at about 1030 on Tuesday, 9 April, 2013.

Westland Marina In Titusville, FL (Polar View)
Tuesday, 9 April, 2013

Westland Marina In Titusville, FL (Google Earth)
Tuesday, 9 April, 2013

On arrival on Tuesday morning, we were directed to our slip at Westland (see Yellow Pin in photo above), where we prepared SHEARWATER for haul-out on Friday morning, 12 April, 2014.  During this time we did a LOT of cleaning the boat, spraying down and cleaning the entire interior with Clorox and/or white vinegar (all to keep the mold and mildew from forming in the warm and humid Fl climate)., additional sorting of 'stuff', etc., in preparation for 'Warm Weather Storage'.  
Note: Although we have owned SHEARWATER for just about 31 years, this is the first time that we have 'stored' SHEARWATER away from our dock in Kinsale, VA for any significant time, especially in the warmer months in a 'southern' environment.  Thanks to Alberg 37 IOA members (Frank and Linda Smart; Karen and Marcel Steinz; along with Lou and Jean Wayne), we used the  guidelines included on the Alberg 37 website in the Warm Climate Storage checklist.)

Friday was 'haul-out day', so early that morning we pre-positioned SHEARWATER in the haul-out slip, and 'Rick' and his Westland Marina crew soon had the boat positioned in the TravelLift for haulout.

SHEARWATER Being Hauled At Westland Marine

SHEARWATER's Bottom Being Power Washed At Westland Marine

As the above photo shows, her hull was quite clean, with only a small amount of marine growth. Although we had 'touched bottom' a few times in the previous 6 months, her paint on the keel was in pretty good shape, and will require only a small amount of touch up.

Kaye, Marcel (Steinz), and TJ Discussing A 'Finer Point'!

Our special thanks also to Karen and Marcel (Steinz) of Oakville, ON, who winter over in Cocoa Beach , FL - they are long-time friends who for years sailed their Alberg 37 Sloop SOUTHERN CROSS to the Bahamas, and stored their boat at Westland Marina.  They drove down to Titusville from Cocoa Beach to witness the hauling of SHEARWATER, and we had a delightful, but short visit with them.... Thanks Karen and Marcel.  

We also had a great visit with Canadian friends Bunkey and Geoff Cunliffe (previous owners of Alberg 37 Sloop EVERDEN), who also are storing their boat (PARTY OF TWO - a Gemini Catamaran) at Westland Marina.


SHEARWATER Being Placed On The Hard At Westland Marina

Boat Covered With 'SunShade' Material (From Home Depot) 
To Keep Birds And Heat Off The Boat

All Ready For Summer And Fall

It was a lot of work getting her 'summerized' for the Florida summer and fall.  We rented a van in Titusville , loading a lot of gear aboard the van which we will not be needing next winter.  We got away from Titusville on Saturday, 13 April, 2013 at about 1PM where we spent the night in Savannah , GA (at a motel), then drove the rest of the way to Kinsale on Sunday, 14 April,  arriving here at about 1630.  An uneventful trip all the way home to Kinsale.  Our House Sitters, Mark and Joan Parrott were here to greet us, and we had a delightful evening getting caught up in all the local news etc.  Our heartfelt thanks for the great service they rendered for us in keeping our place in such great condition over the winter!  Also, many thanks to the great crew at Westland Marina!

We've had a great Bahamas cruise (our 4th), but will be glad to again become CLODS (Cruisers Living On Dirt) again!  

Come Winter Time, We'll Be Ready To 


Have a great Summer!!