Sailing Charter in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and the Gulf of Mexico

Posts made in December, 2014

Our Shakedown Cruise for L’Attitude…and Bo!

By on Dec 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Capt. Bo is planning to sail L’Attitude around the world.  So the least I could do beforehand is deckhand a trip to try to “break” her and prepare them both for the upcoming adventure.  As it turned out, we picked the perfect time to cross the Gulf of Mexico to put them to the test. L’Attitude is a 1984 Brewer 42 cutter ketch.  She’s had a lot of blue water under her keel, but only a crossing from Clearwater to Pensacola with Bo at the helm. And as Capt. Ron reminds us, “If its goin’ happen, its goin’ happen out there!”  So, it was time to get her “out there”. We prudently checked the forecasts for a trip from Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, out the Pensacola Pass, and straight to Charlotte Harbor in southwestern Florida.  The forecasts showed four days of northeast winds around 15 knots, with 3-5 foot seas.  That’s common for the Gulf this time of year, and comfortable in a heavy boat like L’Attitude.  But things can change rapidly! We untied the last dock line at sunrise on Saturday morning, and out onto the GIWW for the short two hour run to the Pensacola Pass and the Gulf.  The wind was light, and perfect for the spinnaker.  The wind began to freshen after lunch, we doused the spinnaker and loaded up all the sails on the cutter ketch.  The forecast called for northeast winds on our beam, but we had a westerly at 10-12 kts pushing us at 6 kts.  Perfect!! Having been on the Gulf in the winter at night on my boat, Attitude, the decision to reef at dusk was an easy one.  The boat was doing great, but this wasn’t a race, so we slowed her down a little by reefing the main and jib.  And sure enough, around 2100, the winds clocked to the northeast and gusting over 20 kts.  By dawn, we were sailing at 5 kts with staysail only, in 10+ foot seas and gusts over 35 kts.  We strapped ourselves in the cockpit and watched L’Attitude take wave after wave.  She loved it!! Bo reefed the mizzen to balance the staysail, which made the auto pilot’s...

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100 Days of Boat Rides

By on Dec 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I’m not sure if Skipper J directly challenged Bo and I to get our sailboats out of the marina more often, or if he was just inferring that sailboats seldom leave their slips compared to their power boat neighbors, but Bo and I took the challenge to heart to defend all past, present and future sailors!   Our primary goal was to find time for a boat ride every day.  Living in a marina certainly helps! The secondary goal was to learn to use our own boats better, safer, and with more confidence.  So that meant going out when we’d rather not…weather, work, life…insert excuse.   The rules were simple: 1. Untie the dock lines and leave the marina on a boat. 2. On anything motorized.  3. As many days as possible.   What we started 100 days ago, has me amazed, excited and better prepared for anything that might happen on the water.  And the help from friends and the diversity of boats has been incredible.   My sailboat, Bo’s sailboat, Skipper J’s sport fisher, Michael’s motor yacht and rentals, Attitude Sailing adventures, Sail Perdido excursions, Cold Mil Fleet’s dolphin cruises, dinner cruises, a Hudson’s paddle wheel, Capt. Gary’s tug boat to New Orleans, a sailboat delivery from Key West, a folding dinghy, an inflatable dinghy, red snapper fishing on the Gulf…all were directly involved in reaching my century mark.   As of today, I reached the milestone of 100 consecutive days on the water- from Memorial Day past Labor Day-rain or shine. Skipper J was with me as we sailed out of the marina under wind power alone.  I think he was a little proud of the accomplishment he helped start and finish…even if it was on a “darn old sailboat!”   PS. Bo sailed everyday he was in town this summer.  Quite an accomplishment in itself.  And Kim was with me the entire time…I appreciate her encouragement and support. I’m glad she spent the summer on the boat sailing with me.  That’s probably the biggest achievement of all!  ...

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