We pulled into Boot Key Harbor and Panacea was up on the hard. She just got a rebuild on her bow thruster and while she was out, I put on a new coat of bottom paint. She was looking great and ready to be splashed.
My crew was ready too. I had Alex and Freddie ready to grab lines and help put her on the dock for a couple of nights. This was on a Tuesday afternoon and we plan on taking Wednesday to go over the boat with John the ex-owner and then on Thursday morning head out to bring her home.
We looked her over good and John was great in helping me understand the changes he made on her, here and there. There's plenty of notes and stuff that I need to review so I can understand her the way John does. It may take years. I mean, he was with Panacea for 17 years and he made those changes.
So on after John headed north, in his car, we explored the vessel and got our gear settled in. Panacea is a very comfy boat and I'm looking forward to our energies blending and becoming very familiar with each other. It's going to be a treat.
We pulled out at about 9:50 a.m. and we headed out of Boot Key and headed to the Seven Mile Bridge and getting ready to shoot north through Moser Channel. It was a nice morning and we were ready.
Freddie is a great guy and John's American Flag was tattered and torn, so in his nautical family they give the new owner a new flag to fly. As you can see, my new flag is flying and off we go through the bridge saying good-buy to the Florida Keys. We have about 23 hours ahead at about 325 degrees.
After a couple of hours, I checked the engine room and engine bilge. There was oil there… About a 1/4 to a 1/2 quart. That was it, I put a bilge buddy in and decided to run for the next few hours and then turn off the engine and check the oil. I waited and watched the oil pressure and all was well. So we continued. After a few more hours, I decided to stop the engine and check the oil. It was fine. So we went to start it and the starter didn't respond…
I remembered that John put a switch on the engine to turn it over while down below, so I tried the switch and we were off again.
The trip continued through a cloudy sunset and into the night. The swells went from 2-4's to 3-5's with a few 6 footers in the mix. Panacea was doing great. We were high and dry even with the 15 to 19 knot wind from the north (on our nose) and the seas from the NNW.
As the a.m. hours started, we were in 5 to 7's and everything right on our nose so I decided that since the wind was going to go north then north east and then back to north west I would head a bit out to sea and make a more comfy ride and then set the sails and shoot north east right to Naples.
We Plan… God Laughs!
So the wind didn't really shift. It moved to the north and then north north east and then stayed there. So when the engine died in the morning, we needed to sail.
With the wind NNE we had a choice… Sail out to sea or sail 10 miles south of Marco Island. I needed some cell service to talk to John about the engine. I hadn't changed that type of Racor and didn't want to make any mistakes.
By the time we got a dot… And by the way, I was on Verizon, Freddie was on Nextel and Alex was on ATT, ATT wins.
I talked to John and he told me the deal on the filter and also said you'll be fine as long as you didn't try to re-start the engine. Well we did try and at that point he told us where the book was to bleed the engine and said "Good Luck."
Alex is now my hero and he did a great job of working out the information in the book and within the next hour or so, we were heading north, under power and STILL TRYING TO GET PAST MARCO ISLAND. We watched another sunset and settled in for the 7 hour run to Fort Myers Beach.
It was a wonderful experience. Sailing is always an experience. Panacea is a wonderful boat and she will make a wonderful home. I'm proud to be her next owner.
I am now checking the list and working the priorities out so she will be a place that we will be excited to offer for you to spend a few days with us.
Although she is seaworthy and ready to play, I want to make some special changes to her to make her mine. A little varnish, a little paint, a little wax and she'll be ready to go again.
This is a great time to plan on spending some time with us. Sailing in Fort Myers Beach is a very special experience for you and your guest(s). But book early. Call or write now and we will give you the information you need to start your planing.
Thanks to everyone for their support. It's a journey that's just beginning. Sailing charters in Fort Myers Beach… We're here for you.
I'll see you on the dock…
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