A couple of days ago, we had a wonderful time on a day-sail with our first guests aboard Beatitude. My niece, Holly, and her friend, Jason, joined us for a blissful day of sailing on Tampa Bay. We pushed off from the dock around 9:30 a.m. and stopped by the Marina fuel dock to top up the fuel tanks. Our port tank was less than one quarter full since we had been running the port engine and the generator off of that tank. Seventy gallons of diesel set me back over $300.00. Ouch! But, We hadn’t fueled up since Marathon when we were bringing the boat up from Ft. Lauderdale. If you remember, we had no wind for that trip and ended up motoring the entire way. So, that’s the cost of windlessness.
After deftly maneuvering away from the fuel dock and pivoting in a confined space while dodging other sailboats coming through, we made our way out into the Manatee River channel and headed for the bay. It was a gorgeous day which started off a little on the cool side and warmed up into the mid-upper 70s with bright sunshine. The wind was almost non-existent up until that time, but upon entering the bay (as if on cue) the wind picked up to a steady 8-9 knots out of the east. We raised the sails and enjoyed the quietude of being propelled through the water by wind alone. We glided along at around 4 knots for about 2 hours until the fickle wind decided to disappear for the rest of the day. Beatitude slowed to a crawl, so we decided to have a little lunch before firing up the twin diesels.
After lunch, we motored beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, made a U-turn, and headed for home. Pelicans and Anhingas kept us company throughout the day, but we almost always see dolphins on our day sails. Approximately 1/2 mile before reaching the Marina, we finally spotted a single dolphin which was quickly scared away by a power boat.
I decided to try to back into the slip this time. Previously, I had gone around our slip and pulled through the empty slip adjacent to us. It went well with no major incidents. It was a little challenging to get the boat close to the dock against the current, but it was accomplished. My confidence at maneuvering Beatitude in tight places increases with every excursion. I really was not very nervous this time around (The fact that there was little to no wind to deal with didn’t hurt).
Our relaxing day came to an end after tidying up the boat and enjoying a nice meal at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill. We said goodbye to our guests and await another day to sail.