16 days! I am so happy to finally be back aboard Beatitude. The haulout took twice as long as I had initially hoped, but we are now back at home. It is amazing how comfortable a sailboat becomes and how one misses it when it is not available. Cindy and I were relieved to spend the evening on board Beatitude once again.
Around 9:15 yesterday morning, we left our hotel in St. Petersburg and made our way to the boatyard to pick up our home. There were still a few tasks to be finished before we could sail her away, primarily a quick wash and some final wet sanding of gelcoat. Shortly after noon, we pulled away from the dock and made our way to Regatta Pointe. The day was cool and blustery, not a prototypical Florida day, but was actually good sailing weather. As soon as we cleared the boatyard and made our way into the bay, we hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the genoa and sailed our way home. The wind was fairly steady in the 20-25 knot range, with a few gusts over 25 knots. Although cold, with a temperature in the low to mid 60s, this allowed us to make up to 8.6 knots over ground with the wind coming across our starboard side at approximately 120 degrees for most of the trip. It had been a while since I had a chance to raise the sails, cut the engines, and enjoy the sense of being propelled by wind alone. I was thrilled that we were able to sail along at 7-plus knots with a wind angle of even 165°.
The gulf was choppy but comfortable as we made our way toward the Manatee River. Duane and his grandson, Justin, drove down to accompany on this quick trip while Cindy drove our Honda Fit to Regatta Pointe in order to be prepared to help us tie up into our slip. Once back at our marina, the WNW wind at 20 knots provided a little bit of challenge tying up to the dock. A brisk westerly wind blew us off the dock requiring some planning and smooth execution to keep us from drifting away. Fortunately, all went well, and no one ended up in the water (although it was close!).
Beatitude needs some TLC after 2 1/2 weeks at the boatyard. Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll be able to do some cleaning and organizing. The new bottom paint looked great and the repair of the bow roller looked perfect. Several extra layers of fiberglass were applied to beef up the area of the roller. A significantly larger backing plate was used as well as additional bolts through the bow roller. I’m confident that this entire structure is stronger and more reliable than before.
It was also exciting to meet our first other Lagoon 420 owners while at the boatyard. They have spent the last nine years onboard Woofie, their catamaran, sailing the Caribbean and Mexico. They had nothing but high praise for the performance of their Lagoon 420 over the nine years. They went on and on about how wonderful it has been. Now, just a few more months until we start our cruising adventures. Every week, it seems a little more real. This past week, I had to irrevocably commit to a schedule with a markedly decreased number of shifts, come January. It’s already March, and time is flying!