"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Friday, March 25, 2022

day eleven - concrete river

Peaceful night.  I could hear voices carrying across the water, maybe from the sailboat anchored not too far away, maybe from the park and boat ramp on the other side of the creek.

Dawn comes with soft light, glassy water.  Stow the boom tent.  

A small cloud of gnats arrives, first time I've noticed any bugs on the trip.  Under power at 6:45.  Out on the St. Johns and crossing the shipping channel at 6:55.  No traffic in the channel, a barge and ocean going tug anchored just south of the channel.

Maybe I see some wind to the west at 7:15, but no.  Motoring against the tide.  7:20 cross the channel to the north side where there is more room.  Just after 8:00 the tug and the barge that had been anchored comes up the channel.  I'm well outside the markers and no problem.  

8:25 under the Danes Point Bridge, pass a cruise ship docked on the north side.  Clouds coming in from the east.  A tug coming downriver, plenty of room.  

Lots of powerboats throwing up wakes, all running at full throttle.  

Wind at 9:30, tacking up the channel at 2.9.  Plenty of power boats in the channel, I sail to the east outside the channel.

A long tack across the river and we pass under a bridge, the tide now seems to be in our favor.  Pass Exchange Island at noon, less wind, then more wind.  Pass under another bridge.

12:10 very choppy water.  It is a weekend day and a beautiful one at that.  Everyone with a boat is out on the water running at full speed.  The river through downtown Jacksonville is line with concrete on both sides and the face of the concrete bulkheads reflect every bit of chop from the wind, the rushing tide and the powerboats.  SPARTINA bounces across the water.  Making 3.0 but doesn't feel like it at all.

It seems like bridge after bridge going through downtown.  Motorsailing through the last set, a bridge and a railroad trestle.  Finally through Jacksonville 12:40, 3.1 tacking south a the St. Johns Rivers opens up wide.

Tack through the afternoon, wind building and very choppy, good hard sailing.   Doing 5.7 close hauled.  

Hot and sunny, definitely Florida weather.  Tack the width of the river, plenty of depth right up to shore.  After downtown Jacksonville I enjoy the solitude.

3:30 one more bridge to pass under.  Plenty of wind out of the SSW but I worry the bridge will block my wind and the tide would push me back.  Drop the main and power through.  Enough wind to sail mizzen and jib so raise the outboard and just keep on going.  Round Orange Point 4:30, wind now on port quarter, and sail through one last bridge into Doctors Inlet.  Calm inside the inlet and I follow the shore south, dropping anchor 5:10.

38.62 NM
Creamy pasta and beef


Shawn Stanley said...

WOW, What a day!

Steve said...

Thanks, Shawn. Next time I sail through Jacksonville it won't be on a weekend.