Privateer in the Bahamas – Late posting

Sorry for the lack of updates (written Jan 2017)
Feels like mission accomplished. More than six months ago, long before the boat was even completed, we planned a family reunion in the Bahamas for Christmas. And we are here. Evan from Georgia, Grayson from Tallahassee, and their girl friends. It has been a whirlwind six months. Some time soon i will go back and expand on some of all this, but for now, and overview of how we got from here to there.
Commissioning in Stuart with KKY went well, but it is an intense period, with lots of decisions to be made on the fly. With our plan to go straight from the commissioning to the Ft lauderdale boat show and then to the Bahamas, we not only had to learn the boat, but we had to prepare it for living aboard full time and for moving it to a somewhat remote part of the world.(just try and get a part delivered to the bahamas and you will see what i mean)
Lets start with handling a trawler of this size. Should be easy, what with twin engines and bow and stern thrusters. And I guess it is. But still a significant learning curve as I move from a 54ft sailboat. The big issue is visibility. From the center cockpit of the sailboat I had 360 degree visibility. From any steering station on Privateer, and there are 4, i have maybe 120 degrees field of view and am blind in the other quadrants. Yes, there is 360 from the fly bridge, but the edges of the boat are not visible. backing this thing into a slip requires a different perspective that I have not yet mastered. It isnt the boat, as I couldnt imagine any trawler of this size better configured or equipped for close quarters maneuvering, but it is still a steep learning curve. Now that we are moving from anchorage to anchorage, life is much easier. Back to our chronology.
From Stuart to Ft Lauderdale there must be about 30 bridges that we need opened.That is a learning opportunity all its own. I am pretty good at calculating time and distance to arrive at the next bridge just before a scheduled opening, and many of the bridge openings are sequenced for 7 knots or so. But just as I think I had a plan, we would run into an “idle speed only” or “no wake zone” that forced us back to 5 knots or so. After a couple of miles at 5 knots, it would require 10 knots to get back on plan. And we cant do 10 knots. As it turned out, we were often able to catch up with “the fleet” and ride the tail of the convoy through the bridge. But we did miss a few.
Boat shows can be fun, but getting the boat into the show is not for the faint of heart. Think of a tight anchorage with 50 boats in it. Then take the anchors away. Have them all moving in random directions to maintain steerage. Add 3 knots of current and 25 knots of wind. That pretty much describes the marshaling area just outside the show marina. We had our broker on board. A life saver.
No trip to Ft Lauderdale is complete without a trip up and down the New River. Never again. Take those same 50 boats, string them out bow to stern, add a narrow winding river, seven bridges in half as many miles, throw in some current just to make it interesting, and then stop for twenty minutes to let a train go by.
Miami was OK. We anchored east of the Venetian causeway among the man made islands. An excellent place to sit and wait for weather for the crossing over to, in our case, Bimini. Easy exit w no bridges to deal with.
I will pick up next with the stream crossing (benign) and our short passage to George Town. (also mostly benign)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *