Vessel Type/Length – Beneteau Swift Trawler 42
Cruising speed – 20 knots
Engine type/Horsepower – Twin Yanmar 375 HP
Starting location – Ortega River, Jacksonville, FL
Final destination – Miami, FL
This was a new boat delivery from Ortega River, Jacksonville, FL, to Miami in only two days.
My mate and I arrived on the boat late Friday evening, checked systems and made a grocery run before 10 PM. Early Saturday morning (O dark thirty) we cast off into the St. Johns River and headed for the sea. St Johns River is one of the few North American Rivers that flow North. Because it was dark when we left we ran hull down at a fast idle until daylight, then ran at a cruising speed of 20 knots. As we passed downtown JAX we were able to see the site of the SuperBowl Game a few years ago, then pass the Cruise Ship Terminal, the ICW Crossing and then Mayport U.S. Navy Base.
As we ran East between the rock jetties we could see the ocean had an easy gentle swell and was not going to be a problem. At the end of the jetties we turned South, set course for Cape Canaveral, turned on the autopilot and sat back to relax and enjoy the trip.
It was a great day to travel in the Atlantic. Naturally we keep watch to monitor systems and anything that we may run into but it was a simple easy ride. While out in the ocean we spotted a hammerhead shark and a few turtles along with schooling fish.
Around 5PM we neared Cape Canaveral and headed in between the rock jetties for a marina and dinner. At the marina we met the Yanmar Dealer with a new Silverton Sportfisherman with the new higher horsepower Yanmars. For dinner we had to walk about 2 miles to a restuarant and enjoyed a seafood dinner. During our walk back to the marina we noticed a small crowd watching a boat sink. Uh-oh. We ran back to our boat, grabbed some tools and flashlights to return and offer our help.
The sinking boat had sprung a leak in the stuffing box/shaft seal and had run the bilge pump so much it ran the batteries down and failed. Then the water kept rising and shorted the 110 volt system so he had no back up system or lights.
The marina boat yard manager was called and we were able to throw messenger lines across the lane to hand pull the boat into the travel lift well. The boat was lifted and set on blocks for the evening. Whew! Team work among boaters is terrific to be part of.
Next morning we cast off early and again had a beautiful ocean to greet us. Today’s run would take us into Miami, we thought. Somewhere below Stuart, FL the port engine became weak so I pulled back the throttle to prevent it from dieing. As we flopped around the ocean at idle we killed the port engine and changed the Racor fuel filter. Because the ocean was pleasant it wasn’t much trouble except the hot engine room. I was able to start the engine with no problems, ran the boat a mile or so and stopped to change the starboard engine Racor. Mission accomplished so we headed for Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach to refuel the boat.
The boat didn’t need to be filled up but I assumed there may be some dirt and debris in the fuel tank that clogged the Racors so I wanted to fill them up and disperse the dirt. That action might avoid problems in the crowded Miami Government Cut Channel.
We arrived with no problems from either fuel or crowds and headed Southwest via the cargo cut because the Cruise ships were in port and Homeland Security detours marine traffic away from these giant floating hotels.
Our marina landing was smooth. We checked in, had a nice Argentinian dinner and hit the sack. In the morning we rented a car and headed home. Fairly uneventful, this was a great easy trip.