Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Set for the Crossing

Barring major reversals in the forecast we will cross the gulf stream on Friday, January 23. To do this we would like to have Meredith in Lake Worth, a good jumping off point but two days from Vero.

Temperatures make daytime travel unpleasant or worse. Last night in the low 30's means today's predicted high of 53 (all in farenheit) won't be achieved until early afternoon. Mornings are too cold for travel on the water especially with winds remaining in the low 20 kn range.

We are not sure how it will all play out but we will do all in our power to effect a crossing to West End by week's end.

West End is only 53 miles from the Lake Worth Inlet, a short day. If we clear in there we still have 50 to75 miles or more to the Abacos.

After receiving a phone call from Towboat US yesterday I figure a clarification is in order. My blog on the careening of Meredith indicated we would not rely on Towboat for our towing any longer. Indeed we will not. We joined Seatow after the grounding and are now members of both organizations. The cost of each service is only about $150.

Many cruisers are members of both towing organizations. Now we know why. If one outfit is fully engaged elsewhere we can call on the other.

The two guys Towboat sent to our aid were both willing. The first guy was just very inexperienced and he was sent out in a Bayliner. He was clear from the outset about his lack of knowledge.

The second guy, Randy, knew his stuff. When he showed up at 3:30 a.m. with a properly outfitted boat he had us out of trouble in minutes. He was the dispatcher of the local operation and was thoughtful and expert.

We liked both of the guys.

We had no trouble with a towing organization having their vehicles fully engaged in a life and death search and unavailable to help us.

We did not like being towed into the mud; we did not like being promised a second towing vessel only to hear it sent on another call; we did not feel it appropriate to send a Bayliner to tow a 25,000 pound vessel and we did not like being mislead as to what efforts which would be made.

We would have preferred if Towboat had simply said "we cannot come until tomorrow morning". In fairness that may just the way we feel now. When we realized there was no help coming until after low tide had come and gone we were not feeling terribly charitable to anyone.

We have never had difficulty with Towboat in the past. We have never used Seatow before and, no offence to them, hope we never do. They sound very nice on the radio.

Our recommendation remains that you carry memberships in both towing organizations. It does not cost that much more.

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