Back to the Ball and The Price of Failure

Started: Star Island 25°46.56′N 080°09.25′W

Mooring: Coconut Grove near Dinner Key Marina, 25°42.92′N 080°13.63′W

Log: 8.5 nm. Time: 2 hr. Engine: 2 hr.


Great party on Perfect Partner. Great tour of Lincoln Road Mall on Miami Beach.  Lousy trip back. The price of failure can be very dear indeed.

The party involved plenty of food and drink. Plenty of salty conversation with cruisers. Good lessons learned on what to do, what not to do, and how to fix the problems that arise.

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Plus, we saw folks with Rocket Pants. Something you don’t see every day.

However, this is the third pair of rocket pants I’ve seen around here.

The next morning, we finally saw Miami Beach. After coming 1,000 miles from Norfolk, it’s hard to believe we didn’t get to the world-famous Miami Beach until yesterday.

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Behind Belle Isle, is the Collins Canal, which parallels Dade Blvd on Miami Beach. If you go under two of the big bridges over this canal (close to ½nm), you’ll come to a small wooden stage on the N side. It’s across the street from Publix. And a short walk from Lincoln Road Mall.

So glad this is a full day away from where we’re moored. If it were closer, I’d waste all of my money on the various bars, restaurants, lounges and coffee shops.

As it is, we have to replace the broken running light, rewrite the macerator pump (again), upgrade the sailing instruments, add radar and fix the damage to the bang rail. Drinking in a swanky outdoor bar while eye-candy in bathing suits parade by is simple craziness.

The Return

We had a sloppy motor back to Dinner Key Mooring in some brisk winds. By brisk I mean blowing 20g25. This means relatively big waves in Biscayne Bay. It was almost like the Cheasapeake Chop.

Some waves broke over the bow, splashing white water as far as the dodger. That’s a right big splash for little Biscayne Bay.

It took us two tries — and two boat-books — to snag the mooring. The wind made it difficult to judge the approach speed to the ball. I overshot the first one, and did the wrong things to try and help, dropping hook #1 in the bay.

On the second approach, I had the speed set better to allow time at the ball before the wind pushed us back. CA was flustered by my first failure and didn’t drop hook #2 in it’s usual spot on deck. She tossed it on top of Scout, where it rolled off and (improbably) dropped into the bay.

[A boat hook falling into the bay is like bread falling butter side down. Improbable, but it seems inevitable.]

Once the lines were secure, we stood on deck in the howling wind and watched the hooks drifting away. About the time I suggested that I should swim for them, our neighbor drove by in his dinghy.

We went right by Atlantic on the first pass at the mooring, so he’d popped up to watch the show. We do the same everytime a boat goes by us. 

He was amazed at how tightly I could turn Red Ranger, and was disappointed that our first pass at the mooring ball didn’t work out. He was watching the second pass to see if I was going to make as tight a turn as I did the first time, when he saw a boat hook floating by.

The second pass, BTW, was an even tighter turn. Red Ranger has a high bow and does not like to turn up into the wind. With a big pulse of forward power, she’ll pivot on her keel: this scoots her stern around as much as it brings her bow up into the wind. 

After Rob picked up our two hooks, he sold them back to us.

The price of our failure?

Beer, cheese and crackers.

The bonus?

He had great sailing stories about sailing Atlantic (and his previous boat) around the northeast: Connecticut, Long Island, Massachusets and Maine. Whales. Dolphins. Fog. Places we want to go this summer.

On the whole, the value received far exceeded the price paid.

© Steven Lott 2020