Vero (or is it Velcro) Beach


November 30, 2012 by Last Star blog


so last time we checked in was leaving Titusville and still running south.  Our next scheduled stop was Vero Beach.  It is reportedly so nice there that folks jokingly call it Velcro Beach as you can’t (don’t want to) leave.  Well we can attest to the Velcro bit.  A friend called this the voyage of the damned and I’m starting to feel it.  Maybe I soul-gazed a evil witch or voodoo priestess.

So let’s review.  First the water accumulator, then the mast-light, then the raw-water leak into the bilge.  OK, bad things come in 3’s,  one would hope.  The morning we are going to Vero Beach the windlass shits the bed; working intermittently–my favorite.  After two months of hard use I think the things that sat for two YEARS are starting to give up the farm.  Cruising–fixing your boat in exotic places–true dat!  So we get to Vero Beach and in Vero you cannot anchor.  You MUST take a mooring ball and you will MOST likely have to raft.  What is raft you ask?  That is where one boat has the mooring ball and then you tie up to THAT boat with lines and fenders and both of you hang off the ball.  This is a bird on our neighbors line to the mooring.006So I make the reservation with “Jeff” the day prior and tell him we have cats and that keeping cats on your boat is next to impossible, they immediately want to get on the neighbors boat.  Also dogs and cats are NOT a good mix when rafting.  I tell him I’m not trying to be difficult “just the facts m’am”.  I hope he gets it.  The next day we arrive and are checking in on the radio.  I remind him about the cats and compared to the rest of the calls he got that day about “pairings” mine seemed pretty benign.  So we get assigned to ball “X” (no idea what number it was) and sharing with S/V Orion.  OK, easy to find with the binoculars–amazing we are just in front of the marina and close in–sweet.  We see the owners putzing around the deck, slide past them slowly and holler (tried the radio first no response) which side do they want us, can they catch the lines, what’s the protocol, we have cats, never done this before (the rafting), there’s a rock in my shoe, the suns in my eyes, what’s the average velocity of an African Swallow…. you know, the basics.  Well the rafting goes pretty smoothly, everyone is happy, no dents or dings.  We are now close roomies with George and Joan.  Two very nice people with an orange tabby.  Immediate hissing from our side.  They’ll get over it.  George and Joan have cleverly named their cat “Kitty”.  They have been living aboard about 20 years!  Over a year in Velcro Beach.  Two very nice and generous people.  George ran us around town the next day for two hours looking for pawl springs to fix the wind-lass.  Then lent us his car today while they played tennis so we could go to West Marine to buy a new Garmin.

I think they grew up in the sixties and never left that era.  George seemed very excited about the recent legislation in Colorado legalizing cannibis and he is considering giving up his boat for the rockies….hmmmm

Now back to the voyage of the damned.  So we get to Velcro and as soon as we tied up I started to break down the windlass to see what was up.  This electric motor and winch lower and raise the anchor and chain.  I can do this by hand, you can also stick a winch handle in the thing and crank on it too.  This is not a disaster but nice to have.  Well this thing was last serviced when installed I think.  One pawl spring is missing and a “retaining ring” is in four pieces in the debris (no offense Trash) at the base of the winch.  OK, disassemble  clean with acetone, lubricate with grease and oil and start search for parts.  No luck on the pawl springs and the retaining ring is not stainless steel.  OK, all back together, turns smoothly and much better now that it is lubed.  STILL works intermittently   Go through all the connections etc and still no love.  Now we lost the day fooling around with this thing, no worries as the wind is again howling from the North and NEast so we are in no rush to get to Lake Worth.  Patricia suggests we take a closer look at the motor from within the anchor locker.

009That little door there at the end is the door to the anchor locker, within there lives the line and chain for the two anchors.  It is louvered to provide some ventilation.  We had to clear the V-Berth to check the connections and reversing solenoid to the windlass.  That can there is PB Blaster for rusty bolts etc, I’ve included it for scale.

011Now I’ve opened that louvered door and you can see there is a small troll or my lass inside.  Note my lass is directly below the windlass.  I’ve indicated to Patricia that in the future if she has such great issues with the top of the mast maybe she would like to spend more time in here?!  Yes somehow she was able to squeeze in there; guess who is going under the sink next time.  Well we piddled with this end of the problem to no avail.  It is a connection within the electrical motor and works well when a hammer is applied.  It is going to the back burner for now.  Joan suggested they had the same problem years ago and took the motor to a place that rebuilt starters and they fixed it for next to nothing–noted.

So that afternoon we are making preparations to leave the next day and I power up the Garmin to put in the next days route.  Well it won’t power up!??  NOW WHAT!?  The last day we used it when we got to the mooring ball and I shut down the engine Patricia went below to shut down some circuit breakers (there is an annoying chime when the engine is NOT running so we rush to do this each time) and we think that we managed to time my power down of the Garmin with her throwing the Circuit Breakers and zapped the Garmin.  Sweet!!!  OK, now what?  Get on the phone with Garmin, too late for West Marine.  Get up early the next day and get on-line to shop for Garmins and believe it or not West Marine has a fair price…now will they have one in stock?  The other option is to use my hand held Garmin and the lap top and go down the ICW like that.  Doable but not our usual method.  Well as mentioned George and Joan lent us the car, West Marine had a comparable model, bought the extended warranty in this case AND will send the old model back to Garmin for repair as a spare.  So we race back to the Marina, throw power to the Garmin, load the card and routes and get out of Velcro Beach by 1015, in Port St Lucie by 3:30 to get the old Garmin in the post and off to get repaired so it can get back to Alek to bring to the Bahamas by Christmas.  Expensive day but we did move 35 miles.

Had Happy Hour at a bar near the Pirates Cove Marina, lots of deep sea fishing boats coming in with Marlin and the like, rough day out there today but they did ok.  Tomorrow we push to Lake Worth and the stop AFTER that is West End Bahamas!!  Almost there.

View off the back of the boat tonight.



4 thoughts on “Vero (or is it Velcro) Beach

  1. Beth says:

    Hold On your ALMOST there…..and then the rest of us reading about all your bumps in the road will be green with envy and you sail in the Bahamas……Thanks for sharing your incredible adventures…..

  2. Troy says:

    Don’t dispair, stiff upper lip, and all that rot! Just remember it’s a dream and you’re living it my friend! Keep the updates coming!

  3. Daryl says:

    You guys are amazing! No challenge stands a chance to be unconquerable!

  4. Jeannine says:

    You are almost to the Bahamas now, and what an adventure!

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