In the Spring of 2012 our 100-day cruise on Cat Inn Around took us 1,288 NM from Amelia Island, through the Florida Keys, the Abacos (Bahamas) and back home. Cat Inn Around demonstrated phenomenal fuel efficiency, speeding us along at 18-19½ knots burning just .992 gallons per mile. Normally running the twin 315-hp Yanmars at 3,200 RPMs (84% of their 3,800 maximum RPMs) she cruised at between 17½ & 19½ knots (19.4 & 21.7 mph) depending on hull cleanliness, waves, current and wind direction. Typically she cruises at about 18½ knots (21 mph). At WOT (wide open throttle) she clocks speeds in excess of 22½ knots (25 mph).
In a strange coincidence, over our 100-day cruise we traveled an average 213–miles between fill-ups and Continue reading
Most of the time when we enter a harbor or dock at a marina Cat Inn Around is the biggest cat in the neighborhood; the undisputed Alpha-cat. One day while secured to the dock at Leeward Yacht Club (Leewardyachtclub) we spy Hayfu II entering Black Sound in Green Turtle Cay. What a site!
In a man-made basin off of Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Florida, we caught some great photos of this gentle giant. Sailor Mike, moored in front of us on Windshadow, dubbed him Marathon Manatee. At first he was so still we weren’t certain if he was alive. Guess he was sleeping because he quickly perked-up after being offered some fresh water. Our friends Steve and Laura, on the sailboat Paradise (paradiseadventures), kept feeding him a steady supply and he rolled onto his back to give them an easier shot. Continue reading
If ‘special places’ has a definition, for cruisers it has to include Boot Key Harbor! Boot Key is a famous Florida Keys ‘hurricane hole’ – a sheltered basin inside Vacca Key, all of which comprises the City Limits of Marathon Florida.
How can you improve a sanctuary sailors have used for eons for protection from tropical cyclones? Install mooring buoys so more boats can take advantage of the safe harbor! In a display of wisdom not often seen from a ‘City’ 226 mooring balls were installed in this natural sheltered harbor. This aerial photo (courtesy of Courtesy of Paul J. Smith, (photo link) “looking north over the harbor”) shows the rows of mooring balls & boats packed into this safe location. The balls, spaced about 75-feet apart, carefully pack-in more boats that ‘conventional anchoring’ would allow. While moored here in March 2012, Cat Inn Around’s 48-feet length never felt crowded. They are not secured with old fashion, dubious blocks of concrete; these are modern mooring balls securely anchored to the seabed with a ‘helical rock anchor’ (photo courtesy of the City of Marathon.) Continue reading
After six days of the piloting the boat, we decide on a day of rest. There is a 1½-foot chop. Cat Inn Around is oblivious to the cop, floating as steady as a rock. Without the intense focus of piloting in skinny water or preparing to shove-off, there is time to stop and take stock of the events leading to this location in the Florida Keys. January 2nd was to be the start of a sabbatical from work; but this day is like every day. There is no escape from meetings, phone calls and reports. The immediate need is to get the contractors paid for December’s work. The bank inspector is due Thursday. A few intense days of processing the ‘draw request’ and auditing the prior pay applications. They have to be right; this is my last pay application. Finally, the inspection is over, the pay application processed and funded. Now it is time for the sabbatical. Continue reading
On Tuesday March 20, 2012, Cat inn Around transited the Intracoastal Waterway from North Biscayne Bay (Mile Marker 1,084) to Tavenier Key (Mile Marker 1,155).
Cat Inn Around pulled anchor at 9:55 am to clear Bay Harbor’s Broad Causeway for the scheduled 10:15 am opening. Waiting a few minutes, the bridge opened on schedule and we passed through. North Biscayne Bay is beautiful; crystal clear waters offer a rainbow of blues in the bright morning sun. The temperature is about 85º and the there is just a light breeze. Progressing south we see the skyscrapers of downtown Miami growing on the horizon. North Biscayne Bay opens-up and becomes a wider body of water and the ‘no wake zone’ is gone. We push the twin Yanmars to 3,300-RPM and are cruising at about 18½-knots. Continue reading
On Monday March 19, Cat Inn Around transits the Intracoastal Waterway from West Palm Beach (Mile Marker 1015) to Upper Biscayne Bay, Mile Marker 1084.
Cat Inn Around pulled anchor at 9:01 and passed under the Parker Bridge entering the waters of lake Worth. The ICW is now a ‘slow, no wake’ zone and we realize why last night’s anchorage was so uncomfortable; even the big cat was rock by boats ‘pushing the throttle down’ after finally passing miles of no wake zones. Just beyond the bridge are attractive peaceful anchorages. The channel makes a swing to the west as we round ‘Peanut Island’ and the Lake Worth Inlet (MM 1014). Now there are scores of vessels that can only be called ‘floating condominiums.’ In comparison, Cat Inn Around looks like a small tender. A bit further, there are lots of boats the just sitting in the channel or idling around. As we try to pick our way through we are accosted: “Why are you getting so close, man?” “We are heading south and you are in the middle of the channel!” “So are they, why you expecting me to move?” his Hispanic hiss as he begrudgingly moves closer to the docks to the west. Making a wide swing to the east we slide between him and another boat; biding the pendejo adios. We realize this is preparation for the West Palm Beach Boat Show this weekend. Continue reading
On Sunday, March 18, 2012, Cat Inn Around pulled anchor just north of the St. Lucie inlet and transited the Intracoastal Waterway to West Palm Beach (Mile Marker 1015).
Once clearing the St. Lucie inlet the ICW transforms from a wide river system to a narrower waterway. The ICW has many regulatory signs along the channel; most stating this is a manatee zone speed is restricted to 25-MPH in the channel and no wake outside of the channel. The smaller channel combined with countless boats enjoying the fantastic Sunday weather demands more attention to pilot Cat Inn Around. At Mile Marker 996 we enter Hobe Sound named for the Jove Indians whose name the Spanish pronounced, “Ho-bay.” The eastern bank of the ICW is lined with manicured lawns and luxurious mansions. The western bank is part of the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge. It is a striking contrast! At Mile Marker 995.9 we approach the Hobe Sound Bascule Bridge with just a 21-foot clearance. Technically, with all of our antennas lowered Cat Inn Around should slide under a bridge of 19½-feet. We notice the tide-gauge marker on the starboard side shows only 19-feet and we request a bridge opening. At Mile Marker 1004 we enter the Jupiter Inlet. The water is a translucent aquamarine as we navigate the strong current, small channel and many boaters. Continue reading
From Cocoa Beach the Indian River is a wide river marked with numerous tall bridges (typically 65-foot) that cross the waterway. Navigation is easy with long straight courses in relatively deep water. The ICW channel is typically 8-foot to 10-foot deep and Cat Inn Around only draws 3½-feet (42-inches). We have been blessed with fabulous weather, it seems that ‘spring has sprung’ as we sit in the bridge in tee shirts and shorts. Frequent applications of sun block protect our knees and legs, heated by the sun poking through the forward opening in bridge enclosure. There is a pleasant 10-knot to 12-knot wind from the East, enough to power a sailboat race. We slow for the regatta offering a change from the 19-knot cruising speed. In short order we pass through Melbourne, the Sebastian Inlet, the city of Sebastian and Vero Beach. About 4:20 PM we approach the Fort Pierce Inlet (MM 968) and reduce or speed to 7-knots for this congested area. After clearing the area, we resume cruising at a speed of 17½-knots (19.4 mph). The waterway is still wide and straight as we pass Hutchinson Island and Jenson Beach. At Mile Marker 980 we pass under the Ernest F. Lyons Bridge with a fixed vertical clearance of 65-feet. Continue reading
Even with all of our antennas lowered, The Bridge of Lions clearance was to low for us to pass underneath. We requested a bridge opening and captured this image of this majestic bridge in the open position. She is one of the most beautiful bridges on the ICW. South of St. Augustine, we passed Fort Matanzas (MM 793) at the Matanzas Inlet. The Spanish used to control the inlet with this ‘little’ fort situated to easily discharge cannon balls at unwelcome vessels. Continue reading
March 15, 2011 Cat Inn Around left home port at Oyster Bay at (mile marker 724) and transited the Intracoastal Waterway to St. Augustine. We set a secure anchor at mile marker 777.9 in front of the Bridge of Lions overlooking the fort and downtown waterfront.
Along the way we saw this beautiful symbol of America perched atop a day beacon near Fernandina Beach. Continue reading
Partying with the crew from Southwest Airlines near Cumberland Island on Cat Inn Around. Anchored close to shore in Cumberland Sound, the Island’s wild horse’s natural curiosity beckoned them close enough for everyone to appreciate the rare sight. After enjoying plenty of food, drinks and Island Music; everyone gathered on the bow for a group picture. The day trip proves: you don’t have to travel far to feel a million miles from home. Check out this video of the the day.
On the eve of another invitation to visit Cumberland Island, I realized that I haven’t even told the story of the first trip over there which we undertook last month. Shaun H. invited my wife and myself to accompany him and a friend on an overnighter on Cat Inn Around,… his 48 foot South African build Power Cat. Even though I am a full blooded wind sailor, for some reason I haven’t had too much time in recent years to explore the wild blue yonder, so when Shaun launched the idea, my docksiders started to itch as if a midlife crisis is a God given right.
Cat Inn Around is now available for the discriminating buyer offering long-range cruising luxury and exceptional fuel economy. Cat Inn Around will cruise over a thousand miles at trawler speed or power you over 400-miles at speeds up to 22½-knots (26 mph). She cruises efficiently with her twin 315 Yanmars at 3,200 rpm yielding speeds of 17½ to 19½ knots (20-22.4 mph) depending on hull cleanliness, waves, wind and currents. At 3,200 rpm she usually cruises at about 18½ knots. Multi-hulls or Catamarans are prized for their fuel economy and Cat Inn Around is no exception. For example, she cruised from Dinner Key (South of Miami) to Fernandina Beach in three days (fast cruise – except no-wake zones) on 340 gallons of fuel. In essence, traveling over 350 miles while using less than one gallon per mile, exceptional fuel economy for a big cat traveling that fast! At wide open throttle Cat Inn Around has clocked speeds in excess of 22½ knots (25 mph mph). Continue reading
A beautiful, warm summer evening in August on Lake George, the final destination on our trip from Amelia Island up the St. Johns River. It is approaching dusk and we move Cat Inn Around about 300-feet off shore of the cove near Salt Run, the entrance to Salt Springs. Hopefully getting away from land will offer a little breeze and get us away from the mosquitoes. As the sun sets, we start to settle-in for evening snacks, wine and then dinner. We notice that the mosquitoes are teeming. We head inside the cabin, turn off all the lights and hope they will leave. But, as we watch out the salon doors, their numbers are more than expected and growing! I decide that we should move further off shore and get away from their sanctuary on land. We climb the stairs to the bridge in a swarm the likes I have never seen. I crank the engines, pull the anchor and ask Brandon to use the flashlight to try to pick a path through the Continue reading