Our First Full Season

We recently completed our first full season as Offshore Adventure Sailing, LLC. What a great time! We started in New Orleans in early November, and sailed the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys, and the northern Bahamas before returning to West Palm Beach in late April, and ultimately back to New Orleans in mid-May. I had nine guest crewmembers join me during seven legs, never more than three at a time. I thoroughly enjoyed the time with each of them.

  • Seven men and two women

  • Two father-son teams

  • The oldest was 64; the youngest was 27

  • Two birthday celebrations

  • One guest joined for two legs; and one joined for three

In addition to these nine, my lovely first mate was also aboard for three segments, and two friends helped me return La Peregrina to New Orleans at season’s end.

It was a wonderfully diverse season. We sailed a total of about 3400 nautical miles. We had dead calms, and we had squalls with winds above 40 knots. We thought we’d freeze in a November cold front in the Florida Panhandle, and we sweat profusely in the early-May humidity of West Palm Beach. Some days we were pinned down by adverse weather, making no distance at all. Our best noon-to-noon distance was 142 miles on our passage south to Key West.

Route map for our first full sailing season as Offshore Adventure Sailing.

Route map for our first full sailing season as Offshore Adventure Sailing.

Our first segment, from New Orleans to Panama City, involved both coastal-cruising and an offshore passage. We started our second leg by hunkering down in bad weather. But we were rewarded with a glorious and fast downwind sail to Key West. (See blogpost “A November Passage in The Gulf of Mexico.”)

La Peregrina at anchor in the Eleutheras

La Peregrina at anchor in the Eleutheras

Our third leg was a quick trip out to the Dry Tortugas. We celebrated Jim’s 60th birthday (I even baked a lopsided cake!) He gave me a lesson in celestial navigation in return.

In January and February, the first mate and I cruised the Florida Keys before she flew home and left me in Boot Key Harbor with a list of boat maintenance projects. In early March, we did our fourth leg of the season: a sail across the Gulfstream to Bimini and ultimately to West End on Grand Bahama Island. Our next two legs took us across Little Bahama Banks to Marsh Harbour on Abaco Island, and then an exploration of the islands of the Abacos. On both of these legs the weather alternated between maddeningly light wind and frustratingly heavy wind. Still, the scenery was incredible, the company was excellent, and we had a grand time.

We tore the genoa on our sail from West End to Marsh Harbour in the Abacos. I made a repair, but another (worse) tear developed. It became clear this particular headsail was shot. I reached out to friends at HIYC, my home sailing club, and soon had a borrowed sail delivered to me by our next set of guests. Many thanks to Steve and Sam!

We were delighted to run across old friends aboard s/v Layla and s/v Odyssey, Canadians who we first met in the Exumas in 2016. On the very same afternoon, we ran into Ron and Phebe aboard s/v Noodin, a sister boat of La Peregrina, our Cabo Rico 34. Ours is hull #3; theirs is hull #6.

Sunset on the Little Bahama Bank

Sunset on the Little Bahama Bank

In early April, we sailed south to the Eleutheras, an area of the Bahamas we had never visited before. What a gorgeous, pristine place! Jacob joined us there for his second trip aboard La Peregrina, and our seventh and last charter trip of the season. We made the tedious Devils Backbone passage to Dunmore Town on Harbour Island, and explored Spanish Wells, Current Cut, and Glass Window. Then our weather window arrived and we set sail west northwest past the Berry Islands in Providence Channel and across the Gulf Stream to Florida’s Lake Worth Inlet.

I genuinely enjoy sharing the experience of offshore sailing, and I love it when I can help people go sailing in their own boats. Jacob had virtually no sailing experience when he first sailed La Peregrina just over a year ago. I was delighted to learn recently that he has now bought a Pearson 33, and hopes to sail out of New York Harbor next Spring!

I had no firm plans for La Peregrina beyond our return to Florida. But it had been a great season, and s/v La Peregrina deserved some tender loving care. I had her hauled in Riviera Beach where she got new bottom paint. Maribeth had to fly home but, on short notice, I persuaded Jim and Markley to help me sail La Peregrina back to New Orleans. A new full-battened main, a new 120% genoa, and a new staysail from Mack Sails had been delivered while I was in the boatyard, and I was anxious to see how La Peregrina would sail. We traveled down the ICW and Hawk Channel before turning north into the Gulf of Mexico for a fabulous sail to New Orleans. La Peregrina loves her new sails!

Many thanks to Rob, Sam, Robbie, Scott, Jim, Sara, Kristina, Sammy, Jacob, Jim, Markley, Steve, and my beautiful first mate Maribeth for a fabulous season!

I want to do it all again.