Key West 2011


(Key West or BOOM!!!)


January in Florida and once again it's time to gear up for the race to Key West. Crew on Bandana this year were Skip, Mike, Bob, Sam, Charlie,Tom, two newcomers, Nick and Leslie, and me.

The Weather promised great wind and quite cold overnight but we were geared up and ready. Food and supplies were aboard including the chicken/turkey sausage stew that Charlie had cooked at my place the week before. I had 'food saver' bagged it and put it aboard during the week.

The new touch screen Garmin Chart Plotter/Radar was in place and due to a last minute health issue, Frankie was unable to come along so I was designated navigator. I brought along my new laptop with the Nobeltec installed and ready and had all waypoints also in print on a spreadsheet with the range and bearing from each mark to the next. Paper charts were also aboard, of course.

No issues with the bridges this year and no tide problems either. We were on our way out.



Off to a nice start...



We were doing pretty well as we changed from the Jib to the Round chute and jibed about 2 hours after the MIA buoy at about 1800hrs. My laptop crashed at least twice by now. It seems I had one too many USB items plugged in and it just wasn't happy. I was nervous that I would have to navigate without it, as I'm still new with the boat's Garmin and would prefer to have some practice time with it that is not during the race.

At about 2130hrs, we changed to the Assym and rounded mark 5 of the course at Carysfort reef. By 2200 hrs, we changed back to the #2 Jib and were seeing speeds in the 10.6 range. True wind speed at the time was hitting 24.6.

Life was wonderful and fun... until 2345 when, at the chart table, I heard some unusual sounds from outside. I Stuck my head out to hear that we had cracked the boom and we were getting the main down.

Luckily, it only cracked...did not break all the way through... so no crew were injured and no sails were ripped.

The crew did a great job getting it down while I watched our track to be sure we did not wander on to the reef, and they tied quickly to get the strain off the boom so it did not break the rest of the way through.


We motored cautiosly through the reef to the Hawk Channel, and after a few hours we were in the lee of Rodriguez Key where we anchored for the night.

In the morning, we got the main off the boom and tied down to the deck and got a support of sail tie and halyard on the boom for the rest of the trip home.


Extremely disappointed, we made necessary phone calls to friends and family who may have been tracking us on the race track, to let them know we were all ok.

Charlie and Mike got to the business of feeding us and as usual, did a great job in the galley.


Anchor up,


crew eating and blogging, and we head up the Hawk Channel to the next anchorage at No Name Harbor.


I broke out the cold weather gear I had not worn for a few years and was happy to have it.


A few more pix of crew keeping warm...


Back home on Saturday, the crew carries the cracked boom ashore.


So 2 years in a row, Key West was just not going to happen for Bandana and crew. Next is to get the boom replaced in time to make the start line for Montego Bay!!! Stay tuned!