Key West or Bust – Part 1 (South to Palm Beach)
We left Stuart and the slimy green, and dangerously toxic, water surrounding Sunset Bay Marina (not the marina’s fault – I blame “Big Sugar” for the serious pollution of Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River). We managed to shimmy past the shoaling at “The Crossroads” which is where the ICW and the Port St. Lucie channel cross. In the short time that we have owned Roam, I’ve managed to find the bottom at this spot on several occasions, so I’m pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t run aground this time!
Our destination for the day was West Palm Beach, about 20 miles south, where we planned to celebrate our 27th Anniversary ashore and then spend a couple of days on some maintenance projects. The weather offshore was rough and windy, making it very uncomfortable, so we opted for the inshore route via the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Michelle hates traveling the ICW — the bridges are a pain to deal with and there’s the hassle of actually having to stay in a narrow channel, which requires a lot of manual steering. Offshore, is so much less stress. All you have to do is set the course with the autopilot and then sit back and make sure you don’t run over anything. But, a rough day offshore is NO FUN, so we made a hard right at the Crossroads and headed down the ICW.
No problems heading south (meaning I managed NOT to run the boat aground) and we anchored off the city docks at West Palm Beach by mid-afternoon; just in time to take Tugboat and Sailor for a walk before our Anniversary Dinner date ashore. Nothing more romantic than a long day motoring down the ICW, right Michelle!!
August 28-August 31
On Sunday we moved back up to the North End of Lake Sylvia (about 3 miles north of West Palm Beach), where we spent the next few days working on the boat.
New Navigation computer – A couple of weeks before this trip, I had ordered a new computer and monitor for Roam. Both were shipped to our marina in Stuart the week before we left and I had installed them in the pilot house dash, but I needed help from a Furuno electronics expert to tie the computer in to the rest of the navigation equipment. Rob Cotes is the go to guy in West Palm for all things electronics and he agreed to come out and help me get things talking together. The new computer is fantastic, with a 19″ Glass Cockpit monitor and Time Zero Navigator software from Nobeltec. This is SOOO much better than the old, outdated Furuno chart plotters, that I can’t imagine using the old gear for much more than backup.
- Check and clean the running gear (props), etc. – When we pulled the boat in July for a new bottom job, I put a new product on the props and shafts called GlideCoat which is supposed to keep barnacles and other marine growth off the running gear. After about 40 days in Stuart, I discovered that the growth on the gear was no better than putting NOTHING on at all. How could I make a statement like this? Well, I’ll tell you! When we were painting the product on all the underwater metal (except for the keel coolers, which have to be left bare), I instructed the guy doing the work to leave one light unpainted, but not to tell me which one was left bare. When I got in the water, they were ALL equally barnacle encrusted. So, I took pictures and then scrubbed and scraped everything clean. Later I sent the pictures to the gal that sold me the product, which she forwarded on to the manufacturer, who emailed me right away and asked if I would be willing to let them pull the boat (at there cost) to inspect the running gear and then reapply. Hell Yes!! (More on that later…)
Gori Prop for wing engine
One of the underwater lights
Wing Engine Shaft
- Overheating issue – We had James Knight aboard to help us diagnose an overheating issue we have been having since we bought the boat. Roam will run all day at normal operating speeds, but if you open her up to WOT (Wide open throttle), she overheats after 15-20 minutes. After a couple hours of testing, we decided we were ok to go on to Key West, but we’d stop back by on our way north for an Acid Treatment (more on that later).
Maintenance projects complete, it was time to head south!