Raise the sails!! Woot woot, we’re going SAILING!! After installing two of our six solar panels, we fire up the engine to make sure Mr. Beke still runs, and we’re off the dock. We cross Mobile Bay chauffeured by a pod of dolphins, and enter the GICW (Gulf Intracoastal Waterway) which takes us to LuLu’s and Pirate’s Cove. We’re elated to be on the move again, and ready to begin our adventures in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
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Our camera gear:
We’re going to be raising our sails for the first time in almost five months.
[Kirk] Say goodbye to Mobile.
[Kirk] So this one we’re supposed to get 4.2 amps out of, so that’s very close. That’s very good. There’s the sunrise.
[Lauren] Last time, we went through some of our highest highs and lowest lows. After teaching himself electrical wiring from scratch, Kirk finished rewiring our new battery bank.
Got everything rewired up. I’m pretty stoked.
[Lauren] And after an incredibly frustrating and disappointing experience trying to work with a metal fabricator to build an arch for our boat, we called it quits on the entire project. How many times are they gonna say, yeah, we’ll have it finished, and how long are we gonna be here? It would have been fine if the product was good, but it’s not. Thankfully we had saved our stern rail and radar pole that we had taken off the boat a month prior. Within an afternoon, we had the boat back together again, and we were nearly ready to set sail.
So while I’m climbing around in the dirty bilges, doing electrical, bashing my knuckles, working on the engine, here’s what little Miss Lauren’s doin’. Remember to activate those arms, Lauren.
Okay. We’re so ready to sail though, love.
[Kirk] We are.
We’re so close.
[Kirk] You do that, I’m gonna drink a beer.
[Lauren] We got nowhere to put ’em.
We got $1500 worth of solar panels and now we don’t have anywhere to put ’em.
These are the custom solar panels we had ordered to fit the bimini that we were no longer getting. Wanna open ’em though and see ’em?
[Lauren] Oh look, it says fragile.
Must be Italian.
[Male Actor] Fragile. That must be Italian.
I think that says fragile, honey.
It’s been opened more than once.
[Lauren] By some customs agents?
Yeah. It’s interesting that they say 50 on them.
[Lauren] What are the supposed to be?
This one’s supposed to be 80, and the two smaller ones in here are supposed to be 50. Yeah, it keeps saying 50 watt. Wonder if there’s a thing about importing 50 watts or less, ’cause it’s taped over all of these things.
[Lauren] Apparently that was 60? I thought we got four 80 watts.
Four 80 watts and two 50 watts is what we should have.
It does say 80.
[Lauren] Does it?
Yeah on the back.
[Lauren] They are way less flexible than I thought. Wow, they’re a lot heavier than I thought too.
Shall we go test it on the bimini? See how it fits?
80 watt number two.
And yeah, there’s supposed to be a 20.06 open voltage on this one.
[Lauren] And what are we getting?
20.4 right now, so that’s very close. That’s very good. You want a high voltage because the more voltage difference you have between your charging source and your batteries, the faster it will be able to accept the charge, especially with the multi point performance tracking solar charge controllers. It actually converts this 20 volts into the appropriate voltage for charging the battery, and it uses the extra voltage to boost the amperage, so you get more amps when you have a higher voltage. We’re gonna have to double check all that, but pretty sure that’s how that all works.
[Lauren] Wait, what was this?
You have to double check all that. 2.4 amps.
[Kirk] Full sun.
[Lauren] Well, cloudy.
In your shadow. Let’s get the other one and do the same thing. So that last panel was supposed to give us 2.94 amps, and we were getting 2.4 in kinda hazy cloudy weather. So that’s pretty good. So this one we’re supposed to get 4.2 amps out of and a 22.4 open voltage. So what did I say, 22.4? We’re at 22.6, 22.7, let me tilt it up, probably get a little more and 23. Okay, so that’s quite good. Oh, look at that, full sun coming out. Okay, and we are getting 2.8.
Each panel passed the performance test, so the last job we did before departure was mounting up the two panels we did have space for on the dodger.
Where we need to go.
We could get to Pensacola in two days.
So we have to follow the channel the for the first third of the way.
And then we can cut across.
One thing we still had to do before leaving that we hadn’t done in a while? Route planning.
So right now in the afternoon, the tide is coming up. We’re going to be fighting almost a knot of current.
Which requires a lot of staring at cruising guides, plugging in hypothetical destinations, and navionics, checking the weather, checking the tides, and calculating mileage.
So what does 32 miles take us? Seven hours?
Trig would help us now. An average speed of five miles an hour. Because if we’re gonna sail, we don’t know how much. Especially if the wind is coming out of the south if we’re actually going to be able to get enough off the wind to sail. And then we’re motoring pretty much the rest of the way to Pensacola ’cause it’s in a tight channel.
We plan to meet my parents in Pensacola and with only a few days before their arrival, we discussed our best options for how to get there.
We thought we were leaving tomorrow. Your parents got that spot in Pensacola Beach, right?
Do we want to meet them, at Pirate’s Cove with the boat?
That’s what I thought.
There’s the sunrise. It’s lookin’ like it’s gonna be a beautiful morning to set sail.
Morning. Ah, look at that. Oh, look at that.
[Kirk] Yeah, it’s a full moon.
Today we leave. Yes!
[Kirk] Pretty nice start to the day, huh?
Yeah it’s really gorgeous.
Today’s the day.
Today’s the day we get to leave Mobile and set off for clear blue crystal waters and white sand beaches and all that fun stuff. We’ve been here for three months. We didn’t get done everything we wanted to get done.
And we ran into some issues. Some pretty big ones, but it’s an absolutely gorgeous day, and we are gettin’ outta here.
We’re gonna be raising our sails for the first time in almost five months, so that’s-
We’re supposed to have some pretty strong winds through noon today. They’re kinda light right now right here, but we’re tucked away in the marina, so it might get a little bit windy when we get out there.
But, it looks absolutely gorgeous right now. Let’s do it.
[Lauren] We’re leaving Turner.
[Lauren] Good morning guys.
[Lauren] I don’t think I caught that on camera.
Can you do me two huge favors?
Can you grab sunglasses and my yellow jacket.
How do you feel?
Feel great! Just gettin’ used to the boat moving and being keeled over and the different noises we’re makin’. Whatever that is.
Oh, what’s that? What?
Oh, I think it’s that rolling back and forth. So you think this guy’s gonna cross over in front of me?
Ah, yeah. It feels new. It feels slightly weird.
It’s been so long. And it’s not like we stopped sailing and left the boat. We’ve been living on the boat. The boat feels more like an apartment than a sailboat. Now today, today we sail!
[Kirk] As soon as we round this one flight right here, we can go down wind a little more.
We’re salty now.
Right now we’re like beam onto it.
Pulling right to starboard. Trying to dodge the crab pots. Frickin’ everywhere. Impossible to see right now.
[Kirk] There’s some big rollers.
[Kirk] Hey, hey guys! Woohoo!
18 knots of wind in the channel. 100 foot wide channel, we’re doin’ it.
[Kirk] Loungin’ around while I do all the work.
Yep. As per usual.
[Kirk] Mobile Bay water and blue water. Say goodbye to Mobile.
[Kirk] It’s a bay just for us with one sailboat in it.
I think there’s a couple there. No, those are floating somethings.
[Kirk] What’d you see?
Saw more dolphins.
[Kirk] So where are we?
Right now, we just left Mobile Bay, and we are now on the ICW and we’re a couple miles away from Lulu’s which is a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. We’re gonna get our cheeseburgers in paradise.
♪ Cheeseburgers in paradise ♪
[Kirk] So we have the new solar.
[Lauren] Actually, can you get a cheeseburger in paradise? If not-
We’re sailing. Actually, we’re motoring, but we’re moving.
We’re motoring into the side of the ICW.
[Lauren] Kirk, what are we getting?
♪ Gonna get a cheeseburger in paradise. ♪ ♪ Ketchup and mustard, onions be nice. ♪
[Lauren] Oh, sandy beach! I mean it’s not really a beach. It’s like a giant playpen, but I’ll take it.
[Kirk] We can wait. We’ll sit at the bar until we get table by the water.
[Lauren] Watcha lookin’ at?
I was just readin’ about her bio thing. Our job is to make you forget about yours for a while.
You mean cleaning mold out of a boat? That’s my job.
[Kirk] Whatever they are, they look heavy.
We are pulling into Pirate’s Cove right now, which is a funky little marina, apparently. We’re gonna anchor out right here in this little basin somewhere and dingy on up to go have a beer.
[Lauren] Or a cocktail. Let’s be real.
[Kirk] A cocktail.
[Lauren] Shoot, I missed it.
That was Pirate’s Cove tellin’ us to come and get a drink.
Drop hook and come on up to the bar.
[Lauren] It’s like shoot, what did we do? Look at that, pretty.
[Kirk] Look at the sunset.
[Lauren] Your rowing style’s hilarious.
I wanted to be able to look at you.
[Lauren] I think all the sap shows up on these camera clips.
[Kirk] Did I get you with sand?
Oh my gosh, so much sand in my eye. Terrible idea.
[Kirk] Perfect high waters. Yeah, I just wanted to call and say hi while I was.
[Lauren] We got a pizza. I wanna take it back to the boat because it’s kind of chilly and we’re gonna huddle inside and eat our pizza.
We are about to head out.
On our first sail in the gulf. Wow, look at that.