We just entered the Straights of Florida and will cross the Gulf Stream during the night tonight. If all goes well we should be in Key West tomorrow around noon. There is no wind again today so we are motoring, we still have enough fuel so that shouldn't pose a problem either.
So with our arrival tomorrow we put to rest four back to back deliveries and a full month at sea. The distance we have covered since the middle of May is more than we would have sailed if we had crossed the Atlantic. While this is an unusual job it also is very satisfying to me. I have spent a month with my oldest son and most of a month with a friend who, though I only met him this year, the offshore miles has made into what I hope will be a lifelong friendship.
When I fly back to St Thomas from Key West I leave Jimmy with the owner of Simpatica to continue on up the Gulf Coast of Florida. This will be Jimmy's first time to crew on his own. Jimmy will then fly back to the Rocky Mountains. He will spend the next year living with his Grandparents, finishing school, and then it is his hope to join the US Coast Guard.
With Jimmy moving off the boat Rebecca and I will experience, for the very first time, the joy and concerns faced by parents whose kids head off to start their own lives. The boat will have a little more room in it but that room already seems more like a hole that can't be filled. This summer Wandering Dolphin will be missing a vital crew person as well. I am sure that EmilyAnne and the little boys will begin to take on tasks that Jimmy has always done.
My fall deliveries are already short crewed without him. If any of you are interested in crewing or know anyone who might even want to experience an offshore passage like the one we are about to finish please contact me.
Simpatica: When we left St Thomas I had my doubts about her. I am used to sailing heavier boats with auto pilots, chart plotters, a dodger, (nav lights- kidding), etc. But she has proven to be a good boat and while I would never recommend a Jeaneau for an around the world trip or a long offshore passage, for this trip along the islands, or for the coasts, she sails great and has held her own course with very little work from the guy at the helm.
I will send out one more blog tomorrow to let you know that we made it safe. Thanks to all of you who have ridden along with us, sent us jokes, encouragement, and riddles. You have in a very real way become a part of this passage!
On The Home Stretch,
Captain Tofer, Richard, Jimmy