Sunday, March 04, 2007


Team RAF left CP1 Sunday morning sometime after 8:00am refreshed and with all gear functioning properly. The yellow "Rise" and orange "Fall" double outrigger sailing canoes headed south out of Placida Harbor (Gasparilla Sound) to cross the six-mile wide open waters of Charlotte Harbor down to Pine Island Sound.

Winds were favorable, flowing out of the North at 10 knots.

All previous problems had been repaired on the "Fall": leeboard break, boom fork break, footbrace detachment.

Midday: Captain SOS called in at 11:59 am on March 4th to report position ( N26 35.500' W82 11.658' ) well down in Pine Island sound approaching Sanibel Island. He said they were enjoying the sailing with North winds at their backs blowing a brisk 10 knots. They were sailing fast at about 8knots and were taking turns sleeping / piloting.

He reported that another footbrace had detached since they left CP1: one in the front cockpit of "Fall" (that would be BrownBeard's) and that on-the-water temporary repair had been made. "Fall" now being steered from the rear cockpit only (that would be Captain Kotzebue's).

Sundown: Near dusk, Captain SOS called again at 5:25 pm on March 4th. They were 3 nautical miles off shore from Bonita Beach ( N26 20.782' W81 55.047' ) in the Gulf.

During the cellphone call, SOS and Kotzebue relayed information back and forth via their VHF radios during the phone call.

SOS said the winds had swirled lightly earlier near San Carlos Island but the winds were good again now and they were sailing at 6.1 - 6.5 mph (5.3 - 5.6 knots). No (new) problems reported.

The marine forecast for the open Gulf waters: North winds 10-15 knots this evening, tonight and tomorrow with seas staying at 2-3 feet and with bay and inland waters "a light chop".

Team RAF was making a bee line for Big Marco Pass 23.7 nmiles to the SSE with E.T.A. being 9:40 pm.

What they do at Marco Island will depend on the weather and their condition.

At Marco there is the option of entering Big Marco Pass to take an inside route going around the north (mainland) side of Marco Island to get into the Ten Thousand Islands area where CP2 is located.

The other option is to stay in the Gulf and take an outside route around the south side of Marco Island and then turn ESE into the Ten Thousand Islands area.

CP2 on an island called Chokoloskee at Everglades City located 3 miles into the keys that make up the Ten Thousand Islands area.

Night: SOS called in at 10:13 pm on March 4th to report position (N 25° 56.040' W 81° 45.760') and conditions. They were sailing reefed at 6 knots under a clear sky with full moon. The rollercoaster seas had calmed a little bit in the last 10 minutes.

Between 5pm and 10pm a the North wind had shifted and flowing out of the West had kicked up the seas with waves rolling in from the Gulf. Temperatures also dropped. SOS said that the previous 20 minutes had been "eventful" with speeds up to 12.4 knots surfing down gimongous swells and slowing to 4 knots on the uphills. Sounds like a roller coaster. For several hours the winds had been 15 knots with higher gusts. Some breaking waves came over the decks but the cockpits were mostly dry.

And Kotzebue had to change the batteries in his VHF radio during this. Team RAF has been making outstanding use of channel 73 on the VHF radios.

No new problems reported. SOS (in "Rise") and Kotzebue (in "Fall") were doing all the steering with their foot pedals, so their legs are getting tired of that. The footpedals in the front cockpit of "Fall" were not functioning, so if Kotzebue's footpedals fail too the "Fall" would have to resort to some form of emergency rudder control.

They had 9 miles to go to reach the southern tip of the cluster of islands around the city of Marco Island, Floriday. At the tip, or Morgan Point on Cape Romano as it is known, they planned to "turn left" and head SE to make a bee line for Indian Key. Morgan Point to Indian Key is 14 miles.

Their ETA at Indian Key was 2:00 am or a bit later. Long day.

Tide tables showed that high tide at Cape Romano would occur at 1:17 am which is about the time the "Rise" and "Fall" would be sailing through that area. A full moon, cloudless skies, North winds at 10+ knots, and plenty of water beneath the boats --what more could you want! Hang tough little double-outrigger sailing canoes.

Late Night: At 12:48 am on March 5th with very poor cellphone connection. Location was (N 25° 48.901' W 81° 37.837') 10 miles from Indian Key. Their bearing to Indian Key was 94° true --almost due East. At that time, current weather reports ( for Marco Island claimed that the winds were NNW and light at about 6 mph. That might mean that their E.T.A. at Indian Key would be 3am.
Wee Hours: From 12:48 am to 3:00 am, Team RAF sailed/paddled East from near Morgan Point at Cape Romano to Round Key in very light winds. Team RAF reached Round Key at 3:00 am camped. From their position at 12:48 am, Round key was four miles closer than Indian Key. The distance from Round Key to Indian Key is 4.5 miles.

Its Another Day: Team RAF awoke at 8am to find 50 yards of mud flats between them and the water but the tide rising. At 9:00 am they called in to say that as soon as they can deal with this, they will sail to Indian Key and from there to CP2. No new were problems reported. Everyone is doing well. Perhaps they got 5 hours of sleep.

Team RAF

Captain of the orange "Fall"
Chief Navigator

Propulsion Engineer on the orange "Fall"
Chief Science Officer

Propulsion Engineer on the yellow "Rise"
Chief Transportation Officer

Captain of the yellow "Rise"
RAF Team Leader

[DancesWithSandyBottom reporting]

No comments: