The weather in Jacksonville for the last week and a half has been horrible. Very hot during the days, usually upwards of 95+, and then violent storms blowing through around 4:00 or so. We had 50 knot winds rampage the marina last Thursday and a new Beneteau 34 got hit by lightning, about 4 slips down from Skylark. Fortunately no one was hurt and the only damage known so far was a lost antennae where the lightning hit. Actually, we are having some what of a rough night tonight. A lot of rain and wind again. Also seems as if the river is picking up a bit. That's the life on board at a marina, you never know what you are a going to get on a day to day basis.
We did however great a break in the weather last weekend and took advantage by taking a cruise down to St. Augustine. My buddy Trevor offered up his Hunter 30 for the adventure and we left Friday morning with the tide. With the winds directly out of the south, we decided to motor down the ICW, about 65 nm miles total. We had a good weather all the way and got in around 8:30pm, about 11 hours after we left. Needless to say, we were exhausted and basically crashed early. We had our choice of mooring balls on the north side of the bridge and were right off the fort. A very nice view to say the least.
We stayed Saturday and took in some sights. St. Augustine is a really nice town and I would recommend it to anyone cruising the area. I will say though you must be very vigilant following the channel markers. Even a few feet off and you will run aground, so keep one eye on your position and one on the GPS.
Sunday morning, we dropped the mooring and headed for the inlet, only about a mile or so from the anchorage. Another great reason to make St. Augustine a stop over, easy access and great facilities.
We stayed in the channel to the third marker before turning north and the run up to Mayport. The winds were light, only about 5-10 from the east. We had the sails up right away and were making about 4.5 to 5 knots. Seas were about 2 feet, so all in all a nice sail. Unfortunately, we lost the wind about half way up and had to motorsail the rest of the way. Around 2:30 pm, we reached the Mayport inlet and rode the flood all the way back to the marina, never falling under 7 knots.
We had a great trip and I was happy to be out on the water.