Monday, June 1, 2009

In port

Once you are in the care of Gary, you can bet that you will not have much time for the boat. Gary is a wonderful host who likes to take you to most of the good places that he knows.
So, that first evening on Thursday, once I had taken my fuel and tied up at my dock, we were off first to take care of a few items on "the list", and then to Melbourne where Gary showed me the historic downtown, before visiting a busy irish pub to sample the beer of the day (I settled down for a draught Killian) and then going for dinner to a very nice restaurant in the area. After dinner, we got to visit another bar, with music (not too loud) and patrons covered in tattoos. And then, back to the boat, much later than my usual bedtime.
Friday morning, I had a late morning and took care of a very few items aboard, before Gary was back to take me for a little more shopping and then lunch at Cape Canaveral. In the afternoon, nap time while Gary went to Melbourne to pick up David who had taken the bus from Miami.
That evening, Gary had organised dinner with friends, some of whom might form the nucleus of a new group of brothers in Cocoa Beach. There was Roland and his son Justin, Dave who had sailed on Papy Jovial on her first outing from Jacksonville to Cape Canaveral last year, Daphne, friend of Gary who owns a travel agency in the area, and of course David, Gary and myself.
After dinner at Roberto's, a very good cuban restaurant in Cocoa Beach, Gary tried to drag us to the "Inner Room", his favourite top less bar. In the entrance, I could feel that the air conditionning was set a its max, and I turned away, for fear of getting too cold. So, instead, we went to a bar on the beach for a couple of "night caps" before returning to the boat.
Friday morning, I could take advantage of David's presence to get a few things done on deck, like installing the new VHF in the cockpit, securing the attachment for the 1st and 2nd reef line on the boom, installing a guide for the spinnaker halyard, which tends to stay to far away from the mast and does not sit properly on the winch. When it came to install the third reef, I discovered that the strap for the rings that go on the hook at the head of the boom was at least 2 inches too short which means that I could not take the third reef. When I called North Sails in Hampton, I only had to say one or two words before they described the problem back to me, which means that they are used to it and where aware of its possibility. Yet, they delivered to me a main sail not fitted properly. That coupled with the fact that they had sent back to me the lazy bag with no opening for the third reef does not say much about their professionalism.
For lunch, Gary took us to "Hooters" in Merritt Island, before we tried at Radio Shack to find a coupling to replace the one that failed on the coax fitted to my Wifi antenna. No luck ! I will have to try and see with the electronician in Fort Lauderdale if they can help.
By the time we got back to the boat, it was almost time to go out again, this time to Roland's, who had prepared a wonderful "chili con carne". After dinner, Gary and David headed out for the "Inner Room" and Roland took Justin and myself back to the boat. I had invited Justin to sail with us down to Fort Lauderdale, and this nice 14 years old kid was very excited and very much looking forward to his first outing at sea.
After I showed him the basics on the boat, we went to bed in anticipation of an 8 o'clock departure tomorrow.

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