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The Sailng Vessel Bad Captain at anchor off Boot Key

November 2021 - Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

After one false start that ended with an injury to a crewmember (more on that later), we set sail from St. Andrew Bay at 10:00 a.m. on November 1st, en route to Key West.  As we exited the Panama City Beach Channel, the Gulf of Mexico greeted us with perfect conditions if you were on a motor vessel.  We continued to motor throughout the day and into the evening.  

Despite promises of favorable winds based on the weather models, we continued to motor along into the early afternoon of November 2nd at that point, we adjusted our course in favor of sailing and hoped to make up the extra distance by sailing faster.  With our bow pointed west of the Dry Tortugas, we enjoyed a pleasant sail into the early morning hours of November 3rd.  Just after midnight on November 3rd, we encountered +20 Knot winds with gusts into the mid-twenties and seas of 6 to 9 feet.  We put a reef in the mainsail and reduced the footprint of our foresail by fifty percent.  

The primary feature that attracted me to the Hylas 46 was its reputation for being a proper bluewater boat and its ability to weather just about anything mother nature would throw its way. 

So with a reef in the mainsail, we settled in below to watch a few movies while the storm roared through the Gulf, topside.  By mid-morning, on November 4th, it became evident that the forecasted winds would not materialize from the necessary direction, so we once again started up the motor and beat into the wind in hopes of making Key West by nightfall.  By early evening, we entered the northwest channel for Key West and, with Paolo at the helm, made our way to Stock Island just in time to have the last glimmer of light fall below the horizon. 

November in the Gulf of Mexico