Key West Passage for Fantasy Fest
Updated: Jan 23, 2021
We've made the run to Key West countless times at this point and had guests on board a handful of times. This time Kuma Too did great, as usual.
Olde Bay Cafe supplied us with red grouper for dinner the night of our departure, which was delicious! Once Joe prepared the grouper, we untied the lines and set off at 4pm. We had 10 knots of wind out of the east, so as we exited Clearwater Pass, we pulled out full head and main sails. The wind was predicted to increase, so as the sun set, we put 2 reefs in both sails to be prepared for anything to come. To ‘put a reef in’ means to take in some of the sail resulting in less sail space exposed for higher wind speeds. The higher the reef (1, 2, or 3 on Kuma), the less sail space. Joe stayed on watch to get us through busy Tampa Bay Channel while I tried to get a few hours of sleep.
With an almost full moon in the clear night sky, the ocean light up all around us, and as the moon set, the stars shown so bright! As night wore on, the wind did increase to 20-25 knots, and Kuma loved it. We cruised along at 8 knots hugging the shoreline south pass the Charlotte Harbor entrance. As land receded east and we continued directly south, the seas picked up a bit. Kuma experienced some hull slap throughout the morning and afternoon.
Hull slap is when the waves crest between the two hulls of a catamaran causing the water to hit the underside of the boat because it has no where else to go. Hull slap can be loud and feel like banging on the boat. It is normal to have some hull slap in choppy seas, and catamarans are built to take a beating. Kuma continued to chug along at a steady 8 knots, so even though the hull slap was loud, it was still beautiful sailing weather. As dinnertime approached, the wind fell off, and we experienced calm seas to cook and eat Italian meatloaf. After shaking out the reefs in the sails, we did have to turn on the motor for about an hour, as our speed dropped to 2 knots. As the sun set, the wind picked back up to 15 knots, so we sailed with 1 reef in the main sail and a full head sail. We cannot reef our main sail from the cockpit, so we always put a reef in at night because we want to avoid having to go out on deck if possible.
Around 10pm, the wind continued to increase to 20 knots, and Kuma raced through Florida Bay. With 4-foot chop, the ride was a bit bumpy, but Kuma was ready to get there. A smoother ride would have been better for the passengers, but by midnight, we were closing in on the Key West channel. At 1:30am, we entered the channel and dowsed all the sails. It took about an hour to get through the channel and maneuver through the jam-packed anchorage to find a spot to drop the anchor for a peaceful night sleep.
It was a beautiful morning with the sun rising over the island of Key West. Joe and I prepared a hardy all American Breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, and sautéed potatoes before picking up the anchor to head into the marina. Kuma slid nicely into A dock in front of Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West Bight Marina at the Historic Seaport.
We have arrived for the Fantasy Fest festivities! To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!