Updated: Nov 26, 2018
We set sail for Sarasota early evening April 7, 2017. Reports were calling for 16-19 knots of wind. Instead, we had a steady 25 knots gusting to 30. As Kuma Too entered Clearwater Pass, the seas picked up to 6-8 foot chop. It was a clear, sunny and fairly warm day, but the seas were irritated. Our hulls were coming completely out of the water and slamming down. Although it was a little nerve wrecking, we were both calm and confident in the boat. The wind was out of the northeast, so we tried to sail with the head-sail. In the end, we motor-sailed without even attempting to put up the mainsail because we were getting knocked so badly. After an hour of very little headway, we discussed our options. The original plan was to spend the night in Manatee River then arrive to Sarasota the next morning, but with the conditions, it would have been after midnight before we made it to Manatee River. We chose to anchor at John’s Pass because we were familiar with the area and would arrive before dark. The current is strong through the pass, and we had to wait for the drawbridge to open in uncomfortable conditions; the waves were broadsiding the boat and spraying all over the deck. As soon as we cleared the bridge, we had dolphins lead us into the calm anchorage! Anchoring in time for a picturesque sunset, it was a relaxing night after a crazy afternoon.
The next morning, we exited John’s Pass into calm seas with a beautiful day ahead. Without much wind, we motor-sailed towards Sarasota. Because we have a 71-foot mast, we cannot fit under the 65-foot Ringling Causeway Bridge. If we had gone to downtown Sarasota, it would have added extra time entering Big Pass, so we chose to enter at New Pass and anchor at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Around 3pm, we anchored at the edge of the mooring field.
After a quick lunch, we readied ourselves to head into St. Armand’s Circle. We docked the dinghy at the sailing school and found our way to the main drag. With a little chill in the air, we made the 40-minute walk. St. Armand’s Circle underwhelmed me, but I’m happy we went and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. There are high-end stores and restaurants all around a busy 2-lane roundabout. I was expecting an area more quaint, like our hometown of Dunedin. We grabbed a Happy Hour drink at a surf-style restaurant then strolled back towards the sailing school. A waterfront restaurant caught our eye, The Old Salty Dog, so we stopped to watch the sunset before calling it a night.
April 9, HAPPY 4th ANNIVERSARY! This morning we had devised a plan to dinghy closer to St. Armand’s Circle rather than walking the 40-minutes again. The dinghy ride was no faster, but it was entertaining. We worked our way around the mangroves, through the shallows and had to paddle a few times, but eventually we anchored outside the small City Island bridge. At La Creperie Caffe everyone was very friendly; we were greeted by a French gentleman then one of the chef’s welcomed us and offered for us to sit anywhere. We grabbed a small table on the patio and ordered a latte and coffee. As we sipped our morning pick-me-ups, we cheers to Kuma’s memory, 2 years since we lost our fur-baby. I savored every drop of my latte and succulent raspberry crepe!
Back on board Kuma Too, we prepared for the 10-hour trip to Dunedin. With calm seas and a light breeze, we had a great afternoon cruising along the coast. We took turns on the helm, lounging on the trampolines, and soaking in the sun. By early evening, the wind picked up, and Kuma was ready to run with a top sailing speed of 8-knots.
Kuma Too settled into our Dunedin anchorage at 9pm after a splendid day on the water. It was fitting that our first anniversary since owning Kuma Too was spent sailing. To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!