Home page

Viking Rose passing under the Sunshine Parkway Bridge
Tampa, Florida

On Monday, August 24th, we left St. Petersburg, Florida and passed under the Tampa Bay Bridge, accompanied by James.  A former Navy Seal  who had sailed for fourteen years, he volunteered to travel with us the first day and taught us a lot in a very short time.   We crossed Tampa Bay and went to Desoto Point where Desoto is believed to have first landed in on the North American continent.

We anchored there the first night and James helped us chart our course.  The next morning, we swam to shore and watched a video at park headquarters.  James returned to St. Petersburg as we started the adventure, now on our own. 

Desoto Point

Former Navy Seal James helps Bob chart our course from Desoto Point  south. 

The next day, we traveled to Venice, Florida where we tried to anchor for two hours and finally got a slip at the Crow's Nest Marina just before dark. The dock master explained that a strong tide was our problem, exacerbated by a full keel.  The following day on the way to Charlotte Harbor, the crisis of the day occurred.  The starter solenoid switch engaged when the wires vibrated loose, shorted and turned on the starter motor while the engine was running.  Sounded like all hell was breaking loose!  Bob figured out what had happened but didn't know whether the engine would start again after we turned it off.  We decided to go to a marina that night, just in case we didn't have an engine the next morning.

The engine did start and everything worked well, especially the autopilot Bob installed.  The boat drives itself with little help.  We have a computer program for the laptop called The Captain.  It shows the boat's location and progression on a chart.  We bought a lightning ion-dissipater,  the only possible protection from lightning.  It may or may not work, but we had to make the effort, given the boat's history.  Of course, we have insurance, but we hope we don't have to use it.

Home page