What Do You Mean? We CAN’T Go Sailing…. :(

The boat is ready, the weather is perfect, sunny, white puffy clouds floating across the brilliant blue sky, winds 10-15 out of the Northeast.

When we woke up this morning, paradise seemed to demand that we go sailing.   And we were… until we looked at the tides … unfortunately tides are a limiting factor with a 5 1/2 foot draft boat on the West Coast of Florida (and Bahamas and many other locations as well).

All boats require compromises and when we bought Winterlude, one of our choices was a deeper draft, heavily build, cutaway keel bluewater boat.  We feel safer offshore if we happen to get caught in weather.  The deeper draft heavy boat contributes to a much more comfortable motion than a lighter weight, shallower draft.  But the reality is, although we’ve done week long passages, it is not the norm these days.  But it might be again in the future, so…

Heading Out the Burnt Store Channel at High Tide.  At Low Tide There's Sandbars Encroaching on the Channel on Both Sides.

Heading Out the Burnt Store Channel at High Tide. At Low Tide There’s Sandbars Encroaching on the Channel on Both Sides.

We work with whatever the tides have to offer, which means we need a mid tide, preferably rising to get out and to get back into our marina on Charlotte Harbor.  Just yesterday we talked to some visiting boats from Marco Island that bumped in the short, but sometimes treacherous channel leading to the marina.


Our “tide” indicator. If the line is under water, we can clear the channel with no problem. Touching the water is iffy and out of the water is no go. This is as good as it got today with the NE wind… keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Tomorrow’s high tide schedule looks much more promising and we won’t have to be back in at a specific time because the low tide is still a positive half foot, not ideal, but likely doable.  Of course, all that’s in a normal day.  Right now the wind is blowing 10-15 from the NE, meaning it’s blowing water OUT of the marina, making all the tides less than what the tide charts say.

So today, we opted to do a bit of work on the boat, then take a long walk around the marina area … where we were treated to watching, not one, not two, but THREE American Bald Eagles lazily soaring over the marina.  And as we were entralled with the bald eagles grace, we heard a faint “whooo whoooo”.  Both of us caught it at the same time and immediately turned around.

Burnt Store Baby Owl

Burnt Store Owl

Two years ago, we’d walked past the owl’s next every day we were in the marina and watched as the white fuzzy juvenile grew into its great horned owl feathers.  Last year they were gone and the ospreys pretty much destroyed the nest.  But someone told us the owls return every two years.   So we were looking, but saw nothing in the nest on our walk out.  And we didn’t see them returning either, until we were just past the nest and heard the faint whoooo whoooo.   David is the world’s best spotter when it comes to most things, whether it’s a hogfish or grouper hiding under a ledge from his speargun or other wildlife, including birds.  Sure enough hidden in the trees foliage, we soon spotted two great horned owls.  These guys are BIG!

How was your day?  I hope you got to go sailing!  I’m looking forward to tomorrow!  Cheers!   Jan


2 great horned owls 3 american bald eagles


  1. Barry Brewer says:

    Hi Jan;
    REALLY enjoy your webpage, and learn a LOT about sailing/boating/cruising from you guys… Thank you so much for doing what you do….
    That said, I’m confused by your picture caption about the rope in the water, and high tides and low tides. The way it reads to me, is backwards from what I would think would be the case… Shouldn’t the rope be OUT of the water during low tide, and THAT’S when it’s a no-go situation??
    Regardless, thank you again for updating your blog… I’m a fan!!

    • Hi Barry! Yes, low tide = line out of the water. Line under water = good to go… may have to go back & check what I wrote! THANKS for pointing it out, Barry! Cheers! Jan

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