Fort Jefferson, what a beautiful place! Many thanks to our National Park Rangers who help to maintain and preserve the pristine beauty and history of this national monument. Libra took an adventurous crew of six out of Key West to the Dry Tortugas to spend a warm sunny day walking around Fort Jefferson before shoving off to make the remaining 400 miles north to Pensacola. With big winds, strangely from the south that time of year, Libra made some great speeds in the southern part of the Gulf, rocketing along at 10+ knots. The wind died off the last two days of the voyage and the crew spent some very serene, beautiful evenings on the deck of Libra watching the sun dip down below the horizon. Many of the crew members said their biggest takeaway from this voyage was time spent with Captains Ryan and Randy learning sail tactics, navigation and just, in general, a passion for offshore voyaging. Ryan and Randy look forward to sharing the same experience with you: www.saillibra.com/join-a-sail/
Check out Libra! Docked at her very own remote tropical island:
What an incredible trip this was. Each time Libra makes a runs from Key West back to Pensacola, we always try to include a stop in the Dry Tortugas, weather permitting, as it is such a pristine, captivating place to explore. The historic ruins of Fort Jefferson, jewel-toned green waters, excellent snorkeling and diving, not to mention (on this trip) a stop at Libra’s own private island. Captain Ryan bravely nudged Libra up to this dock with just inches to spare under the hull.
The sail from Key West, departing the afternoon of January 4th on an approximate 24-hour run, was calm and required some motor sailing, and the time was spent acclimating the crew to the navigational equipment aboard the boat and the many systems and sail plans as well as enjoying the sunset and a night under crisp stars. Libra docked at Fort Jefferson right at sunrise the following morning and allowed the crew most of the morning free time to explore and learn about the interesting designs and uses of the fort over its lifetime and snorkel around the vastly-populated reefs and pilings along the fort’s shore before sailing over to Loggerhead Key for more snorkeling around “Little Africa” reef on the back side of the island.
Libra tossed the lines around sunset and continued her way approximately 200 nm north to Clearwater to pull out of the Gulf while a cold front set to bring north winds of 25-30 mph rolled through the Gulf. This was when Captain Ryan captured the stunning drone footage of Libra that so many have commented on on our social media pages!
The last 300 nautical miles of the trip, from Clearwater to Pensacola Pass, on the back side of the front in the Gulf, offered some very sport sailing conditions and excellent upwind offshore sail training for the crew. Libra galloped along at an average speed of 8.1, completing the passage in a record 37 hours. It was a wet, windy, memorable ride! Here are some more photos from the sail. Join us next time at www.saillibra.com/join-a-sail/.
National Imagery and Mapping Agency. This the agency that collects data and creates pilot charts. Pilot charts are a collection of historic data over time based on months and seasons. They give the prevailing winds, strengths, wave heights and much more info. Year to year pilot charts do not change (much). View the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico pilot charts below.
Every ocean sailors friend… Here are the charts for the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean