Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wand'rin Star Returns to Port A with Apothaker

After the 5 hr to Austin from Big Springs I decided to Jump in the Little Truck that Can and Head for Corpus, just a short 3.5 hour trip. Sunset on I35 Southbound.

My Apothaker friends were in Corpus preparing this Awesome Erickson 36 for a trip to Kemah. When they heard I planned to spend a night in Port A they reconfigured and led the way. see the action here: http://youtu.be/4UCUY9ulI58 by the way that's Earnie at the Helm and he's Killin it!

Safely Moored in Port A, First time to actually sail the entire distance from Corpus, all other times as soon as we turned into the shipping Channel we were head to wind and had to put away the sails and motor. It's Awesome sailing all the way down the Channel from Ingelside to Port A.

Randy II  in the center, my first Mate for the weekend excursion

So many great memories with this vessel!

 Captain of Apotheker Jim, Randy II and Wife Pat, Captain Phillip and Lieutenant Commander Jeff, Where is Earnie and Linda?

The Best Shrimp Boat in Texas the Poly Anna

This bad girl pulled in right in front of Wand'rin Star, There was a Big fishing tournament going on in Port A

They got busy cleaning the boat but I knew it would not be long to see what they caught out in the gulf of Mexico.

This chair was busy

From the top Three Big Groupers, a Wahoo, Vermilion Snapper, and a Dolpinfish AKA Mahi-Mahi

They promptly filleted the catch

Who it that guy on the right?, It's Don Glandt, I did not recognize him out of his work clothes, then I heard his voice. Evidently a pretty good fisherman as well as the best person in Corpus when you need any kind of  mechanical  work on your Sailboat.

We all headed out in a very crowded Port A in search of food.

After many trials we finally found Cancun Mexican Restaurant, Mighty Fine!
Told Randy I was not going back till I sailed in the Gulf of Mexico

Back in Corpus doing the wash and watching the Sailing camp have a great time.

The best part of The Austin airport is the Food and Live Music, a couple of Salt Lick Tacos to help the beer go down.

Wand'rin Star Returns to Port A with Apothaker

We had a great but short trip to Big Springs. My son drove the whole trip so I could completely relax since he drives so much like me, but even safer. We got back in Austin around 18:00 so I called my friend Mark in New Braunfels thinking I might just drive down there for the night. The AC in The Little Truck that Can was not working well, I shot a little Freon in it and it was better but not good enough to cool in the Texas heat. So after getting on the road I though it would be best to just make the drive at night, at least it would be a little cooler.
I made it in good time to Corpus but I was amazed to see all the flares from all the Fracking along The Eagle ford Sale corridor. in some places there were so many it looked like the street lights of a small town. How does the water taste?
Arriving about 21:30 I went immediately to the boat and turned on both AC's stowed my stuff and then went to HEB while the boat cooled down. I slept like a Big Texas Baby and finally woke around 10:00 ready to go.
I spent the next three days doing maintenance and fixing stuff I did not get to last time. somehow I got the Autopilot, the Anemometer, and the Radar all working again  I ordered and installed a new Mermaid condensator in the forward AC. I finally replaced some 100 wiring to the aft AC that I was concerned about and did some thru-hull maintenance as well. During all this fix up I had to go get parts so each time I stopped I shot a little more Freon in the Little Truck's AC and finally it roared to life and worked great. Corpus is no place to be in the Spring, Summer of Fall without AC.
Randy who lives on M/V bout Time just a few slips down cleaned the Hull one last time, his full time job just got fuller. I was looking forward to taking another overnight sail to Port A since my maintenance list turned out successful and I had a nice, clean fast, bottom. But my Apothaker friends were due to be in Corpus for the weekend to get the Erickson 36 ready to go to Kemah. I wanted to be sure to have some time to visit this crew as well. After they arrived I asked them if they wanted to go to Port A for the weekend and after a short crew pow-wow they figured they could get all the work done and  booked the trip.
We were all off around 10:00 Saturday morning and were treated to some pretty gusty WNW winds in the 20-30 range. Randy Ii came along as firt Mate on Wand'rin Star allowing me plenty of time to try and balance the sails while he was at the helm. With the 50% reefed main and just about 30% of the genoa out we found some kind of balance in the winds but the gust always approached 30 mph so after a while pointing became an issue so I decided  to get a little motor assist and just motor sail all rest of the way to Port A. We caught up with Apothaker as we entered the Corpus Christi Ship Channel near Ingelside and stayed right behind them sailing the entire distance out the channel to Port A. This is the first time I have ever been able to leave my sails up heading out the channel since the usual prevailing winds are on the nose. It made for a great trip.We got some good pics of Apothaker and it was obvious Ernie was having a great time at the helm of Apothaker.
We knew there was a big fishing tournament in Port A and wondered what we would find when we docked at the transient docks at the municipal marina. Most of the big sport fishers were docked elsewhere but one came in right next to us so we got a great show as they eventually offloaded their catch and immediately started to fillet and bag the catch.
Linda and Pat soon arrived by car and we all had another fine Port A afternoon and sunset. Soon Food became  a priority and the search was on. The usual July  Tourist Season + the big fishing tournament had every restaurant packed with 2+ hour waits, we continued the hunt and were thankful to find a waiting table at Cancun Mexican restaurant, we almost threw int he towel as some were saying, lets just go to Whataburger.
One of the motivations for spending a night in Port A is the opportunity to sail out in the Gulf of Mexico before returning to Corpus. Apothaker had a schedule to keep so they sailed straight back to Corpus but especially since Randy II stayed overnight and I had able and willing crew I definitely wanted to wash the hull in the Gulf. The winds were good and not overpowering, We had full sail out and enjoyed almost 2 hours in the Gulf. As we headed back in and entered the ship channel the winds picked up a couple of knots but I did not feel we would have to reef. We were enjoying a great close reach but as the winds picked up as we neared the Corpus Bay I knew we would have to reef the sails in at it was blowing 20 but not near as gusty.No motor needed today. We fell to a beam then a broad reach as we set our course to the marina and we were enjoying a nice 7 knot + romp across the Bay. rare to have two days in a row of winds in the right direction allowing a sail the full distance. Since Randy II is soon to begin their long awaited cruise to somewhere with his Admiral Pat on their Morgan 40 Out Islander (he has restored to Bristol condition), I felt the need to share a few tips that helped us on our cruise around the gulf of Mexico. We had a great time talking cruise stuff and I could just feel the excitement in Randy build as they do the final preparations to exit Corpus Christi. Just one of the great things about H-dock is there is always a friend or 4 there when you arrive to assist with dock lines making docking easy. Wandrin Star entering the North end of Corpus Marina: http://youtu.be/i0BnGxHdmKQ and arriving on H dock: http://youtu.be/SxwvibIuePE
The next couple of days I spent doing interior cleaning maintenance. before heading back to Seattle.

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