Into St. Augustine!

After spending a day anchored in Mayport we headed out again for St. Augustine.  This time with the spare autopilot installed, and much milder wind.  Sea state was predicted to be 3-4ft at St. Augustine instead of 9.9ft we had a couple of days ago.  The marina in St. Augustine was also nice about letting us reschedule our reservation.

We motor-sailed out of Mayport and then turned south on the wind alone.  All good except the shaft alternator didn’t seem to be running right.  I checked it and found a wire had broken loose….but I couldn’t figure out right away where it went.  We left the alternator off since it was a short sail anyway, and we also had solar.  Kellie supervising the port side.

I noticed while we were sailing that the VHF antenna which had been bent passing under the Morehead City Bridge was missing.  I suspect it is somewhere between St. Augustine and Mayport.  It was a rough sloppy ride from Augustine to Mayport, I suspect that was when it broke off.   Will have to climb mast and see what is left up there.  A new antenna is not expensive, $80 USD  just need to check on the connection at the masthead.

Entering St. Augustine this time was “easy-peasy.”  When the buoys are above the water is is really easy to see them.  We also had the assistance of a large motor yacht that entered before us.  They had AIS running so I marked their AIS position on the chart plotter.  When we entered the harbor I followed their path on the plotter, and of course the buoys.   They hugged the red buoys as we did also and I never had less than 4 meters under the keel.

We called the marina and got exactly the mooring spot we wanted.  See the picture below, right off the downtown waterfront.    It took a few tries to tie up as the mooring pennant was wrapped around the chain.  The marina sent a boat out to help us without asking.

We discovered that the marina itself is still pretty beat up from the bout of hurricanes this summer.   Only one pier had boats on it, the others still all askew.

After settled in, I contacted the local West Marine to order parts for the autopilot.  They were the only local “RayMarine dealer” so I had to deal with them.  We needed a  clutch coil and the “secondary planetary gears.” See the picture below of the worn out gears.    They apparently decided to turn into dust!



The fellow at WM was unsure how to get them at first, but eventually figured out what to do and had them back in a few days…at a surprisingly ok price.

Colleen was a little concerned at the mess during the repair…..

When arrived on Monday. Nov 13, the city looked pretty nice with Christmas lights going up.  We didn’t plan it, but on Sunday Nov 18 the city has a Christmas lighting festival in which the whole city get lit up….and boy did they light it up.




We pretty much had the city to ourselves most of the week.  We found a bunch of nice little pubs and eateries, did a winery tour, and got the bikes on shore for some riding.

Sunday during the lighting, was different,  it was crazy-town.  Streets packed as far as the eye could see, and the Christmas lights were suddenly everywhere.

We had dinner at a cool Yucatan themed restaurant, but after that could not get into anyplace due to the crowds.  I hope the crowds will be reduced when my Mom comes in December.