‘Blade Runner’ in Key West for Xmas
We arrived at Clearwater Beach and were greeted by our past clients and friends, Ron and Caren. Their GB42 ‘Blade Runner’ is moored behind their beautiful home and also seemed glad to see us. Ron and Caren became ‘Blade Runner’s’ owners less than a year ago. Since then they have transformed the boat from and aging dowager queen into a beautiful young princess! Built in 2000 it has had a succession of good, caring owners but Ron and Caren easily take first prize. The boat now looks as if it just arrived from the Grand Banks Factory yesterday. We have the responsibility of taking their ‘Baby’ to Key West, so after going over the boat, and a great dinner together, we turned in for an early morning departure.
With a good weather forecast for the next 3 days we left Clearwater Pass at the first hint of dawn. Ron and Caren accompanied us to the outer mark in their Albury Skiff to get some early morning shots of ‘Blade Runner’ underway. We turned south towards Egmont Chanel outer marks and then to Venice, dodging hundreds of stone crab pots. After fueling at the Crows Nest Marina we moved to our alongside slip, washed the salt off, checked all the engine room levels and conferred with a diver to make sure the bottom was clear of any debris, as a strange vibration had developed during the day. The diver reported that all the running gear was clear so the source of the vibration had to be somewhere else. At 1700 we poured ourselves an adult beverage and adjusted our attitude on the bridge deck watching the sunset over the Gulf.
Heading out of the Venice inlet at 0700 we began another day of light winds, fair sea conditions and thousands of crab pots! Unfortunately we still had a vibration. Lots of head scratching and eliminating various possibilities in the engine and drive line, leaving us with the suspicion that the starboard vibration dampener was the culprit. The Raymarine system was also up to it’s old tricks, losing the GPS signal every few hours, and the depth readout at the most critical moments. At 1500 we arrived at the Marco Island entrance and were safely tied up at Factory Bay Marina at 1530.
Another beautiful day for a 0645 departure to begin the 88 Nautical Mile run to Key West. 8 more hours of dodging crab pots and we entered the Key West Channel and then to the Galleon Marina where we ran down between the outer breakwater and the first row of slips, and into a slip only one foot wider than the boat.
Total Distance: 228 NM
Total Running Hours: 23
Average Speed: 9.9 Knots @ 1800 – 2000 RPM