Vero Beach and City Marina anchorage:

Vero is always an experience!  Last year we anchored in the north end of the marina mooring field close to the mangroves. This year we splurged on a mooring ball for 400$US per month so that we could access the dinghy dock and laundry and showers.  It’s actually not a bad price compared to other marinas in Florida. The amenities are worth it. We can do laundry relatively pain-free at the marina, just have to get the loads into the dinghy and to the laundry room. There is about 12 or so machines and they are each $2 per cycle. Last year, we carted our loads to a laundro-mat using our good friend Bob’s Toyota.  The showers are spotless and wonderful as we don’t have pressured water or hot water on the boat so our “showers” are basically a dip in the ocean, soap up and rinse using a fertilizer spray gun hooked onto a pressurized canister. It works great but definitely not the hot salt bubble baths I’m used to.  Most “yachts” come with hot pressure water but we chose to build one that doesn’t require maintenance in isolated areas, meaning no pump outs and no plumbing break-downs which are common-place among sailboats , especially in isolated islands with no means by which to fix them. 

So, we do without, reminiscent of my interior Algonquin Park camping days of my youth but much more comfortable. I think it’s actually good for people to experience a little discomfort in their lives every once in a while ; either by not having hot water or not being able to just drop laundry into your own private machine or press a button and have dishes done for me.  It’s also a challenge to make do with the food that you provision with and not being able to “pop to the store” to grab last minute dinner” or a snack you are craving.  Craving is a common emotion on a boat that I’m getting used to dealing with I come up with creative alternatives such as keto chocolate chip cookies when I dream of Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt.  David and I are pretty strict about not having junk food on the boat so when you get a craving, there is no option but to get creative. We do make exceptions for chocolate and nacho chips with salsa and popcorn for our popcorn nights. I decided to add a little section on my creative concoctions. 

The mooring at Vero Beach was very secure and central however, the young couple who own the ” what we thought abandoned boat” that we had to share the mooring ball with showed up for a week to work on their boat.  Nice couple but they listen to some very interesting yoga / East Indian flute empowered music and they work at night and sleep in until 10 or 12 in the morning..David and I are usually in bed by 9pm and the first night they stayed up , we felt like we were in the middle of a Shrine in New Delhi.  Remember, we are tied up to their boat so the music was right beside us- LOUD and CLEAR.  Between the oppressive heat, no breeze as the mooring was so wind protected and the no see ums and the weird yoga music 10 feet away, I was going to lose my mind.  So,,, for the safety of all concerned, including myself, I asked David, who is our social butterfly to ask the couple nicely to turn the music off at night.  My alternative was to blast some gospel music at 6am but thankfully it didn’t come to that. They weren’t there long and actually were a super nice couple. The boat needed ALOT of work before their goal next year of the transatlantic.  I hope the boat is sturdier than it looks and they make it without issue.

One thing we decided on after our month in Vero was that if we stayed there again, we would anchor out away from the marina where there is a breeze even if we had to put up with a little wave from boat traffic and wind action. The heat and humidity and no-see-ums were very uncomfortable and I counted the days that David would finish his sewing projects at Bob and Carols ( our wonderful friends who lent us their tools and sewing machine and who live in Vero Beach). They had sailed on a Tanton 37 for about 6 years and circumnavigated the globe so they were a great source of inspiration and information. Bob used to be a sail-maker so his sewing advice and help was so appreciated. David replaced our haphazard cloth covers with some custom-measured cockpit covers and hatch covers so that we would be protected from sun and soft rain. 

David and I also re-constituted the Mac Pac supports as we didn’t really know how to originally set them up on wishbone booms and they were quite sloppy. We added some carabiners that could be clipped to open up the cover so that the sails would easily slide into the cover making the dropping of the sails so much easier. This is crucial in high winds as it is usually me pointing into the wind and David out on deck guiding the sails into the cover. Sometimes the waves and movement of the boat make this a little dangerous for David and me being the risk-assessor while David is the risk ignorer,  really valued the difference taking off time in this maneuver meant. 

Our Good Friend Ed (retired dairy and crop farmer and master carpenter) arrived on the 2 Feb. as he had been down visiting family in Florida. He had joined us last year and had been a valuable asset, learning many of the ins and outs of sailing. A non-swimmer, he was fearless when he donned his matching red life-jacket. He became adept at following compass course offshore and following a Navionics course track. His berth is a large double-sized bed in the starboard aft (near the stern ). We put up the “walls” curtains and he effectively had his own “cabin”. TC is an open concept vessel with no cabins. The “head” or bathroom has a curtain for privacy and compost toilet for ease of maintenance. Not everyone is suited to this type of living condition. Ex-campers, like myself though, find it quite comfortable if not private.  A trick we have learned is to blast music when we have to use the toilet. Ed is amazing in how he just rolls with the intricacies of life on a 37 foot space and fits right in. 

Finally on the 7 of March, a month after arriving at Vero Beach City Marina, we finished provisioning , filling the bilges with cans and dry goods, canned our meat, installed our auto-pilot we call Otto , finishing the sewing on our new cockpit and hatch covers for shade protection and made our first attempt at fixing our starboard water-tank! The tank has a leak at about 2/3 of the way up. So we could only fill up 2/3 of the starboard watertank.  David figures it was a small crack in the tank seam possibly due to the humidity and heat of the Georgia summer where TC sat on the hard for 11 months . We hold 150 gallons so we can manage with a slightly reduced capacity. As we left, we filled up the diesel tank and jugs ad the marina dock and said goodbye on the cruisers net radio. It’s funny but we saw many of the people we met last year and met some new friends this year. it reminds me of those RV camps where everyone returns year after year. 

This is the bilge, (aka our pantry). We jammed it to capacity , hoping we wouldn’t have to buy too much in the Bahamas as we heard it was very expensive. During the crossing of the gulf, the high waves caused the water in our leaking tank to spill through the small crack which leads to the bilge (as bilges are meant to do) So,,, after we landed and anchored in The Bahamas, I had to empty it all and David mopped up the 2 inches of water and then I re-packed it. We have more storage in the galley above the sinks and stove but this is our main food storage area. As you can see we eat a lot of eggs and love our coffee. 

The precious cockpit cover with ingenious flaps for low sun coverage designed and sewn by David and Bob. Later, it would prove to be a life-saver in The Bahamas.

Our beautiful new auto-pilot that is a game-changer! It is a heavy-duty Pelagic tiller Auto Pilot that we lovingly call “Otto”. David installed it in Vero. It was expensive and one of the few things David bought brand new. Now we can be like all the other YouTube sailors who lounge around and read books while the boat sails or motors. Other than at the crossing, it performed amazingly. I’ll share later what happened at the crossing that over-powered Otto. 

This is our V-berth where David and I sleep. Each berth is almost a double-sized bed and unlike most vessels we don’t have to climb ove – r each other to get into bed. Under each berth is a huge storage area where I keep my clothes and medical bags, extra blankets and other items. Above we have some deep shelves for daily items. There are 2 hatches above the berths, a smaller front hatch and the high glass pyramid hatch David designed to be able to quickly check position from the berth . David also made a screen for it so we can keep it open and allow the breeze in. I sewed a curtain so I can close it off or use the bigger curtain and close off the section encompassing part of the settees. Although the curtains are mere material, the psychological effect on a small living space is huge. I can feel like I’m in my own little room and often retire there for a nap or a good book or movie “in my room”. The foot step between the berths comes out and can be slid into the higher slots and pulled out to become a coffee table between the 2 settees – another David design concept. 


The three amigos back for another adventure. Our smiles didn’t last long as we were about to cross the gulf in the photo. 






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