June 3, 2015
It is time to return to our landlubber home.
Sylestial Star is now in dry storage at Green Cove Springs Marina which is located on the Saint Johns River, about 30 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida. She will remain there while we return home ahead of hurricane season and the heat of a Florida summer and to attend to various family matters.
It took us 6 days to bring her north from Palm Beach Gardens and then south on the St. John’s to Green Cove Springs. As we passed through Jacksonville, we kept a sharp lookout for a “39′ submerged pipe in the St. John’s River” that the Coast Guard kept announcing as a “major hazard to marine traffic”. Its announced location seemed to change periodically so the Admiral and others called the Coast Guard for updates and we took things very slowly as we headed up River.
Green Cove Springs “marina” is really just a large storage and small live aboard facility that was a former navy base, with all the long docks save half of one now condemned. “Haven Harbour” or “River Dunes” it is not!
One of the attractive benefits of “GCS” is that it allows owners considerable latitude in working on their boats. Many Canadians store their boats here and there is a prevailing attitude of helping one another in the yard.
As this is our first time entirely decommissioning her ourselves and the first time she has been stored in the harsh conditions of a Florida summer, we did a lot research and prep work to try and do this right. Just about everything has been removed from inside and outside the boat, all thru-hulls have been plugged, “heat” netting has been installed, moisture control is in place, all cabinets and floor boards are open, necessary engine and mechanical work done and so on. The only glitch we encountered in the process was the need for us to remove our backstays to enable “Sylestial Star” to be hauled by the yard’s 30 ton lift.
Boat insurance requirements are rather onerous for a sailboat stored in the state of Floida during hurricane season. So we have arranged for hurricane tie-downs and regular boat checks as part of a detailed “Hurricane Plan”. One of the reasons we choose Green Cove Springs for storage is its relatively sheltered location inland and 17′ height above sea level. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Oue adventure began when we left Rock Hall, Maryland on October 11, 2014. Since then, we have traveled 2,103 statute miles on “Sylestial Star”. We saw a lot of new, interesting and beautiful places and some places we have enjoyed in the past. We sure learned a lot along the way. We met a lot of interesting and fun people, made new friends and, despite some of the ongoing work involved on a cruising sailboat(and the attendant body soreness) had a thoroughly good and adventurous time. We continue to consider ourselves “BOLD” – Beneteau Owners Living the Dream.