Terry Poling's first Cayo Costa Trip in the Telestar 28
It turned out to be another great trip to Cayo Costa. I returned home late Wednesday. This was only the second trip for my new Telstar and it turned out to be a great learning experience. For me the trip started on Wednesday. I left Havana at 5 AM and was at my friend Jack's house at Pineland by 1:30 PM. My son Tony met me at Jack's and we proceeded to Pineland marina and had "Breakin' Wind" launched by 4PM. I was a bit concerned whether we would have enough time to make anchorage at Pelican Bay before dark. As it turned out, we were at Pelican Bay well before dark. Thursday morning we awoke to a beautiful morning with a light breeze out of south east. After coffee it was time to raise the sails. We coasted along on light air and crossed over the pass almost to the old fuel tanks. It was about noon when the wind just quit. When the wind stopped it got very hot, so we tried to stay in the shade of the sails hoping that the sea breeze would kick in soon. Just when we had about had enough of the heat, along came a sea breeze. It wasn't long before we were hitting 5 kts and on our way to circumnavigating Cayo Costa. We returned back at Pelican Bay well before sunset and ready for a well deserved meal. Friday morning we were up early and after coffee motored into Pineland Marina as Tony had to be back to work in the PM. After dropping Tony off I returned to Pelican Bay just in time to see Billy and Joyce arriving in their beautiful sea pearl 28. It wasn't long before others began to show up. By mid-afternoon we had a fleet of sail boats lined up on the beach. The grills were fired up and the party was in full swing when my friends Roger and Kaye showed up in their 16' Boston Whaler. They had motored in all the way from their place on the Estero River, a distance of 42 miles. Roger and Kaye have a Seapearl Tri, but weren't able to bring it because of trailer problems. For me it worked out great as I was glad to have a crew for the Saturday sail. On Saturday everyone decided to sail to the beach on the South end of Cayo Costa. Roger moved the Whaler away from the beach a bit and dropped the anchor. We all got aboard my Telstar and joined the flotilla south. The wind cooperated until we got to Captiva Pass. We motored the last few hundred yards to the beach where we joined the rest of the group. Most of the group was planning to anchor for the night off the beach. It was hot so we got wet to stay cool and waited for the sea breeze to kick in. We didn't have long to wait. We soon said our good-byes to the group and decided that we wouldn't return for the night. The beach seemed very exposed and since we had to return to Pelican Bay, where we had left the Whaler, we decided we would just spend another night at Pelican. I guess it was just as well, because from hearing from some of the group that stayed, it wasn't a very pleasant place to stay after the wind shifted during the night. Sunday morning I said my good-byes to Roger and Kaye and motored in to Pineland to pick up my next crew. My daughter Chris and my two granddaughters, Morgan age 10 and Kailyn age 3 were to sail with me for the day. After picking my new crew up, we motored out the channel. We tried sailing for a while in light winds and finally reached the beach at Pelican Bay where the girls enjoyed swimming and jumping off Papa's boat. When the wind picked up we continued sailing for a while before returning to Pineland. After dropping the days crew off, I returned to Pelican Bay for a restful night at anchor and some R & R. The grand-babys just about wore grandpa out. I had a restful night at anchor in the cove southeast of the ranger station. Art and Brenda, on Panacea, were also anchored in the cove. In the morning Art and Brenda came along side and we said our good byes. I pulled anchor and motored back in to the marina to pick up a couple friends. Floyd and Darla were waiting at the dock when I pulled in. Floyd and I had worked together for many years and it was good to get together again. This day turned out to be my best day of sailing for the trip. There was a front approaching and it was right on time! When I picked them up we only had light winds. But by the time I got out of the Pineland channel the winds were picking up. We sailed around Cayo Costa through Boca Grande Pass and returning through Captiva Pass. When we came through Captiva there were 4' rollers and we had a blast surfing down the faces. My GPS registered 10.3 kts on one of the rollers. I took the sails down when we got back to the Pineland channel and started the Honda. Before starting the motor I got out my knot meter and measured winds at 14kts to 18kts with the highest guest at 25kts. After dropping Floyd and Darla off at the marina I motored back to Pelican Bay for the night. The trip was a a rocky ride and slow going all the way. I was impressed with how well the Telstar handled the rough water. My anchorage was the cove again, I knew it would be well protected from the predicted 20kts of wind out of the North that NOAA was calling for. The wind blew all the next day and I decided to just hang out on the hook and read. Wednesday morning I pulled the anchor at first light and headed in. I wanted to get Breakin' Wind loaded ASAP, and be on my way home. I had 400 miles to tow and I don't like towing after dark. This was a shakedown cruise and I'm pleased to report that my new Telstar did a great job. I'm already looking forward to my next trip to the 10,000 Islands in December.