spectacular sunsets Biscayne National Park

Hurricane Delays & Greeted by Dolphins, Now We’re Sailing

Welcome to the Sailboat Shakedown Cruise Take Two. I say take two because this is indeed our second time to leave Ft. Lauderdale with the intention of sailing south towards the Florida Keys.

Hurricane Hermine obviously doesn’t follow our website and didn’t care that we were embarking on our shakedown cruise. So, I blame her for any missed adventures (now that she’s long gone).

Last time we left you we had made our way to Lake Sylvia for a day of recuperation after receiving our service bill (thanks a million for all the encouraging comments). We picked up anchor the next morning and headed north for West Palm Beach. We chose to go north for a week for two reasons. One, because we had a week to kill while we waited on some spare parts to arrive (spare parts on a boat are super important). Two, because we wanted to go back to Peanut Island for some snorkeling.

peanut island by sailboat

anchoring peanut islandOnce our parts arrived, we started sailing south and made it all the way to Pumpkin Key inside Biscayne National Park. Sure enough that was about the time all of the tropical storms started brewing in the Atlantic. Hurricanes are incredibly unpredictable and simply put, we weren’t ready for our first big storm…much less a full-fledged hurricane.

We had two options at that point.

  • Find a hurricane hole (a snug spot hidden in the mangroves) to ride out the storms at anchor and hope for the best.
  • Turn around and go back to Ft. Lauderdale where the team at Just Catamarans could help us properly secure the boat, take down the sails and provide an option of evacuating our sailboat if necessary.

We may be new to sailing, but when every boater in the area was starting to make plans…we knew we needed to act fast. Well, that and the fact that Kent (who is not known to be overly conservative) says, “When it comes to hurricanes and safe spaces, possession is ten-tenths of the law.” He warned us that he would try to hold a spot for us but if we waited too long, someone else would take it. It didn’t take long to figure out we needed to suck it up and head back before things got crazy.

Luckily, the only tropical storm (of the three that were brewing) that turned into a Hurricane was Hermine and it hit way north of Ft. Lauderdale and she only caused one fatality. As for us, we had a few good thunderstorms and then it was right back to sunshine, humidity and heat.

The one good thing about the delays…it gave us a chance to get caught up on all kinds of tasks. Which means we were really ready for take two of the shakedown trip…and ready with cameras in hand this time!

Can you believe those stellar sunsets and dolphins! We were like school kids experiencing something unknown for the first time. Watching ourselves I can hear the excitement with a little bit of mystery in our voices as we search out those dolphins…and when that one guy jumped, it nearly scared Jason right off the board.

Sorry for the dark grainy footage. Filming in the dark is incredibly challenging and its times like these we wish we had a super camera to capture it. Maybe we can find out where National Geographic discards all their used gear or something.

Ok, beautiful scenery and wildlife aside we’ve already discovered one thing Curiosity is in desperate need of. A spinnaker! Light winds and downwind sailing are not typically words most sailors want to hear. Yet, it almost always seems this is the scenario we are faced with. A spinnaker sail is a lightweight sail designed for just this instance. If you are interested in learning more about downwind sailing and the different sails, I highly suggest checking out the blog Sailing Totem. Jamie is a well-known and respected sailmaker in the cruising community and I am learning a lot from his posts:

Land Miles vs. Nautical Miles

Sailing might be one of the slowest forms of transportation but it sure does have a lot of perks that make it all worthwhile…times ten!

We learned in our sailing class that a nautical mile is based on the circumference of the earth, and is equal to one minute of latitude. 1 nautical mile = 1.1508 land miles which isn’t a huge difference.

If you want to get super technical:
1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour = 6076 feet per hour
1 mph = 1 mile per hour = 5280 feet per hour

So, for all of you non sailors out there, when we say we are sailing at 2.5 knots, that means we are traveling at 2.5 nautical miles per hour. Convert “KTS” to “MPH” and you’ll see we’re travelling slower than 3 miles per hour!

It’s slow…real slow. To make it plain as day: The average walking speed is 3.1 miles per hour. Ouch.

The fastest we have personally sailed was 10 knots (that’s a leisurely beach cruiser bicycle speed) during our first solo sail. We’re hoping for a lot more of that in the future…especially with the addition of a spinnaker.

Thanks again to all of you for following along, offering up words of wisdom, encouragement and always motivating us to keep on keeping on.

Stay tuned for the next leg of the journey where we hit some squalls, possibly run aground, finally make it “outside” and deeper into the keys.

Gear Used

Equipment used to film this video:

Sailing Report

Weather: Sunshine and Humidity
Wind:  South to Southeast 3-8 knots
Route: Ft. Lauderdale to Outside No Name Harbor to Billys Point, Biscayne National Park

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (69)

  • What a wonderful, exciting experience! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. The sunsets and photography are so good! Happy holidays, and I look forward to seeing your adventures. May your year reward you with even more spectacular days like this!

  • Deborah Kerr

    That SUP and dolphin watching is pretty cool!! Great sunsets!!

  • Tev

    I have to admit I was disappointed when ya’ll left the RV lifestyle and started boating. We’re newbies to RVing and I really looked forward to your blogs and the information provided. However, I am enjoying your adventures and videos so much. Having grown up in South Florida and going to the Keys as well it’s almost comforting to watch your travels. I’ll never be a sailor but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that you’ve learned and are continuing to learn and share. Thanks for sharing your dream and encouraging the rest of us to find ours! Smooth sailing from Plano, TX

  • Mike

    We were sailing the same time I think. We left Sep 9, and back Sep 19out of FTL. There was a Leopard 43 off Rodriguez Key anchored behind us one night. Forget if it was on the way or back from Marithon. We were on a Lagoon 440. That you? Good job on the video!

    • Yea, that was. I think we were editing this video when you pulled up. I remember coming out of our hole for the beautiful sunset, looking up, and thinking “where’d that cat come from!” Safe Travels guys, we’re heading back to FLL for a bit of service now.

  • Mark

    It was so sweet when farmer-tanned Nikki squealed like a little girl at seeing the dolphin jump! Way cool. So much cooler than Marineland eh?

    The photo of the boat at sunset (Slide 4 & video end shot) is breathtaking. Wow Nikki nice photography! I mean that photo alone says it all. It makes me want to be there.

    Sadly, I’ve sold my boat. Waiting for the new owners to take possession in just a few minutes.

    On the bright side, your paddle-board videos encouraged me to try it and I like it! See you chauffeur Jason around on the board made me believe I could do it!

    There is a lot of good, fun, informative, entertainment to choose from these days – living vicariously through your videos has to be our #1 video indulgence. Even over Letterkenny!

    So, thank you and thank you and thank you.

    • It’s amazing how many people on YT said things like you’re so white, pasty, farmer-tan, etc. What people forget is we’ve come directly from Alaska to purchase this boat so there’s no chance we have a nice tan yet. One day in the future we’ll both have perfect tans and hopefully with all the paddling and swimming we’ll even be in a little better shape 🙂
      We love paddle boarding and our boards are amazing. The sad thing is don’t get swindled into purchasing a cheaper board as they will bend, flex, and lose pressure. You can see our board here if you want to start your research:

  • I love the shots of the boat you took from the paddleboard. I love being out on a boat in flat calm water and those were some amazing pictures. How cool for the dolphin to put on such a show for you. I see a lot more wonderful times ahead when you get to the Bahamas. I have very fond memories of living aboard a boat there.

  • Richard MacLennan

    Hi Nikki & Jason,
    You should do a video on the safety equipment that you have on-board, organized according to the US Coast Guard regulations for a boat your size, This will help if you ever have to go through a safe-boating inspection.

  • Brian

    Another great video, thanks for sharing. Love hearing from you two on your adventures.

  • Enjoy the journey moment by monent! Your world need not be rushed. We are all giving so many “breaths” in our lifetime, so as your Sony pics captures it time again… breathtaking!

  • al ciauri

    I just love your adventures from the motorhome to you sail boat . You guys Rock . Your living life to the fullest and more people should follow in your direction . I’m trying to do that myself . I have a 16 ft livin lite that I pull behind my Jeep Liberty . Had the 39 ft motorhome to expensive . Trying to leave in the next few days for a month on the road . Be safe . Blessing be with y’all from McKinney Texas .

  • John R

    Hey, I was wondering how your insurance works now that you are about to head out to the Bahamas. With your current policy are you restricted to certain areas (say costal waters)? Or can you pretty much go wherever the wind takes you?

  • Tessa

    So excited for you on your first “official sail”! My husband and I have been following you since you started your sailing blog, hopefully one day we can meet up on the ocean.

  • Mike

    Enjoyed the partial tour through the cat. Very interested in seeing the details on your solar setup.

  • Mary

    It is hard to imagine that you only sailed 17 miles in 5+ hours. I don’t think most people realize how long it takes to get such a short distance. Nature is pretty incredible. You are both lucky to be right in the middle it!

  • Sergey

    Guys, from cinematic point of view your videos are great. Plus your content is perfect. Can you please make behind the scenes video? I am just wondering what equipment do you use? Cheers.

  • Ed Wooten

    Beautiful folks. I am mildly jealous. I really miss being at sea, and I truly enjoy sailing vicariously through your videos. As always, fair winds and following seas.


  • Manson & Cindy

    How do you guys upload your posts/videos when you are away from the dock?

  • The wind comes from “aft” not behind, Jason. Just sayin’. 🙂 Really enjoying your experiences as newbie sailors. Thanks for sharing.

  • Allan Kirch

    As always another great video. I’m doing salt water sailing vicariously through your vids.

    You mentioned you’re in the market for a spinnaker. I’ll put in a pitch for an asymmetrical spinnaker, specifically an asymmetrical runner. . There’s general agreement that asymmetrical’s are easier to rig than a symmetrical. They work in apparent wind angles from 115 – 160. That makes them useful in both running and reaching wind angles. It trades off a bit of performance with increased versatility.

  • T C Spencer

    How long is the anchor chain and do you have a depth finder?

  • Have you two looked at possibly switching out the Sony A6000 for a A7s which has an incredible ISO range for shooting in low light conditions?

    Love the blog and your youtube videos. Hope to at least be doing the RV’ing here in the next two years. Also I shoot on a Canon 5D and a Sony NXCAM NEX‑FS700R.

  • Bridgette H

    you guys keep me inspired on the reg, a quote my Aunt shared many years about people who sail kind of fits perfect with your latest 17 nautical revelations. Mind you she was a Woman Blue Marlin world record holder,(she may still be not sure) for largest 735Ib – 13.5 ft long on 130lb test line Woman Angler Blue Marlin Record off of Hawaii back in the 80’s. Her and my uncle had many boats for major deep water angling. I even took the 3 day inter-coastal waterway of Florida trip from St Augustine (our home town) to West Palm when they upgraded to the boat they still own today “The Pirate King.” It was Not a sail boat as you can guess. Okay long story longer, her saying was “Sailboats are for people who want to watch the grass,” LOL, thought you could appreciate that, however these days I like to live and dream with a different mindset quoted by the one and only Matt Damon – ” Slow and steady is Smooth and Smooth is fast.” Love living and dreaming vicariously through you both until we can follow our own guiding tailwind. Until next time – One more from my grandaddy who was a sailor and boatman until the day he passed away in the water beside his boat in the St Johns River in Jacksonville Florida doing what he Loved.
    ” Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning – Red skies at night, sailors delight.”
    Thank you for bringing us along!!

  • As always, thanks for sharing! Loved the dolphins, and that your cat played along on the board! Good job, both of you! And, by the way, in our RV, my dear husband Tony is the only driver, but on our (little but awesome) 16′ boat, I am the Captain. Love you guys!

  • Nancy Fernandez

    I absolutely Love you two. Jason you have great talent with the sound-effects. Nikki just loving your squeals of excitement, oh and fantastic job coming out from dock. You two are getting quite the tans. The sunset shots were just awesome. Fair sails my friends, be safe. Standing by for more great videos.

  • Just brilliant absolutely loved that video. I was so excited to see you snorkeling and swing the Dolphins. Just amazing. Well done xx

  • JR Thornton

    Finally, Nikki in a bikini!

  • Steve

    Jason, I hope you wake up every day with “Thank you, Lord” on your lips. Beautiful woman, beautiful boat, beautiful moments. I know these videos are edited, but you don’t make this stuff up. I don’t envy you, as I am not a salt water person, but y’all bring joy in my life. Hearing Nikki squeal with delight made me want to dance in circles. Thank you guys, so, so much.

  • Jon & Lori

    Great Video
    I also have a little concern on the closeness of the Stern Rudders to the bottom a little close for my comfort
    Maybe it just looked close as the water was so Clear
    If you make to Marathon Look Lori And I up well Do Dinner and A sundowner or Two

    Fair Winds
    Jon & Lori

  • Denise F.

    So perhaps “Gone with the Wynns” should be “Blowin with the Wynns!” Glad the storms didn’t hit you too hard…I was hoping for smooth sailing for you…a little glitch I can deal with, but I didn’t want to hear of a coast guard rescue this early in the game! I like that you two are thinking on your sea legs! Enjoy the clear skies! (Red skies at night, sailor’s delight…red skies at morning, sailors take warning!”)

  • Elizabeth Audretch

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE your work and the thrill in your voices. I have been following you since your journey to Valdosta, GA in search of the Best Small Town….we made fresh peach ice cream for you at The Crescent…keep on keeping on…Thanks!

  • Tim

    I noticed the same as in John’s comment. Enough Water under Curiosity? I grew up here in Florida /Bahamas on the water. Countless times I’ve gone from slick calm and clear blue sky’s to 3+’ waves in the bay and intracoastal. Within an hour or 2 and then back to calm. Those isolated showers can be very tricky and surprisingly rough…winter/spring is not too bad as the weather comes in as a front and you typically have some warning. .. but not in summer and fall. Its not too fun to be stuck in a storm with the boat slamming into the sand and the vibration rolls through the boat. In the bays I would want at least 4′ under her(lowest point) and 5 to 7′ would be better. Yes 99% of the time your fine in shallow like that anchorage .. all decisions on the boat are taking some calculated risk vs some pleasure or advantage. . Just want to make sure you are aware of it (probably are but jic) my suggestion would be ready in case of emergency in middle of night with ability and known rout set (and assign who does what before you go to sleep ) to get quickly to deep water /channel and anchor ball tied up to anchor on deck so can just release and leave the anchor in water … then get the boat in deep water fast…come back for anchor after storm passes…. anyway sooooo Amazing how far you 2 have come in such a short time! Love your work thank you for sharing!

  • Jayne

    Delightful. The extra-fun stuff starts now! You guys make such a good team manning the boat.

  • Bobby Hayes

    Knew you guys were down there for the approaching storms…tis the season. Getting inland is always best bet when it comes to safe harbour. See, I did mention the dolphins running with you are the best! I also mentioned, many vids back, sailing is work, work and work, and some fun in there. Keep going, and enjoy those sunsets!

  • Thank you for your great blog and videos! I love watching them! We are full time Rvers for nearly a year now and just got back from a wonderful trip to Alaska. I so appreciated all the great videos, stories and information on your travels there last year as they REALLY helped us in our planning and knowing what to expect, great things to see and do, etc. I just wanted to say thanks and tell you how much fun it has been watching you learn to sail, too! Happy sailing!

  • Marsha

    You two were the first thing that came to mind when I saw the news about Hermine. I love your videos & applaud your spirit of adventure. Can’t wait to see your next video.

  • niel schurig

    Boy do I love your videos, you guys make it feel like I’m there. Always was a power boater but loved to have tried sailing. Good luck in the Keys make sure you go to Robbie’s and feed the Tarpon. I spend time in Islamorada in the winter, my brother has a house there. By the way he rents out most of the year, if you are interested let me know. Keep up having the time of your lives we love it. Safe passage my friends.

  • Sherry johnston

    Love the sunsets & the one with your boat & sunset is great. But I have to say I’ve never seen a cat willing to on a paddle board that was amazing. Good luck getting the spinnaker quickly. Love dolphins they are so fun to watch.

  • Steve Kukene

    Bet you never saw dolphins from the motorhome. Love watching your adventures and wait on the edge of my seat for each and every next video. Keep having fun and as always thanks for sharing. Sending best wishes for fair winds and following seas.

  • Shelly connell

    Enjoy keeping up with you! We met you at Just Catarmarans while you were getting the survey done on the boat. We ended up getting a 2011 Leopard in May. We don’t live aboard. We took it from Ft. Lauderdale to Myrtle Beach our first trip. We flew home for 2 and a half weeks. The second trip we left Myrtle Beach and went to Norfork, Va. We have had a blast. We are flying back to Norfork on Tuesday and plan on going up the Chesapeake Bay. We plan on heading down south after that so we can head to the Bahamas. Maybe we will run into you soon!

  • What a great adventure! Thank you for sharing so much data about the expenses. Any chance you could keep a running public Google spreadsheet listing the expenses as you go? It would make planning easier for those of us dreaming of doing the same.

    Stay safe and avoid those storms!


  • Andrea Clerkin

    Best Sailing video ever! The board and boat shots wow amazing! The water looks beautiful I was wondering what temperature it is because I swim in the North Atlantic at the shores of Northern Ireland and it’s refreshing to say the least 13°c/55°f Fresh! Lovely to see you two so excited about the dolphins, that’s what it’s all about. Be safe, be happy 🙂

  • Jeff

    Enjoyed the snorkeling and the dolphins but those sunsets WOW!

  • Terry Apple

    Am really enjoying this experience with you. Also had to chuckle at Casey King’s note:

    “…Hope to run into you guys. Sounds like our best hope is to just hang around the service dock at Just Catamarans…”


  • David

    When I was in the Navy I was a radar operator. Basically, 1 nautical mile is 2000 yards. We used the 3 minute rule where an object travels a thousand yards in 3 minutes it is doing 10kts. I loved navigation. Ya’ll be safe and may you have fair winds and following seas

  • Lucille Hjort

    It was a relaxing ride. You have all of the time in the world to accomplish your to do list so don’t worry. Continue to have fun.

  • T.K.

    Where do hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning hit?…….Where ever they want to….. Better to be as safe as possible.

    Your gut will tell you when you’re ready to leave coastal sailing. Don’t let the state of Florida dictate your timeline. They have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve been to Savannah and Charleston for some of this time and really shouldn’t care as long as you leave as soon as you are experienced enough. Everything is more economical in the Panama and Guatemala and their islands area than the Bahamas. Just skip Mexico……Best wishes and stay safe.(Singa may not be quite ready for YOLO board)

  • ed snoke

    Great video and even better photos. I just love your new cover photo.

  • Kathy & Peter

    Thank you for your practical yet inspirational videos! The information on nautical miles and travel time is fascinating. We are learning so much about our future lifestyle choices because of your willingness to share yours…:) Carpe Diem!

  • FWIW, I just finished up three days at Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival, attending multiple seminars on blue water cruising. sail making, etc Hands down, the “Drifter” seemed to be the sail of choice among the seminars I attended. (As one who used to “fly the chute” while racing, I can vouch that the Spinnaker is HARD WORK!)

  • John Schretlen

    Your video makes me smile. It is so great that you are bringing us along for the ride. Thanks.

    Quick question – on that snorkel clip when you are approaching the stern looks like you have very little space between the rudder and the seabed. Are you not worried about boat wakes? Is it a very low tide?

  • Laura

    I just love this video and Nikki’s squeal of delight at the Dolphins. This is what it is all about!!
    Thanks for sharing!

    PS: need an email on what I owe you guys. I got the cruiser, got it put together and am just about to put the battery in and take her for a ride!!

  • I’ve been looking for similar sunglasses. Where did you find yours? (Please and Thank You!).

    I’ve included my website address below, but the only thing there is a book that I wrote about a secret military post where I great up (East Africa). For the most part, the people who are interested are people who lived at Kagnew Station, too, so I made it available for free. But you’re welcome to download a copy. It is a LARGE file, and it is a little confusing to download, but if you follow these instructions, all will be fine:

    (1) press “Download Your Free Copy HERE”
    (2) You”ll get an OOPS message. Don’t worry, all is well; just hit the blue “Download”
    (3) At the Google Drive message, hit blue “Download Anyway” button

    I don’t know why those funny message are there, but all is okay.

  • Great stuff guys! Love the vids. A bit different from another couple in a Leopard on YouTube! We prefer you! ?
    Fair winds and have fun.

  • Rhonda

    The videos are great, the sunset was beautiful. My husband & I are eager to see your new adventures each week, so much so that we have started a two year plan to become full time sailors ourselves. You & Jason are a great inspiration. Thank you so much for all of your information and great professional videos.

  • Love to watch the transition from RV to Cat! Inspiring as usual. We just packed up from Austin and moved to Fort Lauderdale yesterday. Taking a gap from our gap year to take a job at Magic Leap which is a ridiculously insane company in south Florida vs Silicon Valley (or Austin). Looking forward to bringing the Airstream and exploring around the Keys from the land. Hope to run into you guys. Sounds like our best hope is to just hang around the service dock at Just Catamarans … just kidding ;). Hope you can stay away from the money pit for a little while!

  • Kia Gardner

    You guys are awesome! I just love “sharing” your adventures with you. Keep on keepin’ on!!!

    Fair winds,

  • J. Walls

    Hey there. I also find the light wind boom slaps totally annoying and it wears on the equipment. I found it super easy to throw a line around the end of the boom and lash the other end to a rear cleat. It then contains the boom and sail setting to a fixed position with no more slapping. I use it for light winds such as you had and also when running deep downwind (>120deg) to save myself from an accidental jibe. Sure beats hearing that slap everytime a boat goes by or the wind freshens up from off the beam. I only use it when I know I won’t be fidgeting with the mainsheet for extended periods. Love the videos. Keep learning and keep ’em coming.

  • Wow, the dolphins! So spectacular! I recently found your blog for the RVing videos, but I am so enjoying you taking us on your sailing adventures. Thank you!

  • Boaz

    You would have gone viral if the dolphin had landed on your board 🙂 FYI, cream is not good for cats 🙂

  • Betty

    So enjoyed the post and the calm that comes on the water. I hear your pain about the boom, been there. I never tire of dolphins, close or far, always makes my day! Thanks.

  • Jim and Jon Hamilton


    Great video!! I find it interesting that in the RV, Jason did most of the driving while Nikki was happy to let him and drove only when necessary. In the boat, Nikki is all over the docking while Jason is relegated to bumper-duty and lookout. Oh, how the roles have changed!! (and in reality, the fact that you both are so comfortable with this speaks volumes about your relationship. On video, anyway.) Can you imagine trying to leave that dock with brisk winds blowing??? GAH!!!

    BTW, we just arrived in San Diego with our ‘new’ RV 4 days ago. Still working out the kinks, cleaning, etc., Jon went from ‘very skeptical/unsure’ about the RV idea (when we initially picked it up) to ‘I’ll never travel any other way! I LOVE this thing!’ by the time we arrived 5 days later. How cool is that? Video coming…..

    Safe Passage!!!

    Jim and Jon

  • We love watching your videos. Real life without the BS included in many others. It seems as though the cats have really taken to the nautical lifestyle. Keep the videos coming!

  • Steve_C

    Hi Guys,

    I really enjoy your video’s, Thanks for the efforts, it great!

    A few suggestions for you,

    Learn about using a “Preventor” on the boom end to prevent the slapping back and forth. Easy to do and really keeps the shock load and annoyance down.

    Go to Cruisers Forum and do a little reading on Anchors. Yours is a very old design and NOT very highly regarded. The new generation anchors are far superior in all bottom types and is one of the most crucial pieces of safety gear on your boat.

    Some Flippers might REALLY help when snorkeling, just a thought!

    You may want to try a red filter on your camera when shooting underwater, it doesn’t appear you are using one. It really helps with the color. Or it may just be where you were shooting.

    In any case enjoy the adventure, I hope to see you out there one day!


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