Northward on the Florida ICW

Anchor Balls

We stayed in this mooring field near Port St Lucie, FL last June.

We attended the DeFever rendezvous at Old Port Cove marina 25 miles north of Lantana for 3 days before we left for the loop. We left Lantana at 9 AM and traveled slow, checking new equipment and systems. A few things did go wrong but a couple of phone calls to Greg got them explained. A couple of things await a software update to our new MFD’s (Multi Function Display) that will come in a month. Other than this everything worked well, which is great considering how much work was done.

We arrived at the rendezvous and spent the next 3 full days getting up early and staying up late meeting people, going to seminars and touring boats. Star Gazer was also toured and received many nice comments. Most of what we learn about boating is from talking to others and we learned a lot in the 3 days. We did learn that the DeFever type boat has the most interior room for its overall size. After seeing these boats and a number of other boats at some boat shows in Florida this winter we still feel that our boat was the best choice for us.

We left Old Port Cove at mile marker 1015 at the late hour of 8:30 AM and arrived at 4:00 PM at a mooring ball at Vero Beach, mile marker 950 (remember, Norfolk, VA is at 0). This trip was without event other than one 45 and one 25 minute wait for drawbridges. Waiting was much easier because our rear view camera (Greg’s idea) allowed me to back against the current without constantly sending Sue down to look out for close by boats. Fortunately nearly all other drawbridges are more than 20 feet at “high steel” in their centers, so we will run under them.

A mooring ball is a huge concrete block with a cable up to a floating ball. We grab a rope attached to the ball with our boat hook, pull it up and hook the loop at its end to a front cleat. If we used our anchor which is about 70 lbs we would need a length of chain about 7 times the water depth plus bow height. That’s 20 feet for us in 14 feet of water. We would be swinging around in a circle of radius of 140 feet. That’s 190 if you add our boat’s length. With a concrete anchor weighing several tons that total radius is reduced to under 65 feet, so a lot more boats can use a smaller space.

It’s also easy to leave. Just start the engines, unhook the mooring ball rope and go. Go very slowly because you pass within feet of many other boats at nearby balls.

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