The LAST last weekend?

OK, so that was definitely my final weekend in Florida. Probably. I spent Saturday playing around with the anchor and sorting out a few other little things, then my father arrived after a marathon drive all the way from Atlanta on a whirlwind trip to see Odyssey before I go.

We went for a very pleasant meal on the waterfront in downtown Fort Lauderdale where we could watch from our table with baited breath while the pleasure steamers came hurtling round the bend towards the Andrews Avenue bridge, seemingly about to collide with it. At the very last moment the bridge would suddenly lift to allow the ferry past with a cheery hoot of its horn, much to our relief, and perhaps also a little disappointment as we Brits do like to take secret pleasure in the misfortune of others.

The next morning, Sunday, dawned bright and clear so we popped down to Odyssey and cast off the lines to take her for a little spin before lunch. I managed to avoid all the sticky patches this time so there was absolutely no bottom-touching, and once out at sea we found a pleasant little breeeze.

Once again Odyssey performed perfectly, ghosting along nicely in the calm blue sea under full sail. I tested the radar again, this time trying the MARPA target tracking facility, which locks onto other vessels and works out whether or not they are a collision risk. It’s great fun, and shows the speed, range and bearing of other boats, plus an estimated time till they hit you. All very reassuring, and nice to see it working well.

The main autopilot played up a bit though, saying the course computer wouldn’t speak to it. If it’s anything like me then it doesn’t do Sunday mornings, preferring to stay in bed nursing a hangover. So I switched it off and tried the backup system, which was much perkier and kept us on course nicely. (Later in the afternoon I found it was just a loose connection so all is well again.)

Dad taking us through Las Olas bridge

We only had a couple of hours to spare which was a shame as it was a beautiful day, so after almost taking out Las Olas bridge with the main mast we docked safe and sound back at Beach Villas. After a quick lunch my father hopped back into his car for the long trek home, leaving me with a bottle of champagne and a sack of bananas for the trip. Perfect, although I’m not sure which is going to last longer!

The rest of the afternoon was spent making myself beautiful for my last ever apppearance at the Voodoo Lounge, and sure enough it proved to be a most enjoyable evening. I’m going to miss those barmen and their shaky hands!

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