Position N 27° 22.225’,
W 82° 37.075’.
Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL
Last weekend Lavinia and I carried out another excursion away from the dock, this time we wanted to make sure that I could, single handed, leave the dock and return. Lavinia will eventually do the same so that if either of us is incapacitated in any way the other will be able to step into the breach and sail ‘Partner’ single handed. The weather was a little overcast on Saturday morning when we left the marina at 07:20 but it was not windy and the chance of rain was minimal according to the forecast. Seas were forecast to be 2–4ft which ‘Partners’ handles just fine. My plan was to cruise to Tampa Bay and to St. Petersburg and then spend Saturday night anchored off the East side of Egmont Key returning to Sarasota on Sunday afternoon.
The Vinoy was built in 1925 by Aymer Vinoy Laughner. Construction began on February 5 and took 10 months to complete. The hotel was a seasonal hotel open from around December to March. Rates were $20.00 a night, the highest in the area at that time. The hotel was a popular destination for celebrities ranging from Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and James Stewart. During World War II the hotel was taken over by the U.S. Army and used for a training school. The hotel was sold to Charles Alberding after the war for $700,000. The hotel continued to prosper for the next couple decades. In 1974 the Vinoy closed its doors and sold most of its contents. The hotel became a haven for vagrants until the early 1990s when it was bought by a partnership between Renaissance Hotels and Resorts and the Vinoy Development Corporation. A $93-million renovation was undertaken, and in two years the Vinoy reopened as an almost perfect replica of its former self. In 2005, the Vinoy earned AAA Four-Diamond status. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of allegedly supernatural events occurring at the hotel, especially from visiting major league baseball players and staff, who often stay at the Vinoy when in town to play the Tampa Bay Rays.
On previous visits to St. Petersburg in our last boat we frequently anchored in the protected and walled anchorage to the south of the Vinoy Hotel Marina. It is well protected although the holding is not good, the bottom here is soft mud and in a blow it is likely that one may drag the anchor. We did, in a squall once and just managed to start the engine and save ourselves from making contact with the harbour wall! This has not and will not deter us from another visit. The anchorage is popular and the number of boats restricts the amount of scope one can use so in future if the harbour is crowded we would probably opt to anchor off the north side of the pier which is in protected water anyway and would only add 10 extra minutes to the dinghy ride. The advantage of the Vinoy anchorages is that it is very close to the town and one can walk to a variety of shops and restaurants.
The rain passed and the sun reappeared as we passed west under the Skyway on our way to Egmont and our anchorage for the night. By 18:00 engine off and we were anchored in 12’ of beautiful clear water. To anyone who is reading this and perhaps planning a trip to this area, one word of warning, Egmont is a bird sanctuary/roost, at least at the moment; I say this as the last time we made this trip the birds were somewhere else? The noise of birds squabbling over the best roosting perch is rather loud at times. As with most noise one does become accustomed to it however, we were no exception on this occasion. Dinner was served outside on our back deck and we became oblivious to the birds and their dusk chorus.
Where did you have your Sunday breakfast?
After breakfast on Sunday I decided to make water with our water maker, only to find that the feed pump, which primes the system, did not work. It’s a boat right! That task shelved and another job added to the list, my mind redirected to other things.
We hauled the anchor at 12:00 and headed out towards the Gulf retracing our steps back to Sarasota and the reality of our working lives; ah! ha! though, soon to end however! Full time cruising looms...