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Clearwater and Saint Petersburg

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

We departed at 0430 ( 4:30 AM) on November 26th for our 35 hour passage from Panama City to Clearwater, FL. The winds and sea state were pretty heavy when we reached the jetties. We raised the sails right away, and took off we did !. We were on a broad reach from a Northwest wind that had us a little more downwind than I like. This caused us to have to do two controlled jibes to clear Cape San Blas on the Saint Joseph Peninsula. Once we cleared that, we were good to go. Things really picked up during the night as the winds shifted more to the North.We were double reefed all night and getting pounded pretty good. The wind direction was great for our heading, but just a bit uncomfortable.

Track from Panama City to Clearwater

The winds died down a bit at about 0330 (3:30 AM) , so much so, that we started our motor sailing routine of alternating engines and sleeping spots that worked well when we were rounding Louisiana. This allowed us to catch up on some much needed sleep. It was at this time that the starboard engine sprung an oil leak, and a pretty bad one it was. I could see it was coming from the upward and outboard ( starboard ) side of the engine, but it was hard to locate the exact spot where the leak was coming from. This was concerning and messy to say the least, but manageable. We started running the port engine more and keeping a close eye on the starboard leak.

Namid anchored at "The Penthouse"

We arrived at Clearwater on what was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. We anchored at an anchorage that the ActiveCaptain App on our chart plotter called “ The Penthouse”. We could see why it was called that. The anchorage was surrounded by beautiful condos and hotels. There were little motored Tiki huts that would travel around the anchorage with paying patrons that enjoyed a private, totally mobile wet bar. The captains of these little Tiki Huts were also the bartenders. We didn’t know it at the time, but these little Tiki Huts are very common in all of Florida. Undoubtably, they are very profitable.

One of several Tiki Huts that motored all around us until late

We stayed two nights at “The Penthouse” and basically relaxed. This also gave me some time to check on where the oil leak on the starboard engine was coming from. A tee fitting coming directly off the block of the engine that houses the oil pressure sensor and oil pressure switch was apparently the culprit. I did not want to dig into this issue until we were at a dock. We got lucky and were able to reserve a slip at the Saint Petersburg Municipal marina for the upcoming three week-day nights. Basically, you can forget about getting slips on the weekend in Florida this time of year. People move around on their boats and stay in other cities this time of the year. It is considered the “High season”.

Another view of "The Penthouse"anchorage. After this shot our drone propellers started vibrating. Well, it is grounded until we can get new Props.

We left ‘The Penthouse” on Monday morning, November 29th. We had decent winds to carry us on a beautiful day sail all the way to the North Channel entrance to Tampa Bay. Once we entered the Bay, we motored about an hour to reach the St. Pete marina around 1600 (4:00 in the afternoon). There was a marina employee there to catch our lines and help us out with all the details of the marina. Right away, we loved the marina and the city. We were also really excited to be on land.

The entrance to the Saint Petersburg Municipal Marina

If you have never been to Saint Petersburg, I highly recommend for you to visit there. The city is loaded with good restaurants, great museums and cultural things. It is a very clean city. We were able to give Namid a much needed, and well deserved washing. We ate at a couple of great restaurants while we were there. Sandra enjoyed visiting one of the museums.

St. Pete Yacht Basin

I had the task of fixing the ugly oil leak. Oil had found its way to the bilge, which was a total mess to clean. Once I got that cleaned up, I used a wrench to back out the before-mentioned tee fitting on the block of the engine. To my horror, the fitting broke at an apparent crack that the fitting had in it, and it broke flush with the engine. Basically the threaded portion of the fitting was still lodged in the block of the engine. This is when it really dawned on me where the “Curse like a sailor” slogan came from. I was doing everything I could to hold back and not being very successful at doing so.….AAARG !!

This could prove to be costly, unless I am fortunate enough to get the broken fitting out of the block, and still maintain the integrity of the threaded portion within the block. I tried several “easy-out” extractors with no luck. I was about to give up and get a drill and tap to try to get the piece out, which could introduce metal shavings to the inside the engine….not good. I tried one last time with the easy-out extractor, this time tapping on it lightly with a large mallet…..BINGO ! It came out. Woo Hoo !! I was PUMPED !I So much so that I felt obligated to take back all of those sailor words that I was thinking, or ummm saying ?

After pumping my chest for the fruits of my labor and major accomplishment, I hailed an Uber ride to go to Home Depot to get the brass tee replacement, and other needed items. I successfully installed the tee and pumped my chest again when there was no sign of leakage. I then changed the oil in both engines since they were due.

There is a saying in the cruising community that is used a lot. The definition of cruising is “working on boats in exotic places”. I believe, at times this is going to be the case.

Sandra on the St. Pete Pier

We enjoyed our three days in St. Pete and we really wanted to stay the weekend for we didn’t really get to spend a lot of time on sight seeing, but the marina was booked. There are more places to see, and see them we will….so ….Vamos !


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Jim Bond
Jim Bond
Jan 05, 2022

Greetings! We are about 18 months behind you in a Manta 40 named “Skyfall” (hull 22) We currently are in a marina at Marco Island while we are finishing up work in Nashville. Love your blog!! Jim and Michelle

Jan 06, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Jim. We stayed a night at Marco Island a couple of weeks ago. We are currently at Boot Key Harbor about to cross to the Bahamas. We hope we can eventually meet up with you and Michelle.

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