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Old 17-07-2004, 10:10   #1
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Abaco Trip Report

Before now, our longest overnighter on this boat was the delivery, which was 29 hours outside.
Well here is a slice of our sojourn to the Abacos and back.
We left with the outgoing tide at about1630 hrs. A light breeze so started the engines and headed SE. The intended track took us out 20 to 100 miles off the coast. Basically a straight line from Bohicket (south of Charleston) to Cape Marina, Cape Canaveral FL. Or Ft. Pierce
The first night started with an overcast sky and light winds,10-15, naturally out of the SE. The forecast called for 2-4 ft with a northerly swell @6sec. sounded good enough to head out.
The actuality was they were right about the 10-15 part. And some of the waves were a northerly swell. The rest came at us from everywhere, and were more like 7-9s at no interval. Needless to say we were getting a lesson in beating.
Then at about 0100 hrs the dirt an grunge that I thought had went away through modern chemistry, NOT, decided to kill the starboard engine. Shitty weather a little rain and a dead engines, and haven’t been gone long. I really hoped this was not an omen. I, being of sound mind thought that with one engine beating into crapola was maybe a sign to turn it around. Actually tacked back within 7 or 8 miles from shore kind of looking for a spot so to speak. Well when I got there I noticed that a slow tack was not as bad a ride, so tacked we did. Keep in mind Diane and the dogs are fast asleep.
Well we lived through that night SLOWLY. When we finally got opposite Savanna the winds shifted and the seas became uniform. We were headed south with good conditions even with one engine; after all it is a sailboat. At one point while an afternoon nap I was awakened by the waves flying by the porthole really quick, not real normal fro a cat. I jumped up and ask sweets what eed, and she smiles and says we hit 13 a couple of times. She had it tuned and was making great time and that smile we all get was beaming from her face. Hell I turned and wandered back the rack.
I worked on the engine off and on with no frisking luck. Tried replacing racor filter, then the secondary filter and primed until I finally blistered my face with diesel fuel. While wiping tons of sweat. Finally gave up and it would run for a while and then quit again and again till it stopped for the rest of the way to Cape Canaveral.
It was a nice but slow second night. When I came up for the shared portion of Diane’s watch She had it on Auto and had her legs over the side playing literally foot tag with a pod of dolphins. Another large smile, needless to say, greeted me she had that smile working again. We sailed along together with her at the helm and me basicall doing the navigating.
It would take us 69 hours dock to dock. I radioed in told them I had one engine and the guys met us at the dock. No problems at the dock and luckily there was a mechanic on duty. He came down and determined that the fuel line was plugged. 150 bucks later I learned what I should have known my self. DUH. But he did get us running and was a real nice guy. Always known that lessons always cost some thing! Then there was also the don’t turn your bilge pump off of auto lessons. , especially if you did not fix the hot water heater. Yes it blew and luckily 37 gallons of water comes to two inches below the floorboards. Another large DUH, at least it only cost us water. I pushed or should I say jammed it back in and taped the hell out of it.
After a real night’s sleep and a shower and we were ready to hit it. Had waited for a fuel polisher till 1200, who was a no show, and then we both agreed to chance it.
We headed south staying just off the coast using the afternoon heating for some wind 3-4 footers 10-15. Unfortunately the afternoon showers/squalls caught us at about 2230 hrs. A ton of lightning30-40 Knt gust but not much for waves. Dropped the sails prior and bare poled it until it was past us and hoped it wasn’t our day for lightning strike. After an hour or so and the skies cleared and we were in the Gulf Stream. Thank God for two engines, and sails!
We broke into the LittleBahama Bank at Mantilla shoal, and dropped the hook for some sleep off of Lily Bank 29 hrs later.
I won’t bore you with the details of gunk holing from Walkers, Double Breasted, Moraine and so on and so forth. And if youare not familiar with the area all are deserted cays with empty white sand beaches and very few people. Great snorkeling, diving, and lots of daily sailing between cays and having a blast.
Keep in mind the central Abacos are WIFIed, so we had e-mail and Internet, pretty cool. IMHO.
On about or around the end of the month I checked Internet weather and it agreed with Barometer Bob (Abacos cruiser’s net) that the next four or five days the passage back looked real good. So we said all our good byes and headed north.
We left Baker’s Bay and headed for Green Turtle for some fuel and provisioning first. Then headed for Allan’s Pensacola for the first day headed back. Allan’s had more people than I like so we anchored just north at the next Cay (Umbrella Cay). The second day was to Great Sale Cay for our next anchorage. Other than slaying Barracuda and seeing a blue hole, pretty uneventful. The next morning we head for West End to top and fuel and get a night s sleep before turning to 358’.
We shoved off about 0800 and were in the Gulf Stream quickly with 5-10 knts of wind out of the Southeast and a following sea of maybe 2’and 3.5 knots of current. Motor sailing making 10-11 was all right. We saw maybe three ships and other than losing all the water AGAIN, and running out of smokes it had been pretty smooth so far
We had lost the autohelm, so some one had to be at the helm constantly. The second night about 40 hrs into the trip a real storm finally nailed us. We were between St. Simon’s and Savanna and I had been watching the wall of storms building all day. We were about 85 to 100 miles off, so basically had nowhere to go. After catching a Wahoo (45 lbs) just as the sunset we hit the storms at around 0430.gusts50 knt gusts and rain so hard I could not see to the bow and 5-7 footers over the bows. Three hours later we were still floating and I had found a pack of smokes in my foulies so life was good!!
Dock to dock 51 hours we were back safely in our slip and sleeping FINALLY.
Total days 5/28- 6/30=34 days
Total miles: 1200
We had a BLAST, learned more about our boat and ourselves than we ever imagined!
Mainly yes, we can do this by ourselves, we are self-reliant and more than anything else, we make one hell of a sailing team.
Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure
All you have to do is do it!


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Old 17-07-2004, 20:40   #2
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Sounds like a blast, even with the usual problems...

As I am setting up my boat I am always interested in a couple of questions. What was the one thing you brought along that you wouldn't bother with next time. And...

What is the one thing you didn't have that you wished you did (Other than more smokes ).
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Old 18-07-2004, 09:17   #3
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Quote:
exposure once whispered in the wind:
Sounds like a blast, even with the usual problems...

As I am setting up my boat I am always interested in a couple of questions. What was the one thing you brought along that you wouldn't bother with next time. And...

What is the one thing you didn't have that you wished you did (Other than more smokes ).
Ok things that we wish we would have taken, electric drill, the rechargable's battery died, really needed to change the oil. Primer bulb for the diesel, could've fixed the fuel line problem. And from the Admiral, more paper products, they were expensive in the islands, and washer and dryer. And more film for the cameras. We carry underwater, digtal, and a canon eos cameras. Oh three more things, a glove for grabbing fish, and a good source for identifying the fish we caught rather they were edible or not. And a ciguterra test kit.

As far as stuff we took that we did not need. Neither of us can think of anything. Except the anxiety over the dogs ability to master the boat life. They far exceeded all expectations for adapting to the life style.
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