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Old 14-08-2007, 08:56   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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August 13 - Light shows and other cruising delights

August 13 - Light shows and other cruising delights

We left Beaufort at about 10, the first time.

No, no problems. We just went down Taylor's Creek to see if we
could talk to the other Morgan 46 we'd seen on the way in, Fenix,
hailing port unremembered, as we were too busy trying to find
someplace which would both keep us hooked and not stick into the
channel, and didn't make note of it. However, they were gone -
whether to reanchor somewhere else, or onward in whatever journey
they were in, we don't know - so we didn't get to make their
acquaintance. So, we actually left about 10:15, in very cool
weather and moderate winds. More on that, later...

Before that, however, we wound up with another marina night
(OUCH!) while waiting for a part which never arrived. We're
hopeful that we'll be able to drive down and pick up what must
surely have arrived by the time we get to shore again, as the
marina's only an hour from our host's dock by car.

This proves the adage that a day in a sailboat is an hour on the
bus, for those meeting us in places we may not yet have reached.
It may be inconvenient, and a nuisance, to the crew/guests if
they have to do something other than their originally planned
public transport, but it beats our being put in harm's way.

Schedules are killers in sailboats, and aside from having reached
somewhere and considering that the accomplishment, rather than
the date-target, we're keeping ourselves off schedule, but
loosely adhering to an itinerary. That is, we know where we want
to go, and how to get there, but we're not making any promises as
to when that will occur.

Back to our enforced delay, we, of course, made the most of it. I
borrowed the marina car and went after another alternator belt,
as ours are disappearing quickly. Actually, we know several
cruisers who change their alternator belts when they change the
oil, so it's not such a big thing, other than that it's just
another cost of cruising. About a dime an hour, it works out :{))

We also made the acquaintance of several more people who fell in
love with our boat. One couple wound up spending a couple of
hours with us as we discussed kids and education and travel and
cruising, and, and, etc.. They've asked to be added to our log
lists, and as soon as we get back to internet connectivity, we'll
do that.

Another couple hung out with us after we got back from dinner.
This trip, so far, has been the exact opposite of our
expectations and goals for cruising. We'd expected to run the
engine next to never, extraordinarily infrequently use a marina,
and rarely eat out. All three of these have been blasted to
smithereens so far. However, once we get free of the ICW, and our
maintenance issues quiet down, we expect we'll be able to return
to our "normal" (what's "normal" when you've not done it yet??)

Anyway, we ate in this lovely little place which had a deck over
the water, and from the moment we walked in the door to the time
we paid our bill, there wasn't an element of our experience which
wasn't absolutely top notch. So, if you ever get to Beaufort, NC,
we can highly recommend Sprouter's, on the waterfront.

It was Saturday night, and there was a band playing - loudly! -
all night, but the air was very much cooler (we even applied hot
to the cold water in the showers), so our windscoop fed us lovely
cool air and we slept under the blanket.

So, off we went, on the 12th, and had an uneventful trip up the
ICW through the Adams Creek Canal. Once out on the Neuse River,
across from Oriental, NC, we saw lots of shrimp boats on their
way out to work. All of them had interesting names - presumably
kids' or husbands/wives' names - as they went by, and were in
various stages of rust.

Our systems continue to function well, though we found that
perhaps our batteries are on their last amps, or, maybe it's the
belt. This morning as I did my pre-start inventory, I noted that
the belt I'd tightened to the extremity the prior start was a bit
looser than I'd like, so made a note in the log to replace it
before we started again.

Oops. Burning rubber smells as we start out, and the tach
(tachometer, the thing which records engine speed) wasn't reading
properly. That meant that the belt was not grabbing well enough,
and we stopped, and threw out the hook (anchored) again, so I
could make the change. I've done this so many times now that it
was about a 10 minute job to remove the water pump belt (in the
way of the alternator belt), remove and replace the alternator
belt, replace the water pump belt and restart.

And, I figured out that with the shroud/cap of the windlass
removed (as would be needed to put the new part in, assuming we
actually get it), I could visually keep track of the chain as it
came off the gypsy. On the couple of times it hung up, I was able
to stop, lift the chain (the loose part is what would catch on
the way up), back it down for a tiny bit, and then continue. That
allowed me to not have to reach under the deck to feed the chain,
a great blessing, as currently my left wrist feels arthritic, for
whatever reason! Our anchorage was splendid. A couple of miles in
each direction of open water in about 9' deep, and no houses or
other boats, the breeze kept us cool and relatively free of the
skeeters which were otherwise thick on deck.

However, back to the heading of this post - last night was one of
the high days of the Perseid meteor showers this year. The two
prior nights would have been better, but this was also expected
to be a 1-2 per minute show. Peak time was in the hour and a
half-to two hours before dawn, so we ate our relatively late
dinner and went straight to bed, setting the alarm for 4. When we
went to bed, the sky was crystal clear, and promised to be a
great show.

Up we got in the pitch blackness. I made our coffee while Lydia
pried her eyes open and found our warm clothing. The cool
weather, combined with the early hour and long period of upcoming
inactivity on deck required us to have more on than we've worn
for many months. We turned out the anchor light and the red light
in the cockpit, and sat in our Sport-a-seats, looking nearly
straight up. These are upholstered and padded seats which have
ratcheting stops like those inexpensive plastic-tube-wrapped
lounges you buy where both ends can be adjusted by pulling them
all the way up, all the way down, and then stopping on the way up
at the desired position. In the Sport-a seat, there's only two
parts - a seat and a back. Scootching down in them allowed a
headrest, and aside from the surprising need for sweat pants and
shirts in order to sit out in the damp humidity and cool temps,
it was the very best time to be seeing these. We're hopeful we're
somewhere warm enough in mid-November when the Leonids arrive -
while Lydia's mom is still with us - so we can watch those, as

A very slight haze had developed, and increased as we watched,
slowly obscuring our view, but we were constantly entertained,
including by seeing the transit of many satellites, in mostly
north-south orientation, but one which was more east-west. One
was very large - perhaps it was the space station? (No, not
really, as it's a very far-out orbit and would not move as fast
as these did. Like our weather satellites, these took only a few
minutes from horizon to horizon. As I type this, the one
overhead, delivering the current picture, will have finished its
path in our view in less than 8 minutes.) As this was a new moon
phase, we got the very best of the light pollution conditions
other than being well offhsore. There was a little light haze on
the horizon, which diminished the view somewhat, but otherwise
the conditions were excellent

So, we watched until the false dawn extinguished the stars.
Before then, we were again reminded of our relative
insignificance in the universe, and of the majesty and awe of all
of it. It's truly (to us, anyway) impossible to grasp the
enormity of it, knowing that what we see is a tiny fraction of
the universe, and that our galaxy alone represents umpteen
million stars.

Thus fulfilled and awestruck we went back to bed. Arising at the
leisurely hour of 9:30, I pulled up the anchor after I'd started
the engine. As we started out of our lovely little bay, the smell
of burning rubber was coming from the blower vents, so we shut it
down again, threw out the hook, again, and made our changes.

We're not quite home on the electrical system - we're eating
belts, probably due to the quality of them. The belt I chased so
hard for a couple of days ago is too long to last as the belt is
tightened (not tight enough to stretch or accommodate wear for
more than one or two adjustments), so I'll have to take it back
when we do our part-running later today, but we've had this
particular line of belts recommended for heavy duty by one of our
suppliers we trust, so that's the type we'll get.

Our battery, while displaying very full charge levels not only
now, after only a short time running, but yesterday, after
leaving the marina with a very full charge state, showed a
voltage which suggested it was fairly discharged. As the size of
the battery we have would take an enormous amount of load to
discharge to that state, and we had an extremely small load, it's
likely that they are at the end of their life. I'll do some more
checking as we go along, hoping to find I'm mistaken, and there's
some other easy cure, but we're hopeful that New York is the same
in batteries as most other things - you can buy it there as
inexpensively as anywhere, or, even, the least cost - and not
only find a ready source but an inexpensive replacement for our
very unusual batteries.

It's warming up now, and the most recent satellite picture shows
absolutely nothing in the area we're heading for the next few
days. It should be a great trip. We're headed to the home of the
captain who got a different ride home when our steering died; he's
accompanying me to pick up our part which (we'll see when we
arrive, of course) we expect will have been delivered, finally,
to the marina.

So, I'll leave you here, and see you later!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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