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Old 09-08-2007, 15:37   #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
Posts: 1,591
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August 6 - "Fear, itself"

At 6 this morning we were about 28 miles off Cape Island/Cape Romain,
enroute to our waypoint off Cape Fear, in about 100 feet of water.

Cape Fear has the famous "Frying Pan Shoals" - origin of which I'm not
certain, other than that it sticks out a great long way into the Atlantic.
Since we're headed to Beaufort (unless we change our mind, of course), which
is further up the coast, we'll give Cape Fear a good miss.

We left at about 6:30PM yesterday, attending to the various little things
which had cropped up preventing us from feeling comfortable in leaving at

Unfortunately, our inverter (the thing which takes battery power and turns
it into "household" power - the same kind you plug into at home) seems to
have died. Fortunately, we have a small gasoline generator aboard for such
times as AC power is needed.

We have not yet nailed down the misbehavior in our engine charging circuit,
but believe it to be a wire fault leading to the alternator, the thing which
generates the electricity when the engine's running. We'll trace that out
when we're next anchored for a while, but in the meantime, we have a
workaround that suffices, and the alternator does very well at its chores.

The other couple of items were successfully dealt with, and we - for those
of you keeping score :{)) - didn't leave first thing in the morning as
expected. Instead, we took advantage of the circumstance to dinghy in to the
City Marina facilities to do laundry, buy some gasoline for the generator,
and splurge ourselves to a lovely brunch while the laundry was doing its

Lydia pointed out that in the "Charleston's many delights" post I'd
mentioned another boater whose vessel wasn't quite ready for the sea.
Not going is usually the better idea - we didn't, for over 3 years. And, of
course, as seen, we didn't go either a few days ago, or even just now,
because we weren't happy with the readiness of the vessel. So, we err on
the side of caution, and Macy's dad did well to stick it out until some
issues there were resolved, tool. Like us, he'd recently had the benefit of
the USCG's services. Usually, that tends to focus one's attention :{))

After making the decision not to leave at dawn yesterday, but instead to
attend to the several glitches which had arisen, we'd originally expected to
leave this morning - but after consideration, realized that we'd arrive in
Beaufort about dawn, rather than at the end of the day as would have been
the case in our original plan, and thus, we'd have a much greater window of
time to allow for arrival times, if we were to leave just before dark.

So, that's what we did. Getting the anchor up proved to be a surprising
task. Our windlass has always been up to the job, but it was straining this
time. Applying just a touch of lift at a time, and letting the bobbing of
the boat help, the anchor seemed stuck just below the surface. A bit more
of this revealed that there was another anchor and chain attached to it!
Evidently it had been there for some time, likely being attached to the
small boat off in the distance, as a fellow anchorage sailor told us of
their 200' plus line out, and the chain was fully buried in the sand. I got
it up far enough to get a line around it, supporting it, and dropped our
anchor from under it. After releasing the other, ours came up without
incident, and we set out for the channel.

The falling tide gave us a boost as we exited the Charleston Harbor. Except
for a short stretch, we motorsailed it with just the genoa out, and at times
were making more than 8 knots over the ground with the tide's help.

Dodging the ship traffic, we hurried to the end of the channel, and set our
main with a single reef and rolled the genoa back out. Forecasts were for
uniformly light wind (less than 10 knots) and no storm activity, but with
only one hand on deck at night, it's prudent to reef before it's needed.

The wind was in a nearly perfect position, directly abeam, and helped
stiffen the boat against the waves rolling us from side to side. As Lydia'd
slept in the prior morning, she took the first watch.

This would be a test for her, as she didn't take any seasick prevention.
However, she's felt that she has become acclimated to the sea, and would be
fine without any assistance.

As it turned out, she was, not coming for relief until nearly 5 AM. When we
started, the load was minimal, and the wind generator was keeping the
deficit in the batteries to a minimum. However, over the course of about 10
hours of sailing, the batteries were down to an unacceptable 12.3V, and the
radar wouldn't light. So, out comes the Honda, as it is quieter and much
less expensive in wear and tear (and fuel, for that matter) as a charging

Any time we have an excess of power (the Honda generator makes much more
power than the shore power charger needs), we plug in all the devices which
require periodic charging. The computer on which I'm writing, having been
accidentally left off the power grid when I was using it for a while
yesterday, needed charging, too, so I took advantage of that to sit for
while :{))

Our radar is set for 24 nautical miles. The typical shipping traffic is
moving at 15-30 knots, so I check every 15 minutes while I'm at the
keyboard. In 15 minutes, the fastest shipping would move 8 miles or less, so
that would give us ample warning to pay very close attention.

Meanwhile, Otto (the autopilot) continues his faithful duty, steering us to
the waypoint off Cape Fear. We should be there by suppertime or thereabouts.
Meanwhile, as dawn broke, we're in the middle of the very deep blue of the
North Atlantic. No wonder it's "Navy" blue!

Taking advantage of our electrical surplus, our satellite weather pictures
are developing. They suggest good weather all the way to our next stop, as
the apparent rain or cloudiness in that area will have moved on by then.

The wind continues moderate, but is shifting further south. I'll shake out
the reef in the main, put up the staysail, and trim it all to take advantage
of the prevailing wind as well as try to stiffen the boat against the
rollers that swing us from side to side.

The sun will be up fully in short order, and we'll again be without AC
power, as we'll shut down the generator and let Mother Nature provide us
with our power.

So far, it's been a great trip. Lovely weather, benign conditions, and
sailing (instead of motoring, as we did early on in our journey). Whatta



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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