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Old 18-06-2004, 08:07   #1
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Post Our trip south from Deale, MD to Fernandina Beach, FL

Following are a series of notes from our recent trip south. Sorry if they are a bit long winded...

Having bought our “dream boat” during an icy cold Annapolis January trip, we hatched a plan to move our “new” boat to our much warmer home in Florida. Having to work for a living, we had a two-week window to do it in. A little math will show that motoring down the ICW at five-plus knots would take closer to three weeks. We hoped that by going offshore, south of Cape Fear, we could accomplish our task. Our kid’s summer vacation started on a Thursday afternoon, and we were on a plane north on Saturday.

We arrived at Baltimore on Saturday, during a stretch of near record heat. Temperatures were in the nineties, as we headed down to the boat in a rented car. My wife Steph, our two children, ages eight and almost ten, and myself went straight to the boat and settled in. It was well over one hundred degrees in the boat, but things cooled down a bit after we opened the hatches and turned on some fans. The boat was on the hard, and scheduled to be put in the water on Tuesday. I wanted to get in the water on Monday, but the yard had a policy on not giving firm dates except Tuesday through Thursday. But, they told me they would try.

Sunday was spent getting organized and stocking up on not only groceries, but with plates, flatware and all other things needed for life on board. I had a list of several small projects to get done and was kept very busy. We also celebrated my daughters tenth birthday that night with dinner out at the local “Calypso Bar”.

Monday rolled around and we begged and pleaded to be put in the water. We wanted to make the most of our available time. Finally, as I was just about to leave to return the rental car, the lift showed up. We could just get the boat in the water and still meet my ride back from the car rental agency. The boat was lifted as I nervously paced around, trying to stay out of the way while ensuring they didn’t smash the speed or depth sensors. As the lift started down the road, we jumped in the car and drove down to the water to wait…. and wait … and wait. After several minutes my wife ran up the road and called me on the cell phone. The lift driver had run into another boat! I jumped back in the car and dashed up to the lift. It was pushing up against the fiberglass bow platform of a powerboat, and had lifted it up off the jack stands on one side. There was a great deal of running around and hand waving. Thankfully our boat was fine. However, the powerboat bow platform had broken a hydraulic line on the lift, and it was stuck until the mechanic could get the parts and fix it the next day. At least I was still able to meet my ride at the rental car office (Thanks for your patience Jeff).

The next morning, with the lift finally repaired, we made it to the water. The rest of the day was spent checking the engine and changing the oil and raw water impeller. The impeller was original to the ’93 engine and I thought it best to change it now. To my surprise, it looked like new. I put in the new part anyway, and saved the old as a spare.

Our first night in the water was uneventful, in spite of a large thunderstorm to our north, and reported tornados to the south. Wednesday morning was a dead calm as we motored south on the glassy water. We decided to make the day a short one, not to push our luck on our first trip out. Thirty nautical miles south we pulled into Solomons Islands harbor and tied up at the Tiki Bar. My wife sent me out on a “short” mission to find fresh crabs to cook for dinner. A hot and sweaty mile and a half walk later, I find the seafood store that is “just around the corner”. Another mile and a half back and I am “home”, crabs in hand. After sitting down to eat, I learn that walking to get them is only half the battle in getting their meat. After two crabs, several cuts on my hands and a tablespoon of meat later I decided to find something else to eat while the rest of my family worked their way through the crabs with delight.

The next day we took a big chunk out of our mileage by motor sailing in light SW winds down to the Chesapeake Bay. It was a relaxing day of lighthouse watching and fun, with the kids taking turns steering. We finally entered the harbor at salt pond marina just north of Norfolk. The kids were rewarded with a swim in the pool and the parents with a laundry room and free coffee in the morning. The marina was friendly and well protected.

Leaving a calm inlet our goal was a short hop into Norfolk to visit the waterfront and the “Nuaticus” museum. As we turned coming out of the harbor, the wind was out of the southwest, right at us. There was a light chop, but not too bad. As we turned into the Hampton river entrance, our speed dropped to about three knots due to a foul current. We were momentarily distracted when the HMS Invincible (a British aircraft carrier) passed by. This was a cool sight, but had the effect of forcing us to stay on the north side of the channel, rather than cutting across. Then all h**l broke loose. As we approached the bridge/tunnel across the bay, the wind shifted west and suddenly increased to a screaming 40 knots with gusts to 45! The swell kicked up and we were being jerked around severely. I was not yet used to the quick motion of the cat, and in these short steep seas it was alarming to be tossed around so much. This continued for the next two hours as we motored hard into the wind, swell and current. At one point the twin jib poles mounted vertically on the front of the mast broke loose at the bottom and were flailing around. I was just able to reach them through the dodger and secure them with a line. Next, the man overboard pole chafed through its mounting strap and went overboard, drifting down wind. I wasn’t about to try and go get it as it was heading for a shoal area. We finally made the turn south toward around the Norfolk river inlet. But, with a barge on one side of me, a naval security zone on the other and a submarine approaching from behind, there was little room to relax. Eventually we reached a more protected area of the river where we sighed in relief and counted our blessings. From this day, we learned to be prepared for the worst, even when on a “short hop”. We did enjoy the rest of the day in Norfolk. At the museum the kids played with the various science displays and the tide pool touch tank. We all had fun designing a World War II battleship as part of an interactive show with live actors and video. At the Tidewaters Marina the kids had another pool to enjoy as the adults cleaned up the boat and prepared for the ICW.

More to come...
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Old 18-06-2004, 09:17   #2
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Talking

Really enjoying your story. Hope you continue with it and let us know how things go.
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Old 18-06-2004, 13:02   #3
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The not so Dismal Swamp and North Carolina Sounds...

Early the next morning we set off to make the 8:30 lock up into the Dismal Swamp Canal. It seemed a pleasant trip after the adventures of the previous day. But, you can never let your guard down on the water! We locked eight feet up into the canal and had a pleasant trip with a brief stop at the North Carolina welcome center, leaving our name in their visitor’s book. The tea colored water was anything but dismal, and the dragonflies were colorful and abundant as we motored through the narrow, calm channel. Before reaching the second lock, you have to pass through a small drawbridge that is operated by the lock operator. Just prior to the bridge we tied to a wall and waited for him to show up. After the bridge was opened, a small powerboat went through, and then I began to move at the other boats request. I had to clear around a trawler in front of me and was looking closely to make sure I would pass. I happened to glance up and saw that the open bridge did not clear the river completely. I had to be on the left side of the channel to fit around it. It didn’t look like I was going to make it and as I stared up at the mast I prepared for the crunch. Somehow we made it around open bridge, and I breathed a sigh just as Stephanie let out a scream. She didn’t know of my dilemma with the mast, but was now screaming as we were headed straight for the left wall under the open bridge! Now throwing the wheel hard right, we turned and narrowly averted another disaster. I tried to look calm, like this was all planned, but my heart was racing pretty fast. You get to learn something new every day in this boating business.

We continued down the river to Elizabeth City. It was an interesting day. We started in Norfolk with its busy waterfront full of large Navy ships and large lift bridges. We transited the historic Dismal Swamp Canal, and now we were traveling the back rivers of North Carolina. The river was lightly developed with trees sweeping down to the water, which was still the tannin brown of tea, or root beer depending upon your desire. We had planned to tie to the Elizabeth City docks, but the chop was bad with the Southeast wind fetching up the Pasquotank River, and besides, our sixteen-foot beam looked too wide to fit between the pilings. The tour boat Bonnie Bell, whom we had followed down the river, was taking up the optional bulkhead tie-up space. But we needed groceries, so we pulled into the Pelican Marina where a friendly local cruiser named Earl gave me a lift to the grocery store and even waited while I shopped. Our next milestone was crossing the well-known and respected Albemarle Sound.

The next morning the wind was still blowing 15+ knots out of the SE. But unmercifully we were on a schedule, and we cast off, motoring into the chop down the wide bay to the sound. With all of the stories I had read I was concerned that we were not crossing on a nice quite day. As we approached the sound, I had to keep a constant eye out, as the crab pots grew thicker. As we turned out of the river, we motored along the north coast of the sound, waves building and beginning to pitch the boat. On occasion we would experience the bridge deck slam that cats are known for. After a couple of miles of this, we finally turned south enough to unroll the jib and motor sail across the bay. We were tossed around a bit and managed to see winds hit 20 knots while close hauled, but the two hours across was otherwise uneventful. When we turned southwest down the Alligator River the wind made it’s predicted shift to stay glued to our nose. It seems the only time the forecasts are correct is when you don’t want them to be. Another three hours of motoring into the chop and we turned into the relative peace of the Pungo River canal. It was the weekend, and thankfully there was no barge traffic as we made our way through. It was interesting to observe the large stands of fallen trees on the banks. Presumably it was the result of the hurricanes that seem so attracted to this part of the coast. At the other end of the canal our long day was rewarded with a quiet anchorage at the north end of the Pungo River. This was our first time anchoring this boat and I was glad to have plenty of room. It was satisfying to feel the 45-pound Bruce anchor dig into the mud immediately. After sorting out the bridle for the first time we settled into a quite and beautiful evening.

The next day was another of sounds and bays, as we pressed further south through North Carolina. We made a brief refueling stop at the Dowry Creek Marina and treated ourselves to sticky sweet frozen Klondike bars. They tasted like the finest ambrosia on that hot muggy day. Motor sailing down the Pungo River, we next needed to cross the Pamlico Sound. This proved easy, as it was only three miles across at this point. The bigger challenge that day was the upcoming Neuse River. After passing through a land cut, and a couple of miles down the Bay River, we exited the smaller river entering the larger Neuse and turning south. The southwest wind of the day before had strengthened and was of course blowing right up the river at us. Keep in mind that this “river” is about 10 miles across and 25 plus miles long where it really forms an extension of Pamlico Sound. Our goal that day had been the well-known boating town of Oriental. However, after about four miles of the short choppy seas on the nose, we elected to implement plan “B” by ducking into broad creek and anchoring for the night. Once again we were rewarded with a quite anchorage and beautiful scenery. As the kids fished, I worked on the next day’s plans and Steph cooked up another great dinner. Suddenly the kids started yelling and I jumped up in time to see a large crab holding on to Cameron’s worm as he was swinging the pole around. We dropped him into a bucket, where he settled in as the show of the night. I became his trusty sidekick when I tried to grab him and found out just how hard they can grab back. I’m not sure who was shocked more at the sudden expletives that came from my mouth, the kids or me. I still have the bruise and scratch marks on my hand as I write this.
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Old 18-06-2004, 19:55   #4
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Congratulations on making it home. It was nice to meet you. As things turned out my boat was struck by lightning and so is still up on the hard. The boat is fine but the electronics are toast. BoatUS has been great so far and I hope to be in the water again next week.

Regards
Jeff
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Old 20-06-2004, 06:03   #5
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Sorry to hear about the lightning strike. I helped a friend put his boat back in shape after it boat was hit (went up the 72' mast three times ). The ironic thing was that the VHF antenna was vaporized, yet the VHF was the ony piece of electronics that was still working. Lightning is wierd stuff. Good luck and hopefully you'll at lest end up with updated equipment for your troubles.

Woody
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Old 20-06-2004, 06:18   #6
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Nuese River, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC

“What a difference a day makes”, I thought as we sailed engineless down the same Neuse River that was tossing us around the previous day. The wind had shifted out of the north, and we had a nice beam reach towards Oriental. But instead of turning starboard into the harbor, we had to turn to port into the canal towards Morehead City. As we got closer to the Morehead City and the Atlantic, we saw our first dolphins feeding in the river, a nice diversion from the rolling drum of the diesel engine. We also began to see more boat traffic, and as we reached the coast and turned right behind the barrier islands, it became a three-ring circus. From fisherman anchored in the channel, to big sport fishers that seemed oblivious that they were swamping everyone with their 5-foot high wakes. We learned the hard way that they had no manners, and took a large steep wake over the bow and right down our front hatch. It soaked my daughter and the front of the salon. It took nearly an hour of cleaning and drying to recover from the mess. It never ceased to amaze me how rude these operators often were. Not all of them, but better than half of the large sport fishing boats seemed to have the attitude of “I paid a fortune for my boat so I own the waterway”.

We eventually passed out of Morehead City, and arrived at the quite town of Swansboro. Due to a late arrival and a very strong current we decided to tie up at a marina. At $1.45 per foot, with next to no amenities, this was our worst deal of the trip. Still, we decided to take advantage of our tie up that night and walk through the historic little town to eat out at a nice restaurant.

Leaving the next morning was much easier than docking, as the current was slack at high tide. This section of the ICW was attractive even with the numerous mini-mansions lining the shore. One large brick covered estate made me do a double take with its life sized giraffe statue in the middle of the yard. Later we saw a large pink stucco mansion complete with lamas.

Perhaps I was a little too relaxed in watching the depth sounder later that day. After all, you’d think that drawing three feet it would be hard to run aground. I learned yet another lesson… Always watch the depth! We were passing through a swing bridge when another boat coming from the south called the tender and asked if she could hold the bridge open for an extra couple of minutes. I could see him coming from around a long bend, making hull speed, trying to get to the bridge as quickly as possible. Having been in his shoes, I decided to head off to starboard and let him cut the corner to save some time. Two seconds after leaving the channel the boat came to a slow stop in the muddy bottom. I threw the gear box in reverse and as we slowly twisted around and backed out the mud I called to the other boat that I was aground. They quickly turned back into the channel, avoiding the same fate as us. Unfortunately, the bridge tender didn’t have much sympathy for them and she closed the bridge.

Further on, we used full power to overcome the powerful current under the bridge at Wrightsville beach. Turning left towards the anchorage it was another circus of ski boats, fisherman and partiers all over the waters. Taking it all in we motored over to the crowded anchorage and circled around looking for an open spot. It was tight between the boats, the docks and the channel. We finally found a spot to drop the hook in 20 feet of water. Using the big CQR, we could not let out enough chain for the depth and when it finally set we were too close to the docks. The current here was strong and would be changing directions in a couple of hours. Up came the anchor and we went around to the other side of the lagoon. But here, as we began to drop the hook, a couple on another sail boat came up screaming at us that they had been hit twice today and we can’t g** d*** anchor there. We took the not so subtle hint and upped anchor again. We then went across the channel where several boats were anchored, most with their owners away. We found a spot with good room, and the hook bit hard on the first try. We were a little more exposed to the wind here, but less exposed to yelling neighbors and got a good nights sleep.

The next day we continued down to Southport, just past Cape Fear. I don’t recall anything memorable from this section as I was more focused on getting ready to go outside the ICW for the remaining run home. After our bad weather near Norfolk, the crew was a little weary about heading offshore. However, the wind was forecast to shift for a couple of days and be from the north, instead of its usual southwesterly flow. Of course, the reason for the shift was a passing low and corresponding cold front.

It was a short day to Southport, and we planned to go to Bald Head Island to enjoy the pool, do some grocery shopping and ready the boat. The kids were looking forward to a pool to help survive the sometimes stifling heat and humidity. But it was not to happen. It turns out we chose the weekend of the annual Bald Head Island fishing tournament to show up. The marina was full. A quick check in the guide showed one other marina with a pool, so to avoid mutiny I turned back into the waterway and headed to South Harbor Village. We settled in to the slip at South Harbor, only to find that the guide was wrong and there was no pool after all. The disappointment didn’t end there. As I rechecked the coastal weather forecast, things had changed. A low was passing by, and the front was on the way. But, instead of the northerly wind shift that had been forecast to accompany the front, we instead got increased southwest winds, and thunderstorms forecast. Now instead of rigging for offshore, we would be heading further down the ICW and past the currently infamous and shoaled Lockwood’s Folly inlet.

Looking at the charts, we wanted to try and get at least to Charleston before we ran out of time. There we would be able to find a secure marina and rent a car to get back home. This meant making good time between stops. The next day we would have to cross Lockwood’s Folly inlet near high tide, get to the sunset beach pontoon bridge before the tide was too low for it to open, and run through the rock pile section of the ICW, a pretty tall order.

The kids had fun fishing off of the dock that evening, while the adults did laundry and a few other boat chores. We were up early the next morning, with the incoming tide pushing us south. We had spoken to a retired couple on a trawler the night before and they were telling us of the horrors crossing THE inlet, so we were a bit nervous as we approached. Just then one of the forecasted thunderstorms began to develop just inland, and it started to rain, increasing the anxiety. We arrive right at high tide and while it was raining lightly and a bit of swell was getting through the pass, the channel was well marked and a fishing boat was blasting across at full speed with no problems. In the end it was anticlimactic. Sticking to the buoys we never saw less that nine feet during the plus three-foot tide. The next challenge was the bridge schedule. At an earlier bridge I saw the tender refuse to hold it open for an extra three minutes, so I knew I wouldn’t have any schedule leeway. Combine that with the difficult to predict tidal currents, and I gave myself a 50-50 chance of getting to the soonest opening. The next scheduled opening would be on a lower tide, and with its pontoon design, it might not be able to open until the next rising tide. I put the pedal down and we raced at a “swift” eight miles per hour (the ICW is measured in statute, not nautical miles) to the bridge. It’s funny how your perspective on speed changes after you have been on the boat for a while. As it turns out, the bridge was a couple of minutes late opening, and with the number of boats waiting to pass, it was fifteen minutes after the hour before it started to close. No worries mon. On to the rock pile!

As you work south towards Myrtle Beach, the development increases and the ICW becomes much less attractive. Following the guide’s recommendation, I placed a securite call on channels sixteen and thirteen to alert any barge traffic that I was entering the very narrow section. Only one moored barge called back, letting me know that he was there, but with enough room to pass, so onward we went. This long, straight section was easy to navigate, just stay near the middle. If that’s not enough to convince you, the numerous rocks near the edge ought to be. We did squeeze past the moored barge, with plenty of depth, but with rocks only ten feet away on the opposite side. At this point we were losing a couple of knots to the current so it seemed to take forever to get through. Finally we rounded a bend at the end of the section and we could see our goal, Barefoot Landing. This is a shopping mall of sorts that has a floating dock and offers two nights free stay. Of course the free is relative when there is a Mall next to you, and a couple of stores later we were definitely light in the wallet. Our real goal in getting here was to take the kids to the new Harry Potter movie on opening night, which we did. Unfortunately this meant a bus and cab ride to another center, since this one didn’t have a theater. It also meant a nice dinner out, in glorious air conditioning.
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Old 21-06-2004, 14:49   #7
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Myrtle Beach, SC to Charleston, SC

Another day and we were on the move again. We were rushing, through several more miles of ugly development, to make yet another bridge opening. At our best pace we were going to be ten minutes late for the schedule. I decided to push on just in case there was a delay as in the day before. As we round the bend I could see the bridge 15 minutes ahead. One very polite call to the bridge tender, and he agreed to delay the opening, much to the dismay of the big sport fisher waiting to get through. Finally a little justice for all those big wakes! After this bridge we passed into some of the most beautiful scenery we saw on the ICW. The stretch of river leading down to Georgetown was deep water winding through a wonderful cypress swamp. We saw only a couple of bass fisherman on the river and a half dozen goats wandering through the trees. We also saw why the bass fishermen were there, when a monster fish jumped across in front the boat. As we neared the end of the wooded area we could see a small Coast Guard boat and blue flashing lights ahead. As we drew closer the boat turned out to be a Coast Guard Auxiliary boat and he waved for us to stop. They yelled that the ICW was closed due to a boat race and we would have to anchor. There had been no announcement and these guys didn’t seem to understand what they were doing, but we dropped the hook in the river to wait. Just then a large motor yacht came around the corner from behind us and the CG auxiliary crew could be seen scratching their heads. Further down the river a sheriffs boats was waiting and they must have decided to take over the situation. On the radio this time, they said we could all pass, but had to stay on the port side of the river. So, up came the anchor and on we went. I never did see a racing boat of any kind.

Further on, as we turned out of the river into the bay above Georgetown, the wind picked up and we had a nice motor sail for a couple of hours. With the tide in our favor we shot down the bay and turned back into the waterway. Now we were in the low country marshlands. Winding through the tidal channels we saw several birds. Most we had seen before, but here they were numerous and a joy to observe. We saw one of the stranger things on the trip that day. We were heading through the marsh, watching our depth sounder, trying to find more than eight feet of water. It was low tide, right after the full moon and there were several feet of mud showing at the channels edge. Except for the sparse channel markers, we hadn’t seen a sign of civilization in hours. I had to blink my eyes when I saw a cruise ship coming at us. It was the “American Glory” a ship that travels the ICW on historical tour cruises. They gave us a polite call and asked to pass port to port, which we did, giving then as much room as possible in the narrow waterway. There wasn’t a soul on deck, but inside we could see them eating dinner, being served by tuxedo clad waiters. It was quite a contrast to our experience. In spite of shallow water and the cruise ship, we were making good time this day. We’d covered nearly ninety miles before we dropped the hook in a large marsh surrounded creek. It was a pretty spot, with a lot of room and we had it all to ourselves. Unfortunately the current and wind were both strong and the boat was doing some very strange things at anchor. At one point we were facing the current but pulling on the chain in the wind direction. At the end of the night, the current and wind were both strong, yet the anchor chain and bridle were totally slack. We seemed stuck, somehow balanced between the current and the wind. We weren’t moving, and were in twenty feet of water. I pulled up enough chain to convince myself that it was still hooked to the bottom, and then watched as we stayed that way for at least fifteen minutes. Finally I went to bed, still scratching my head and listening for the GPS anchor alarm. The next morning we awoke irght where we anchored, to the sounds of dolphins surfacing around the boat, puffing out air as they cruised the lagoon. It was a beautiful, peaceful morning with the current and wind both gone. It was Sunday, and we sadly had to return to work the next day.

Further south through the marshes, we arrived at Isle of Palms, still in South Carolina. Civilization roared back in front of us. It seemed every speed boater in the state was out at full speed. Overhead a helicopter from boatpix.com was buzzing back and forth 50 feet off the water. He was taking boat photos, presumably for sale on the Internet. I was looking again at the bridge schedule and could see we would miss the Ben Sawyer Bridge opening by about fifteen minutes. A shrimp boat passed us and I knew they might open it for him, but I couldn’t keep up, even with his slow pace. Later, as we approached the bridge, I was surprised to see the shrimp boat tied to the pilings on our side of the closed span. A quick call confirmed that the bridge was stuck, waiting for an electrician. We dropped the anchor, while trying to stay out of the channel, as a million ski boats zoomed up and down the river. Again, the wind and current were strong, and I was sure the anchor would drag in all the boat wakes. Thankfully the bridge opened only twenty minutes late and we were clear to Charleston. Entering Charleston against a slight current, we tied up at Ashley Marina at 5:00 PM sharp. With the historic town buildings in the distance, we spent the next several hours buttoning things up and getting a cab to the car rental agency. Arriving home in Fernandina Beach by car, our heads hit the pillow at 2:30 AM. At least I didn’t have to worry about the anchor dragging.
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Old 22-06-2004, 13:19   #8
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One week later…

The next week was spent with one foot on land, and one at sea, as we figured how to get the boat south another 180 ICW miles. We figured we would have to take two weekends of hopping down the coast and returning to work. However, as the week progressed, an easterly wind shift was predicted.

We drove the rental car back to Charleston Friday night, again with the kids in tow. Settling back in, we prepared to go outside. The weekend was forecast to have 10-15 knot winds starting out of the southwest and then turning northeast in the afternoon. Saturday morning we returned the car and fueled the boat. We were finally away from the dock at 11:00. Motoring out of the harbor we passed Fort Sumter and made sure we were clear of the jetties before we made our turn south. It was 12:30 PM and we were turning into a 5-knot southwest breeze accompanied by a large but slow southwest swell. After a couple of hours of this, the wind started its slow shift towards the east. Soon I could motor sail, and by 5:00 PM I killed the engine. We could only manage 3+ knots in the 5-10 knots of wind. But, as I contemplated turning the engine back on, the breeze picked up and steadied at 10 knots. At this point the seas were becoming a bit confused. Having been a southwest wind for weeks, the swell was reluctant to give up. But now it was joined by a chop out of the east. Both Stephanie and kids began to feel the effects of the washing machine motion. The wind continued to build and finally settled at 20-25 knots, with an occasional 30-knot gust for fun. The swells became more confused and the motion got worse.

My son threw up just as it was getting dark. My daughter confined herself to her berth, and Stephanie could do nothing but lay down in the salon. We all began to question our sanity and judgment, but the boat was in no danger, I was feeling fine, and it would have been more dangerous to head for an inlet. We could see lightning ashore in the distance, and my biggest worry was one of those storms heading our way. But, with the strong onshore breeze, they would have a hard time making it to us. Thankfully the wind was at a broad reach and the sailing was great. I double reefed the main and reduced the roller furling down to 25%. We were going slower than we could with more sail, but I was looking at single-handing for the night and wanted to make the boat a little more comfortable and keep a better margin of safety. As the sun fell, the wind stayed high, although we lost the gusts over 25. By early morning the swells had settled into an eastern pattern, and the wind dropped to below 20 knots. At sunrise, we were cruising along in 15 knots of wind and a moderate but comfortable swell with full sail. By late morning we lost most of the wind and had to turn on the engine to get home before evening and the inevitable afternoon thunderstorms. As the seas eased, everyone’s mood improved and life once again was good. More dolphins made their appearance, providing the young kids and us grown kids with their magical entertainment. Sailing into the Saint Mary’s river inlet, it felt good to achieve our goal. Exposure had truly exposed us to everything we were looking for, and a few things we weren’t. All of this has made us stronger in mind, body and heart. She is now berthed at our local marina, waiting to expose us to more fun and allow us to dream about future possibilities.

Thanks for reading... Woody
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