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Old 10-08-2007, 20:09   #1
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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 10 - Hot Time In The Old Town, Tonight - Again (last one was several weeks ago

August 10 - Hot Time In The Old Town, Tonight

Well, not yet the town...

As we left you, the heat was building, and so was the wind.
Despite the wind, it was still so warm that we slept, as the
Brits (Lydia's technically one, her father being a Brit) say,
starkers and without covers. From time to time it would be
energetic enough to make a breeze down the Windscoop (trade name
for a smallish sail which pushes wind down the hatch for those
inside to enjoy the breezes outside), at which time we'd have to
cover up. However, we'd gotten to sleep so early not only last
night but the one before, that we're very well rested as we get

Before then, I attempted, for the entire hour of the net, to
check in to the Maritime Mobile Net. I could hear the controller,
and a few of the conversations, but nobody could hear me, from
any station. I even heard the controller talking with a boat in
St. Lucia (one who was stopping to do some boat work in an exotic
location!), commenting that he'd been looking for me, the only
other actual marine mobile unit currently participating in the
net. Given that it was the exact same location as I'd checked in
on the prior night, this was doubly annoying, because I'd
interrupted my work to sit for that hour. Perhaps next time...

During the night and very early morning, all the very few other
boats left, so we're entirely alone in the cove behind Cape
Lookout. We get ready to leave and I do the inch-by-inch raising
of the anchor due to our broken stripper requiring manual removal
of the chain as it comes off the gypsy (the specially formed
wheel which pulls it up). When I get to Beaufort, I'll call the
Lewmar folks and see about getting another part and the bolts
which were mangled in the excitement, but for now, it's making my
wrist tired due to the awkward angle at which I have to hold it
to make it happen. However, it's up, and we set sail under main
skirting the coast, but leave the motor running in the event we
find ourselves too close for comfort and feel we need an assist
to get back out from the shoals along the route.

Unfortunately, the seas are large enough, and in just the right
quarter, that Lydia's uncomfortable. She wasn't seasick, but not
comfortable in reading a chart. However, as on this entire trip
she's yet to take any seasickness prevention, that's a huge step,
because before she'd have been losing her breakfast over the
side. Nonetheless, we charge along, making good time toward the
entry to Beaufort, and the boat's eating it up. We've closed all
the ports and hatches, since we're getting water over the bow
frequently during all the motion, and sometimes, as the waves are
so short, we bury the bow for green water excitement. All is well
with the boat despite the huge application of salt overcoming all
Lydia's work from the prior day as we enter the channel, and
eventually drop the main to motor down the waterfront.

It's still blistering hot, but now it's also been piping a huge
breeze, and between the clear sky's solar charging of 10 or more
amps, and the wind's charging of 3-10 amps, other than in gusts
where it gets over 15 amps, and the alternator on the engine, we
presume the batteries are receiving a pretty good charge to
replace the occasional 5 amp deficit under what the wind usually
was providing last night (a surplus of some amps every time I
looked). Despite this, as we pull into the Beaufort area, we're
still under the appropriate voltage for us to be considered fully

We'd called the local TowBoatUS captain, who was kind enough to
walk us through the intricacies of local anchoring and locales
for our use in the area, but despite his suggestions for
location, we tried for more than two hours and half a dozen
locations up and down Taylor Creek to put down the hook in a
satisfactory manner. So, despite the pain in our pocketbook and
our resolution to avoid such stuff, we're now ensconced in the
care and custody of the Beaufort Town Docks at the same $2 a foot
as was the case in Charleston. This time, however, the street's a
few steps away, and all the shops and restaurants are on the
waterfront or a block away, the marina has courtesy cars we can
use. These enhancements to our experience otherwise
counterbalance the showers and bathrooms which make the
facilities at the campground I used as a kid look sumptuous. Same
free internet in town, too, as, with so many places offering it,
few bother to encrypt. So, as I'm writing this, with the Town
Dock repeaters for some reason not making the jump from
successful connection to the internet, I'm using someone else'

That signal's good enough for us to call Lydia's mother in
England on our internet phone, England and 4 other European
countries being included in the service we have (which has the
same number I've had for the last 30 years, another benefit). It
also allows me to call my daughter, who's just made me a
grandfather again, while we were at sea. Therefore, despite our
copious sweat, on our first Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight,
we're happy to be here and connected to shore power.

Shorepower restores our AC devices - that's not AC/air
conditioning, as we have none, but the other household power
items, including the shore power charger. That, we set to
"equalize" - an intentional slight overcharging which keeps
batteries healthy longer if done on a regular, but short (as
opposed to always) basis. However, 8 hours after we start that
regime, despite the solar shutting off (as designed, with full
charge), and the heat dump on the wind (the wind has continued
while we've been here, and the controller on that one moves the
charge to a heat strip) proving our otherwise full charge, we've
not achieved any higher voltage than would be the case in a
normal charge.

So, we'll let it continue to equalize through the night and check
it again in the morning, when I'll again read the individual
cells in the batteries to attempt to determine their condition.
In the meantime, we continue to take advantage of the shore power
to charge all the rechargeable items and not worry about the load
on the system of the computer (which isn't connected to the
battery during shorepower charging), or the microwave, AC fans or
other items not normally used, or only used sparingly due to
their loads. Our DC (12Volt) loads continue to be minor, not
hampering the battery charging, mostly the refrigerator, coasting
along at half power in its computer management scheme, but still
not cooling adequately. Perhaps it's time to dig out the heat gun
while we're connected and defrost the freezer again...

Today, while all that was happening, we wandered the streets of
Beaufort, enjoying the maritime museum, including all the
shipwrecks on the various shoals in this area (the reason we're
going inside for this portion of our trip) as well as the other
history of the area. I also was able to find, hallelujah, some
Keen shoes which actually fit my sasquatchian feet. No more
dislocated toes, as happened a couple of days ago as I was on
deck without footwear, and whacked my right small toe on the way
back to the cockpit!

We also bought some cruising guides and other sailing related
stuff, including a "Private" brass plaque for the door leading to
our cabin, for use when we have guests aboard, and we're trying
for some sleep or quiet time. Lydia will also tell you of the
people and animals we met; we had a lovely time sightseeing.

It's another hot night, but we're in the middle of a lovely
thunderstorm. Unfortunately, though it's much cooler outside, we
can't open the boat to take advantage of the cool. Very early
this morning - only a couple of hours after I went to bed - I was
awakened by the beginnings of rain, and as I scrambled in the
dark to close the hatches and ports, the most amazing lightning
display right outside our windows preceded the huge thunderous
crashes. We learned this morning that a couple of the boats
anchored out - where we would have been - were struck by
lightning, but we slept soundly through the remains of it, and
awakened to a very overcast, but dry sky, allowing our tourist

Tomorrow I'll put on the new windlass part Lewmar has sent me
overnight to arrive in the morning. We'll also make another
attempt to chat up some friends who were down the dock from us in
Charleston, whose boat we saw at dinner tonight. On the way out,
we'll go alongside another Morgan 461we saw anchored near one of
the spots we attempted, and see who they are, and add them to our
database of M46x boats. Before we leave, we'll check the weather
and any other interesting stuff, and, assuming nothing alarming,
head north to the ICW (Intra-Coastal Waterway) and its many
charms between here and Norfolk. Connectivity will be spotty
along the way, but we'll check in as we're able.

Stay tuned :{))



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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