November 2, 2009.
Once again we were up before the sun and underway. This time we were one of a steady stream of boats headed south.
The breeze was a little lighter today as we headed south. Pure sailing was going to yield us about 3 knots so like everyone else we opted to motorsail.
We made excellent time down the Pungo River and across the Pamlico Sound. The wind was pretty much non existent in Goose Creek but when we popped out into the Bay River we were able to kill the engine and sail for 2 hours. The wind soon died away leaving us with a 10 mile motor to our destination of Oriental, NC. As usual we slipped into Whittaker Creek and tied ourselves up at our friends; Ken & Carol’s backyard dock.
We’ve spent a few days here seeing our people, meeting new people, catching up with other cruisers and doing boat chores.
Since we’re only a few days from going offshore I decided to see if I could once and for all exorcise our bilge pump demons. Our automatic bilge pump wasn’t working again so we’ve been using the manual bilge pump to pump the bilge dry.
We’ve noticed that there’s been a significant amount of water getting into the bilge since we left Annapolis. The rudder post turned out to be the culprit. I found that there just wasn’t enough adjustment left to get the rudder post to stop dripping. I’m able to adjust the stuffing box without to much trouble but to repack the stuffing box meant that I had to disassemble the steering quadrant and the autopilot attachments to gain the necessary access. It all went well and turned out to be a simple repair.
With the source of the leak resolved it was time to fix the bilge pump. I’ve done this so many times that I just said “to hell with it” and ripped out the whole system right down to the last wire. I replaced all the wiring and even installed a new fancy assed panel.
Our old panel had a fuse and a toggle switch with “manual, automatic or off” as possible choices. The new panel has those choices and also includes a counter so you can see how many times the bilge pump has cycled and an alarm that sounds whenever the bilge pump comes on. It all seems to work real well but we’ll see how it goes once we’re at sea.
I also got the upper hand on a leak that’s been killing me in our fresh water pressure system. With that fixed I replaced all of our sail slugs along the foot of the mainsail and the line on our Lifesling. We also reactivated our Skymate weather reporting system.
As it stands right now we’re heading down to Beaufort in the morning with the hopes of heading offshore tomorrow bound for Charleston, SC.