April 12, 2011.
The pressures we endure. We killed a few days at Cumberland Island, Georgia waiting for reasonable temperatures to return to the great northern wasteland. The time had arrived for us to jump north a bit. We opted to skip the ICW in Georgia and jump out at Saint Mary’s River and head in at Port Royal Sound in South Carolina.
The wind was supposed to be light and variable, becoming 10 to 15 late in the day outta the south. Followed by a nighttime increase of 15 to 20, outta the southwest. We would have liked to jump a little further but there was a line of nasty squalls due to hit the South Carolina area by noon on Tuesday followed by northerlies. So we wanted to be off the ocean and the northlands still have the whole “chilly” thing goin’ on so there’s still no rush. It’s about 100 miles from inlet to inlet so if we averaged a paltry 4 knots we would reach Port Royal first thing in the morning.
We rode the last of the ebb tide out into the ocean at 0800, hoisted all sail and killed the engine. And we found ourselves skimming over a dead flat ocean at about 2 knots. It was 5 hours before we topped 4 knots. Once the wind built to 12 knots we were doing a little better than 6 knots. So we double reefed the mainsail to slow us down a bit.
I wanted to time our arrival at the sea buoy for dawn. The entrance to Port Royal Sound is about 10 miles long and doing it in the dark has no allure for me. As the winds built to 20 knots I had to slow the boat even more. We rolled up the genoa and continued on under double reefed mainsail alone.
We arrived at the sea buoy about an hour before dawn, near perfect timing. We were able to sail right up into the sound and with about 4 miles to go the wind veered and was too close to the nose so we fired the engine up. And something didn’t sound right. Crap.
A bearing in the raw water pump had failed. Christy sailed as close to the wind as she could into the ebbing tide while I went below to change out the pump. I had to remove the plumbing fittings from the old pump housing to use with the new one. I also had to take the pulley off the old pump and that’s where the problems started.
I couldn’t remove the set screw to get the pulley off the old shaft. After a half hour of trying to bullshit my way through this I knew that we were gonna be without an engine until I could sit down for 2 hours and do this correctly.
So we ended up tacking back and forth up the entrance into the ICW. We were belted right on the nose by one line squall after another as the weather conspired with the outgoing tide to make this as difficult as possible for us. The wind would jump up to 30 knots for 10 minutes before dropping back down to 15 knots. We were timing our tacks when there was less wind and all the time we were fighting about a knot and a half of tide against us.
I took us well over an hour to cover this last 4 miles before we could turn north on the ICW. We sailed up and dropped the hook in the lee of Parris Island, SC.
I tried heat, penetrant and brute force and nada, the god damn screw would not budge. I finally had to drill it out. Then I drilled and tapped a new hole for a new set screw. I got it all back together and we motored the last hour up to Beaufort, SC. We’re anchored in Factory Creek and looking forward to some rest.