April 3, 2014.
On Monday we spent the day hanging around practicing our Australian with our friends MV & Shane of s/v Gem. Learning a new language is always fun. They left our boat for another commitment at 1900 so we decided “What the hell, lets get going”.
We had been planning on leaving Tuesday morning and the breeze had already become favorable so why go to bed with conditions in our favor. We pulled the hook and had all sail set by 2000 hours. The first 2 hours we were close hauled on starboard tack and blasting along at 8 knots. Then we got to turn off to port about 25 degrees. The boat stood up a little and things just got better as we made small course changes more to port through out the evening.
We ended up broad reaching in 12 knots of breeze across dead flat seas for the bulk of the night. Morning found us with the breeze fading as we went wing and wing at 4 knots towards Mantanilla Shoal.
We ran straight into a huge high pressure system that straddled the Gulfstream and ran from mid Florida up into Georgia. Crap. Often there’s too much wind, now we had none. We cranked up the engine and motored dead northward with the streams advantage at 9 knots.....for 24 hours.
|The Dolphins were having trouble keeping up|
As we debated where to make landfall the weather decided to do it for us. Off South Carolina we were supposed to have 10 to 15 from the south southwest. We had the remnants of a northeast swell running into a six foot wind chop from the southwest. We had about 15 hours of semi misery as the seas rolled under us from the side. We wanted to get further but when I listened to Chris Parker on Thursday morning he promised us that Friday would have 20 to 25 from the southwest and the seas would build to 11 feet. We were supposed to have 15 and we were already seeing 20 so it was an easy decision. We skipped Port Royal Sound as the entrance channel is about 14 miles long and can be lumpy even on a pleasant day. No thanks. Charleston was only another 22 miles so we opted to head there.
We dropped the hook in the Ashley River just before dinner after covering 468 nautical miles in 68 hours for a 6.88 knot average. We've had better crossings but we've also had our asses kicked so we'll take it. We missed seeing our people in Florida but we did get to skip Georgia. We missed our people in Beaufort, SC but they're sailors and could appreciate why we skipped Port Royal Sound in those conditions. They know I'm a wimp.
|These little hydrofoils look like loads of fun....for somebody younger|
The Cliff Notes version. The first day was what sailing dreams are made of. An ultra black night sky with stars so brilliant that you could read by them. Broad reaching at 5 knots on crystal clear, flat water. The second day was mostly a Gulfstream motor but it was kinda cool to watch the miles tick away on a dead flat ocean. The third days best described by the word “uncomfortable” and I'll leave it at that.