Monday, October 12, 2015

Solo Trouble on the Atlantic.

I left my home dock at Port Royal landing marina around 9:am on Sunday Morning. My wife was going to be in Atlanta for a few days of business, So I thought it would be a great time to take off on an adventure.  Oh boy what an adventure it was... Here's how it all started.

Sunday brought. Light falling rain, completely overcast skies with no wind. I Grabbed some ice, beer, Cup-a-soup and vienna sausages, salteens. Grabbed my pillow, laptop,camera and I was set. I headed down to the marina. Loaded all my stuff in a cart and made the long walk down to the "f" dock.
I got out my log book and recorded the time date and maintenance checks. Checked my safety gear.Ran the engine 10 min or so and untied the lines and headed out with the outgoing tide.

Its nice having the ST400 Auto helm. A self steering device is is a must with single handling a large boat. The trouble I found myself in, it was indispensable.
I had a great run to Hilton head island. The ebb tide and my iron genoa got my 8 tons of yacht  up to 6 knots over the ground. I had no wind until I reached the Broad river. I sailed across the port Royal sound using my main sail and no headsail. I did not realize I had the 155% geny on board an left the 115% at home. I cant manage the tack of such a large sail by my self. The 115% I can.

After I crossed the Port Royal I dropped the sail and motored the rest of the way up scull creek to the marina. I paused just to take it all in. Beaufort county is so Beautiful place. I tell folks they need to see the county from the water. As eased along I had some lunch I fed the gul's for some nature shots. Gul's are such hams.

I sometimes think I may be a ham as well.If you notice the photo above, the helm has no pilot. Kinda strange to get use to. But I must say its beginning to work on me. It takes some tome to begin to trust it.

I made to Scull Creek marina without any mishap at all. It was a great trip. When I got tied up to the dock and talked to the folks running the marina. Finished the daily log post. I opened a cold bear and pumped up my old trusty alcohol stove to make dinner. As I settled in for the night a Hatteras fishing yacht pulled in across the dock from me, But not before nailing the concrete pier an smashing the starboard gunwale. The new owner was pissed, I bet. That's it below on the left.

I got little sleep that night. I'm broadside to the creek an the incoming tide change had rushing water under the hull and it mad a loud sound like water flooding the boat. So this went on for 4 hours or so.  Just when I was finally asleep The obnoxious Hatteras had their fire alarm go off at 5:45am as they were cooking breakfast. So I got up and headed out as soon as I cood.
See ya Later Scull Creek Marina.

 I had no problem getting around Hilton Head and out to the atlantic. The tide was going out and pushing me hard. By 6:50 I was at the sea buoy. I had a good solid 11 knot breeze but off the nose, so I had to tack a lot to make headway. I was 3 miles or so offshore and up to this point was making 4.5 knots per hour. Then all of a sudden the wind just stopped. The cursed doldrums arrr. So I was going to start the engine an motor sail until I could find the wind.

As I went to start the engine I heard a loud squealing sound, The alternator belt was slipping and burning, I set the auto pilot on a port tack  around  35 degrees.That put me on a off shore course. I opened the engine cover and replaced it as soon as I could. Yea I keep a spare. Once I finished the repair. I went to start the engine for the second time. Fired right no problem until I went to put it in gear, I heard a small clunk. That's the folding prop opening like it should before you give it throttle. Once I heard it I went to throttle up and heard a pow ca-thunk thunk. I shut down the engine and opened the engine lockers both side and had water spewing from the stuffing box. I started to "freak" a bit here. I again set the ST400 and went into action. Still being pushed further and further off shore, my mind began to race with thoughts of survival, I have no dinghy,liferaft,eprib,drysuit. It really was not that bad but it will make you go to survival thoughts. Anyway, I was able to shut down the stuffing box leak. The drive shaft being slammed into gear no doubt it loosen it up. However. the real problem that caused this was the shift cable. I was able to force it into gear by hand on the transmission. I then turned the bow to the west and headed up Port Royal sound. I missed the tide and it took the rest of the day to get back to the Marina at Port Royal Marina. I only averaged 2.9 knots getting back.

I was sure glad to make it back home, My original plan was to stay out for 1 more night and Sail over to Saint Helena sound and Coosaw Island at the Mighty Morgan. Guess that will be next time.
Hope you enjoyed my adventure. Like my page and sign up. See you soon

Friday, October 31, 2014

Our BVI Story

This was our one of our bucket list things to do. Before the trip, we read things like "Stunning beauty, relaxed sailing and endless activities surround you in the Virgin Islands. Bring an appreciation for diversity and find what you're looking for: " Well they are so right.

We left Tortola headed the typical route to the bight at Normand we snorkeled the Indians all the first day.

We found a mooring ball and settled in for the night. Willy-T's is a little sketchy but worth going just to say you went. The next day found us head to wind in a north westerly direction, straight down the middle of the sir Francis Drake Passage. "Oh so beautiful". The sailing was very good as we tacked up wind headed for the baths on Virgin Gorda.

We were late getting there. No mooring balls left so we went way down from the site and anchored out. The snorkeling here is excellent. After a day of fun in the water and at the sun, we pulled up the hook and went for a mooring at Spanish town. As luck would have it, no moorings there either. They are only a few moorings here to begin with. Most of them are privet. At this point it was too late to make it to the Better end at great sound so we tried to set the anchor for the night. The winds picked up to a steady 20 to 25 with gust to 32. Setting the anchor was very difficult here the bottom was coral heads and hard sand. It took us a few tries but it finally set. The weather called for high winds and rough seas for the next 48 hours and boy were they right. The next morning we got up early to try and make the trip in time for a mooring ball at the Better end / SABA rock area.
We motored into the head winds all the way around the point it Mosquito Island on one side and Neckler Island to the south. This passage afforded a great view of Branson's home being built on Mosquito Island to the west.

 My wife and I took a Scuba trip out of the better end yacht club. It was just amazing they took us out to Saddle bay at the point. Again the clarity in the water and the vibrant colors is just unreal. No photos can ever capture the nuances of being there in person. That evening we went to the SABA rock for a dining experience that you only ever see in magazines. I had the jumbo lobster, melt in your mouth goodness. We had a Very romantic night here. I gifted my beautiful wife a tanzanite ring as a show of love for our 30 year anniversary. The next day, Day 3, the weather was getting worse. We now had 35 mph steady winds with gust up to 43. That's right Gail force winds "Beaufort scale of 9" We took off and headed to trellis bay for a trip to pusser's lounge. Again all the moorings were occupied. We moved around to Marina cay and there was nothing there. We decided that the big island of Tortola would block some of the wind and we were early enough that we had plenty of time to make it to Foxy's at Great harbor Yost van Dyke. Once we made it threw the small pass to Monkey point, we had a great sail always down the length of Tortola.
The views were nothing short of breath taking. From Little Camananoe over to Guana Island then we made it into protected waters. We still had 6 to 8 foot seas and 22 to 25 knots dead astern. With the following seas and the head sail out full for power we shut down the engine and maintained 6.5 knot's. It was a great run for me. It's the kind of sailing I was looking for but not so much the ladies on board. They wanted land. Next stop Foxy's
We made it to foxy's in 4 1/2 hours from the Better end mooring field. We had no problem finding a mooring or a good cheese burger for that matter. We were at Foxy's on good Friday around 3:pm We tried to order some drinks to settle our nerves from the high seas and winds that tried us for the last 4 hours, however it was Good Friday and they don't sell alcohol drinks on holy days In the BVI.
 After a long night with little rest, what with the relentless high winds and rain we had all night we set off as ealy as we could. 8:30 or so. Our goal was to head to Soper's hole and stay for the day and maybe the night. Half way across the passage from Jost Van Dyke and the Soper's hole, my wife spotted the dinghy adrift around a mile and a half behind us.
 I was trying to out run a storm that was bearing down on us. I had to come about and go back for the dinghy. After the dinghy retrieval I headed back to Sopher's hols. I was heading straight for the storm. This storm looked to be 7 miles wide and very dark!

It was not showing lighting, so that was a good thing. It was my first time facing a storm while under way. It was fun and scary at the same time. I knew I was in for a white knuckle ride. We made it to Sopher's to find it again full of boats on the way in we had no less than 8 or 10 boats racing for the hideaway hole. I gave up after 2 laps thru the field and decided to head back up the Southern side of Tortola to seek shelter.
The storm was mostly past us at this time but it had had kicked the sea back up to 6 to 8 foot with white caps. I decided to head for the home base at Road Town. I was a day and a half early back to the marina. I figured if it cleared up we could always go back out for a day sail. After a crazy time trying to get docked in the rain, we finally had a dock hand jump on board and moored the boat back into her slip.

 I along with my whole crew was exhausted. We needed a drink "painkiller" and a shower. The following we hoped the ferry over to Peter Island and went snorkeling. We had a great lunch and spent some time on the beach. Peter Island is a very much a have to see place to believe. I can't wait to do this trip again. I think it will be much better with 14 days. 5 or 8 days is just not enough time to see it all and enjoy what each island has to offer. Thanks a million Melody Delgado & The Virgin Island Sailing Team What a great vacation. Curtis & Deb McDaniel Beaufort ,SC

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beaufort Sailing March 9th 2014

It was great to get the East Coast lady back in the water. 4 weeks is too long. I actually started to get depressed, but "finally" they set her back in.

A lot of work got done A short list looks like this.
Haulout and pressure wash
2 Coat bottom paint
New Zinc anode
New Garmin Echo 50s GPS
New Standard Horizon GX-2200 AIS,GPS, VHF Radio.
Rebuild 6 thru-hulls and replace the poo out valve 1 1/2"  Bronze seacock

Sunday Sailing 
That’s how I would summarize the day we had ailing this past Sunday. Wow.!
We left the dock at Port Royal around 10:30 or 11:am and headed north toward the City of Beaufort. We only got 1000 yards before I gave the order to raise the mainsail. The winds were off the nose and light. The tide was against us as we motor-sailed.We were still able to get a smooth 5 knots with the new bottom paint.
In the hopes to tack up wind and up current, I gave the order to Hoist the 115% headsail.
It did help some but not enough to shut down the iron jenny."Diesel Engine" We continued to the downtown bridge and turned back south. My good friend said “Never seen Beaufort from the water before” I said “want to buzz the waterfront? He said sure lets do it. So I turn her hard over and headed straight for the dockage at the waterfront. I got around 100 feet or so from the concrete sea wall and cruised the full length of the waterfront area.
We then turned south again and headed back towards the Broad river, but this time the wind had picked up a little. As we made the next 5 miles or so the wind got stronger and stronger. By the time we got back to Port Royal at the harbor in front of the Hilton Head Island Yacht club, the wind had grew to a respectable 11 to 17 knots. We had a great time.We decided to stay in this 7 mile stretch of the bay because the wind was here. My friend Chris was drinking dark and stormy. I had some Heineken, Debbie had her Smirnoff but poor Michelle had no alcohol to drink. In the coming video you will see all of us having a good time.                      This summer will be a great year sailing. I am excited to get the sails in the wind. This being the 3 year of the dream, I have to have some offshore work done and some overnights trips to keep my promise to myself .My promise to myself was that in the summer of 2018, Debbie and I would be skilled, Equipped,Trained and ready for extended cruising the ICW or the "DITCH" as some call it.
     We sailed 66 miles this past Sunday. There were 28 tacks and 5 Jibes.One of the Jibes was unintentional and could have been dangerous. It's these little mishaps on a cruising boat that have to be experienced to be hard wired into memory. All I can say is I was down below relieving myself and had left the helm in capable hands. We had a fantastic experiance. Please make a commitment to get out on the water this summer. Get your family out into nature. If boating aint your thing thats o.k go fishing, Biking, Hiking, Go stargazing.Do somthing to get the kids out from infront of the t.v and other media trash. Make a commitment to "LIVE" this summer like its your last day. Don't just exist. 
Enjoy the video and come sailing with us.
 We would love to have you.

Capt, Debbie, and Curt