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

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