Finally…Motor-Sailing in Big Water!
SV Take Me There finally got to stretch her legs after being ” pinned in” by land mass and dark, murky waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the ICW – it was a real treat to be in the Atlantic!
What a treat to be out in the open. We were out of Wrightsville Beach Anchorage and departing the inlet at sun up headed for Southport NC. Once the entrance buoy was astern, the sails went up as we toyed with light and variable winds hovering around 6 knots. Well – that won’t break any speed records but it was nice to be in the Atlantic Ocean air and on an auto-pilot course versus hand steering and dodging winding, shoaled waterways. Based on tides and racing a low pressure system to pass through in the next 24 hours, we opted for the longer “outside” route for the ease of an auto-pilot direction…just 3 legs and a total of 58 miles to Southport Inlet. What a great day!
We are lucky to have a motor-sailor since the winds weren’t really going to get us there before dark so we wound up making 8 knots under power with jib and jigger out (jib and mizzenmast sails). We arrived at our destination (Bald Head Island Marina) by 3 pm. This short stretch was relatively devoid of boat traffic even though it was a partly sunny day of flat seas and a mild swell. It was comforting to feel the roll of the swell under us. Dolphins, Mackerel and Pelicans were our sailing partners today. We enjoyed the serenity of it.
Watching the development of the approaching low pressure system, and the wind from the high following it, we will spend a few days in Southport to wait for a favorable sea state before running the outside leg to Georgetown – which is our next stop. Plenty to do while hanging out in “port.” We still have a leaking seal in the high pressure side of the water maker to address. When I installed the new RO membranes, I put them in backwards and when I corrected the deficiency, I must have not properly tightened a fitting. The fresh water pressure pump is “growling” when we use it which means there is likely a slow pressure leak somewhere or the pump impeller is bad and needs to be replaced – it’s always something … but it’s all part of cruising.
We thought about heading back “inside” to make the next leg through Myrtle Beach and on to Georgetown but a high tide in the late afternoon has squashed that plan as this particular part of the ICW includes the “Rock Pile” which is a 1.6 mile stretch of the ICW with narrow channels and hard (rock) ledges – some areas just 50 feet wide. Too much risk for being a first timer (Southbound) in this area for this go round. Call me “a chicken” … yep – I admit it!…plus I hate hand steering for hours on end.
So – we are playing it safe…spend a few days waiting on good wind (and sea state) and off we will go again…mostly “outside” from here to Jacksonville FL with stops in Georgetown, Charleston and Port Royal.
The crew continues to hone skills and strengthen the “team”.