Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nothing Goes to Windward Like a 747

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a tow rope long enough...and I doubt my boat could handle a near 500 knot cruise speed anyway...

When we originally left Georgetown, SC., the plan gave us some time with favorable winds and a little time with the wind directly on our nose.  Even when we made the unplanned stop in Charleston, the next day would still give us some winds favorable for sailing.  One more day stuck there dealing witth the motor and the winds shifted to the southwest. Guess which direction St. Augustine, FL., is from Charleston.

We left Toler's Cove marina in the afternoon in order to time for a morning (daylight) arrival in St. Augustine. In Charleston harbor and the inlet we put up the sails and sailed our way out of the harbor. With the sails up, we didn't really turn on course, but as close as we could and still have the sails propel us on our way.  Tacking back and forth we were doing around 5 to 6 knots...with a little support from one of the motors to try and improve the angle to the wind.  Unfortunately, the velocity made good (VMG - the percentage of the speed you are going relative to your destination) was only around 2 knots.  Instead of 44 hours to make the trip (at 5 knots), it would take us 110 hours or more this way.  While I prefer to sail much more than motor, the weather window for making the trip wouldn't allow us to take that long. So we fire up the motors, take down the sails, and point the nose directly into the wind.

We spent the remainder of the trip motoring with the wind directly on our nose. The waves were out of the southeast, but were small enough that the ride was generally comfortable. It was a little rougher the first night with an occasional wave slap on the bridge deck, but smoothed out to an almost calm sea by the end of the trip.

We arrived at the St. Augustine inlet around 7AM and went in looking for a place to pick up some diesel. The motors had been running nonstop since we left Charleston and I think this is as empty as I've ever run the boat (don't worry Mom, we still had around 14 gallons of diesel in the tank + 10 in reserve), but should get more before the final trek down the ICW to our next stop at Hammock Beach.

St. Augustine from the water

Looking through the Active Captain database on my tablet, I found Inlet Marina and they boasted they had the cheapest fuel in the area.  Sometimes the marinas put their current prices in the database and from what I could tell it seemed to be true.  We called ahead and confirmed they had diesel and to get instructions for finding them on the water.  When we arrived, we were definitely not disappointed in the fuel price.  I think it was the cheapest we've paid the entire trip and, with the Active Captain discount, was about $0.50 a gallon less than other nearby marinas.

We make the 9AM opening at the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine and continue our way down this final stretch of very familiar ICW. You can tell the weather is warmer here as there are more boats about than we encountered on the rest of the trip. Unfortunately this also reminded me why sailboats don't get along very well with some power boaters.  Some are courteous, but there are others that will aim directly at you going full speed, then swerve around you at the last minute so their large wake will toss your boat about like a rubber duck in a washing machine.

We are tied up at the marina now, just a couple slips down from where we were on our last visit here. It looks like we will be here for at least a month.  There are family visits to be made and some other family matters that need attention.  And, of course, the boat...who can forget about the never ending list of things to do on the boat.

No comments:

Post a Comment