Friday, November 18, 2005

Random Thoughts...Random Pictures

We're spending the day in Georgetown, S.C. watching the animal control people chipping the dogs off of the fire hydrants. Did I mention how COLD it is down here!

We've found a wonderful little cafe called "The Humidor" and, no, it's not a comedy shop, they have coffee, beer, wine, chess, snacks, guitars, comfy chairs, WiFi AND cigars! All cruisers should make sure you stop here. It is upstairs at 725 Front St. Georgetown, S.C.

Anyway...what follows are some recent favorite pictures and comments with no particular theme.

The pic at the left is from our anchorage off of Butler's Island on the Waccamaw River which is part of the ICW about 5 miles north of Georgetown. Sometimes we forget the great views we get nearly every day.

Besides the nice anchorages the view along the way ain't so bad either!

Not all of the intercoastal looks like this. In fact just below this picture the Waccamaw river turned pretty brown along the edge.

Some parts of the ICW, especially in South Carolina have been and are currently being built up with houses and CONDOS. Yes Condos are everywhere! Condos seem to pop up where ever there are golf courses. You get a pretty good view then not counting the bad fashion!

Here's a fine example of the good and the bad. Some very nice mansions along the way and then...the CONDOS.

Here's some very typical construction down this way. Most houses are built like this one...on stilts. Looks like there is no living on the ground floor but on the second and then the third. Hmmmm...must have gotten some hurricanes up this way in the past!

Local fisherman are plentiful along this part of the ICW as well. Here are two 'old pros' hauling in their nets. They were patiently sitting along the shore for us to pass, then quickly put on their life jackets, started the motor and began to pull in the net which was strung all the way across the river. Who knew? Wonder if they caught anything....
Here's a fairly rare occurance: A Sun Dog. When the upper atmosphere is just right there can be a little rainbow to the left and right of the sun. This shows just one of those with the sun off the picture to the left I think.

That night the full moon also showed a "moon dog".

This effect is either due to ice crystals way up high or it is part of intelligent design of the Earth's atmosphere and in any case BOTH theories should be taught!. . . at least in Kansas.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Wrightsville Beach N.C.

No big events these past couple of days. We have been chugging down the ICW with the rest of the fleet! It's hard for boats to get away from each other since we all go about the same speed and there are only so many good anchorages. We are now anchored in Wrightsville Beach. We are in a fairly large inlet just off of the ocean. In fact tomorrow we will probably take the ocean route abouot 30 miles to Southport N.C. We could both use a change from the shallow water and searching always for the next buoy.

YES...we have been seeing DOLPHINS!

Today’s Sailing/Physics Question…Why do big boats have big winches?

Now I know that seems like a stupid question but just wait. The thing that gives you a mechanical advantage with a winch is that you are applying your effort at the end of the winch handle while the load is being applied at the radius of the winch. Your theoretical mechanical advantage is then simply the ratio of the length of the winch handle to the radius of the winch. For example, the winch handle is 12” (they all are) and the winch is 3” in radius, then your advantage would be 4. You could apply a 10 pound force to crank a line with 40 pounds of tension.

So, what if you buy a bigger boat with bigger winches, say 4” in radius, but have the same winch handles? Well, you lose! Your advantage would now be reduce to 3 making it harder to crank the winch hence my question.


Other factors…

  1. The true radius to use with the winch is the radius of the can itself plus the radius of the line. The load is actually applied somewhere in the middle of the cross section of the line. Therefore if you get a bigger winch AND fatter line you have reduced your advantage twice!
  1. The mechanical advantages above assume winches with no gearing themselves. You get another mechanical advantage with the low gear ratio within the winch. Still, if you kept that gear ratio the same between two winches you’d still lose by moving to a bigger winch.
  1. While it might look like you’d want pencil thin winches to greatly magnify your advantage there is a problem in around how tight a corner you can bend the line and have it adhere to the winch face. Plus there is some effort wasted in just bending the line that doesn’t help you to trim. For this factor fatter line would require bigger winches.

I ask all of this because on our new boat we DO have bigger winches than we had on our Catalina and we do have fatter line…3/4” sheets which I think is over kill. As our crew will attest from our run from Long Island to Norfolk, these winches are a bear to crank in any kind of wind! To solve this problem I am going to 1. replace the sheets with ½ inch or 9/16 inch line. Yes this is a bigger boat but it’s not the Queen Mary! 2. Change out the lead blocks so the line is lead more fairly through this block and into the winch. Right now the line comes into the winch at a pretty steep vertical angle causing a lot of friction where the line crosses the base of the winch. 3. Disassemble the winches themselves and grease. I hesitate on this one because I’ve seen these disassembled and just know I’ll forget something or drop something in the ocean!

Hey sailors! Let’s hear from you! Other ideas?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On to Beaufort N.C.

We left Elizabeth City on Sunday heading across the Albemarle Sound. This is one of the few nice wide areas and we were able to hoist the sails and SAIL! So great to turn off the iron genny. The sound leads to the Alligator River (we saw none) which leads to the Alligator-Pungo canal. No stopping within this canal so we anchored just off the channel in the river less than a mile from the start of the canal. As usual, cruisers who follow you figure you know what you are doing and so two other boats anchored near us. Lots of room here though.

This is odd country. Once we got a few miles south of Elizabeth City just past the 'blimp garage' we saw nothing…I mean nothing on either shore as we crossed the sound. This is a run of about 50 miles and it looks to be just wild country maybe swampy on both sides. The entire expance of water is 15 feet deep max! I always expect to see a line of condos somewhere but there are none and no cottages either. Who owns all this stuff?

We had a lovely evening on the anchor. We put our ‘comfy’ chairs on the foredeck, had a cocktail drink, and watched some boats come and go as the sun went down. Nice. Of course cruising isn’t always like this. (Dramatic pause…) In the evening we realized that our water pump was not pumping. Oh joy. I probably have 120-130 gallons of water on board (two tanks…neither gauge works) and no way to get at it!

I know some readers love the gory details of fixing things so if you want to read a two page discussion of fixing a pump and problem solving in general click HERE.

I had no success fixing the pump on this night so we needed a plan. Can’t live without fresh water…oh my God…the coffee requirement alone makes me shudder! Of course the problem here is 1) where do you get a pump and 2) where is it to be delivered and 3) what do you do for water in the meantime? We decided that if we could order a pump first thing in the morning and then have it delivered overnight to where we THINK we will be the following day that that will work. In the meantime we’ll need some water to get us through the next 24 hours. So the plan is to stop in Bellhaven and look for a jerry can or jugs that we can fill with water. I used to own a 5 gallon gerry can for water but left it with the other boat. Stupid.

It’s a good plan except for one thing…no cell phone service out here in the swamps. We hope that we can get a signal in time for the overnight delivery that we desire. We weighed anchor and headed down the pungo-Alligator canal checking for a cell phone signal along the way. Finally around 1100 we got through to West Marine AND to a friendly marina in Oriental who would accept a package for us.

In Bellhaven we found a very helpful marina. A guy took me around town in a golf cart (no kidding) looking for a gerry can. We finally found one at the hardware store. We topped off our fuel (16 gallons! I’m using around 0.75 gallons an hour), filled the water can and moved to the anchorage just off of this marina with about 5-6 other sailboats that are starting to look real familiar! Part one of the plan has worked now we hope to get the new pump tomorrow in Oriental.

We are anxious to get going in the morning and of course that makes the fog roll in! We can’t really see more than 200 yards until about 0900. The route to Oriental is easy. We are mostly using FBA navigational system which, for those not accustomed to the ICW is for Follow Boat Ahead. This works a lot for us since we are never the lead boat! Arriving in Oriental we anchor in a group of 4-5 boats and launch the dingy. I find the marina and YES they have received our pump. Back to the mother ship I install the pump with no problems. Now the moment of truth: Did I really need a new pump or is there something else screwed up with the fresh water system. We flipped the switch and opened a faucet and VIOLA! we ain’t hillbillys anymore. We have hot and cold running water!

(Scott, Sue and Gracie at this point all do the dance of joy)

Oriental to Beaufort is only a 20+ mile run. Tides and currents will now become a factor so we decide to leave late morning to get to Beaufort around high tide which is 1:45 pm or so. Some more FBA navigation and another nice day and then…what’s that. Something in the water dead ahead…a log…NO

IT’S DOLPHINS! Sue and I nearly pee ourselves. We must be getting seriously south and near the ocean! We’ve seen pelicans as well. We spotted pods of dolphins a couple more times on our way to Beaufort.

The route into Beaufort is a little tricky. Many different channels and shallows are a worry. We follow the Russell-Slough channel right to down town Beaufort. High winds are predicted for the next day so we take a slip. This town will allow us to do a couple of things: laundry, and the marina has a courtesy car which we can use to go to West Marine for some needed boat supplies.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Heading South on the InterCoastal Waterway (ICW)

The intercoastal waterway is a combination of natural rivers and sounds coupled with man-made canals that connects Norfolk Virginia with Miami Florida. Just over 1000 miles!

We began this long trek from our marina in Portsmouth which is just across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk and right at mile 0 of the ICW. At mile 7 you have to make a decision: Virginia Cut (big boats and lots of power boats got this way) or the Dismal Swamp route (losers in slow sailboats go this way.) Of course we couldn’t resist something with the word ‘dismal’ in its title so we followed that course noting that none of the boats in front of us went that way. Makes you wonder if you are taking a wrong turn or not. The fact that 2 boats behind us followed our path could just mean they are as clueless as us but are willing to follow!

No problem however. This was the correct way and on through the dismal swamp we went. At about mile 12 you come to a lock. Oh man…all the boats that left ahead of us this morning were there waiting in the lock. I counted 12 boats all rafted off of each other in the lock. When we were all in and secure the lock closed and up we went…8 feet. Now you see all the boats are together and it is just about impossible to pass on this narrow cut. If you do try you are liable to get your mast in the trees that are growing very close to the sides of the canal. From this lock there is virtually no place to stop until you get to the visitors center at about mile 28 which of course is what every body did! Later in the day 5 more boats came through and joined the fleet. 17 boats making one huge raft and yes the way to shore is to clomp across the boats that are between you and shore.

Sue and I disliked being in such a tightly packed trailer park and we figured that most of these folks were going to go all the way to Elizabeth City on the next day. We decided to anchor just a mile from Elizabeth City, let them scoot the next day and then take one of the free slips that is offered in Elizabeth City for visiting boaters. One good thing about the raft was that the boat tied to our starboard was our boat's twin! Learned a few things about the rig from Ferdy and Jutta as they had been cruising aboard their Endeavour 40 for 5 years out of San Diego. Better yet, Ferdy had just the evaporator I needed for my 12 volt refrigeration for less than half of what it would cost new. Good deal and thanks to Ferdy and Jutta!

It was a fine night on the anchor just outside the yacht club - only joined by 2 other sailboats and less than a mile from the drawbridge into Elizabeth City and it was my first chance to enjoy having a windlass to lower (and later raise) the anchor. Also a secure feeling to have an all chain anchor rode instead of chain and then rope as I am used to.

Our plan worked to perfection! We got up and had a big breakfast and waited until 0900 when the draw bridge would again open for boaters. They don’t open during the massive Elizabeth City rush hour. Imagine! When we got to the town free dock there were many open slips! Friendly people come down to the dock to help with lines. Now we have an entire day to enjoy Elizabeth City (not the least of which is the free wi-fi right here in the harbor!) Tomorrow we begin to head across Albemarle Sound. Depending on weather there might be an anchorage half way across toward the Aligator River or you just keep on and do the entire ~50 miles to the other side.

Sailors reading this blog we are looking for a good yard either in Charleston or all the way down in the Keys where we can lay up for a few days, maybe even haul out, and take care of some of the bigger projects we have in mind for this boat. We are especially in need of a good canvas shop to build our new dodger/bimini. Let’s hear from you!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Over the Border

of Virgina that is.

Scott and Sue are right over the border in North Carolina. I couldn't find the Dismal Swamp Canal (this does sound like a fun trip :-) ) exactly on the map, so I just drew the arrow of the brown part to show where they started today and where they ended up.

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Enee to Enee

Leaving Enee

Finally a chance to catch up on some pics and notes from our experience moving from Enee the Catalina 30 to Enee the Endeavour 40. Yes this boat will also be named Enee Marie. Current name is Neauvou Vie...or some such unpronounceable French word.

The pic at the left is a sad pic of Enee after we had completely emptied her of all our stuff (except Gracie!) She was a good home to us for several summers and for over a thousand miles getting us safely as far as Baltimore. Farewell.

We kept our dingy but when we pulled it out of the water...WHAT THE ....???????. Holy Crap! Look at all those barnacles. We scraped for about an hour with one of the oars to get them off. That's what we get for sitting still so long in Baltimore!

All of our stuff fit easily in a 10' truck about 1 layer deep. Still, how did all that stuff ever fit on our Catalina 30? We left Baltimore area about 4:30 in the morning and drove to Huntington, NY on Long Island. Gary the previous owner met us there and we moved our new boat to the gas dock. With some help from the gas dock kid we moved all our stuff aboard and just shoved it all in the V-berth from which we could sort things out a box/bag at a time. One problem was that our previous owner pretty much left everything aboard for us! That's nice but now where does our stuff go? Which of the many, many spare parts that he left are really necessary and which are just old broken thing? It took us another day to throw out some stuff and put all of our stuff away. Many trips to the dumpster with the tender boat.

It doesn't take long to make a boat feel like your own. A couple of meals and some nights sleeping aboard and new Enee feels very homey. Sue cooking something wonderful in the galley (stirfry?). We feel like we are in "land of the future" with hot and cold running water and even a shower! We're not white trash any more!

Already my favorite place to sit and write, check charts, tide tables, etc. Very nice nav station. Desk top is big enough to hold one of those big chart books and the lid flips up to hold navigation tools. Little black box to my right is the old Loran device. I think it needs some coal shoveled into the back of it or something.

After living in the harbor in Huntington for a few days waiting for high winds to subside we were ready to sail her to Port Washington where we picked up our crew members. A 22 mile trip in moderate winds. Nice to be going again and wow....this boat is BIG!

The Trip South
Our friend Jesse met us at the fuel dock at the Manhassat Bay Marina. The marina was nice enough to let us stay at the fuel dock for the night for free as long as we went out to eat at their restaurant which we had planned to do anyway! Perfect. Roger arrived a little later and we had a great meal before heading out the next morning.

We timed our departure well so we could go down the East river in daylight AND with the ebb tide. Boat speed over the ground down the East River was 9 knots at times! Wheeeeee!

This was a COLD trip. Temps during the day were maybe in the low 50's and into the 30's at night with a brisk wind. We all wore many, many layers. Jesse had the good idea to only do 3 hour shifts instead of the traditional 4 as when you're cold that 4th hour can really drag.

So we set up shifts 8-11 pm, 11-2 AM, 2-5 AM and then 5-8 AM During the day we just let whoever wanted to steer, to steer and whoever needed a nap to nap. Worked out well. Autohelm performed fine even in rough seas on the second night.

Our crew are showing their best side as they check for flotsome down the river. That's Jesse on the right and Roger on the left!

During the first night the wind came up from our starboard quarter and Jesse and Sue rolled out the genny. We sailed all night that night, the next day and the next night on that one sail and we were always around 6+ knots. Bigger boats just go faster, right?

Here we are safe and sound in Portsmouth, VI. The last night got a little hairy as wind came up to 30+ knots with some scary gusts. Enee handled it better than we did maybe. We were too early to Norfolk and not willing to enter busy commercial harbor with many buoys at night so we sailed in circles for a while until the sun came up. Capt. Scott had probably slept a total of about 5 hours now and it was hard to be patient and concentrate on buoys and so forth. Crew pulled together and we made our way into the Elizabeth river and a very nice marina in Portsmouth - Tidewater Marina around 2:30 PM on Sunday. That's 57 hours from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Nice shake down cruise...and nothing broke!

Happy crew upon arrival: Scott, Sue, Jesse and Roger.

For more detail on the trip you can read Jesse's version!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Made It!

Yes we are indeed in Norfolk, VI! The new boat performed well over the 57 hours at sea. I just about didn't sleep as I was always waiting for something to go "SPRONG!" in the middle of the night as I am still very unfamiliar with the boat systems. On the first night we rolled on the genny as the wind came up nicely from astern. We sailed the next day AND the next night and into the next day on that one sail with no engine and averaged between 6-7 knots! In fact we got to Norfolk too early as it was sill dark and we didn't want to enter the busy harbor area at night. The wind was blowing a steady 30 knots with some serious gusts. The sea state had gone to hell and we sailed around in circles for a couple of hours waiting for first light. Pretty unnverving as we were all very tired at this point.

At first light we headed in and started to figure out the bouys. We soon discovered that when you get to this point you are now where near Norfolk yet! We motored another 6 hours to get to the river and down to Norfolk/Portsmouth. We found a slip at a marina in Portsmouth right at mile 0 of the ICW. We are cleaning and straightening up and provisioning so that we can truly head south tomorrow.

We already love our new boat and will make a list of major changes (new dodger!) we want to make when we reach Florida. I'll be looking for a good canvas shop so any help would be appreciated.