We initially started our ICW voyage under sail alone. But as the waterway started to narrow and change direction and the wind slowly fell off we decided to start the motor. We continued on under motor and sail. As the waterway began to narrow further and the current started to increase we came upon a dredge busy deepening the channel.
Beaufort. Steve had a marina identified on his chart. When the motor started to sputter, out of gas, we refueled, and to avoid the dreaded flooding syndrome we only put in enough gas to reach the marina. Steve kept an eye out as we neared the location indicated on the chart.
Now we had the main sail flopping loosely in the light breeze with the jib and mizzen doing all the work along with the motor. Everything seemed to be working out perfectly as the marina appeared ahead. Steve scanned the marina with his binoculars and discovered it was more a repair and storage yard and had no fuel station. Bummer.
The next marina was miles on down the waterway. So on we went. Half an hour later we saw the marina and it was a full service one! It looked like we were going to just putt putt in and tie up. Wrong. We ran out of gas about 200 yards away. Fire drill time. I got the gas can, Steve filled the motor's gas tank, pulled the cord and the flooding problem reared its ugly head once again. This time we were in the middle of the channel, the current moving smartly and lots of other traffic. We were fast approaching the marina and could not afford to pass it as it was the last fueling opportunity until Beaufort. At what seemed like the last minute, Steve quickly tightened the main. Spartina picked up speed in the light breeze and current and sprang forward. Steve then pushed the tiller hard over and we shot into the marina. He slacked the main and jib and we just glided up to the slip. I tossed our line up to the dock hand and we came to a stop. I was totally impressed as were several onlookers standing on the dock. It looked like we knew what we were doing. Yes we meant to do that!
We completed the rest of the journey to Beaufort without further incident. We didn't experience the flooding problem again for the remainder of the trip. Up until that part of our trip we had been in open water and had plenty of room to manuver. The narrow channels of the ICW posed some interesting challenges for us. As we are preparing for our next trip this May, I can't help but wonder what lies in store for us. That is what I like about outdoor adventures, anything can happen. How you handle yourself can make all the difference. With Steve as the skipper, I'm not worried about how we will fare.