Monday, May 3, 2021
Friday, April 30, 2021
Checking the link to the SPOT tracking map I see I inadvertently used a link for a SPOT test. I have corrected it in both locations below. The track should go live sometime tomorrow morning. The correct link is: https://maps.findmespot.com/s/5PLS
A little touch up on the bottom paint. Packing coming along well. Forecast looks good beginning Monday morning.
If you want to follow along the tracking map is here. Or copy and paste the link below. Map should go live sometime Monday morning.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
My Rite in the Rain all-weather Journal No. 393 from the abbreviated sail down south has been sitting next to my computer ever since I put together the online log. I find myself flipping through the pages now and then, remembering the great sail and looking forward to doing it again next year. I decided it would be fun to reconstruct a couple of pages of the journal. (Each evening at the end of a day's sail I write out the day's log in a larger notebook based on the journal, and that notebook is the main source of the logs you see here).
These two pages are from day seven of the trip, the day I left Hilton Head and sailed to a creek off the Skidway River. This portion goes from Haig Point to crossing under a bridge near Savannah.
9:10 Haig Pt, Daufuskie Is to port, can feel the flood tide helping. 3.2. tour boats. white sand beaches, brown marsh, birds screeching loudly on shore. recording.
Haig Point is the north end of Daufuskie Island, that island being the setting for Pat Conroy's The Water is Wide. Sailing south on Calibogue Sound the incoming tide was against me but as I entered the Cooper River at Haig Point that same flood tide was helping me. Wind and tide gave me a decent speed of 3.2 kts. On the Cooper River there were tour boats carrying visitors to historic sites on Daufuskie Island. There were white sand beaches and brown marsh. I realized after noting the birds screeching that the sound was in fact a recording broadcast over a speaker to keep seagulls off the nearby docks.
9:50 no wind, under power.
What light wind I had disappeared. The tide was still in my favor.
And a nice breeze filled in.
10:10 G Marker 37 turn to port, stand of trees filled with egrets. can see container ships on the Savannah R
At green marker 37 the stand of live oaks was shrouded with Spanish Moss and filled with white egrets. I have since checked the distance and I was looking over about six miles of marsh to see the container ships on the Savannah River.
10:50 sails up but powering into the max flood
That flood tide, while helping me on the Cooper River, was against me and running very strong.
11:30 slip out of channel to let tug + barge pass. main and jib down
No wind and motoring into the tide a tug and barge were approaching from the stern. I dropped the main and jib and motored out of the channel to let the tug and barge follow the curving path of the channel.
11:40 wind, full sail just before cut to Save R. 4.9
A solid wind showed up, I raised main and jib, full sail making 4.9 on the last leg to the Savannah River.
12:00 100 mile mark. 575??
The app on my phone showed some mile markers and I wondered if I had just crossed the 100 mile mark on the trip. I could not off the top of my head recall is I began the trip at mile marker 575 or not. I have not yet gone back to look, it really doesn't matter.
12:20 Motorsailing across Sav R w/1.1 flood tide
My phone app the peak flood tide had passed but I still had a 1.1 kt current helping me.
12:35 light winds, helping tide, 1.3
An easy crossing of the Savannah River with a helping tide, no container ships in sight, in fact no other traffic at all.
1:05 Oatlet Is to port McQueen Is starboard both marshes 2.6
Easy sailing on St. August Creek between two "islands" that were nothing but marsh. I was eating lunch and feeling very relieved to have crossed the river and in be in Georgia.
1:40 radio Bluffton Bride. they say 24' clearance now drop main for bridge
I think this was a mistake, not quite sure where I got Bluffton Bride. Bride is of course bridge and I may have been confusing it with a bridge that goes to Bluffton SC across from Hilton Head. With the wind and currents I often drop the main and then power beneath the bridge.
As you can see, a lot of my notes are just short phrases or quick observations. It gives me a good timeline to go by as I fill out the handwritten log each evening.
I look forward to filling out the notebook on this next trip.
Monday, April 26, 2021
Electronics day here as I get ready for the next trip. That means cleaning data off devices from the last trip, images off the GoPros and iPhone, tracking data off the gps. Clearing the tracks off the gps I came across the above of the last couple of days of the trips showing, from top to bottom, Ossabow Sound, St. Catherine's Sound (both crossed on the same day), and Sapelo Sound (crossed on the final day of the abbreviated trip). The Sounds were beautiful as were the rivers and creeks connecting them. All of that data is already stored on my iMac and also backed up on a hard drive .
There are a bunch of GoPro batteries and power banks to charge. In a couple of days I'll look at the forecast and leave as early as Monday if the forecast is good. No reason to start a trip with bad weather.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Received this photo on my phone today along with a few texts from my good friend Dave ("Baydog"). It was the Downrigging Festival in Chestertown in maybe 2014 and Dave joined me for a sail. Thanks for the memory, Baydog.
I hear there are tentative plans (tentative being a common and good word to use during pandemics) for a Downrigging Festival this fall, and those plans might include - tentatively - having SPARTINA at the festival. Wouldn't that be great...
Friday, April 23, 2021
Time to pack for the spring trip. That should be pretty easy with a lot of gear and food supplies still intact from the abbreviated winter sail down south. I hope to explore Pamlico Sound, which I have sailed quite a bit, and spend more time on Albemarle Sound to the north. On my list of things to do is visit a couple sites connected to the Lost Colony, the first attempt at an English colony in North America. On the map above the X to the right marks Roanoke Island, the site where the colony was established in 1585. The X at the left is Salmon Creek, the possible site of a fort connected to the colony.
That fort was marked on the Virginea Pars map but hidden for centuries by what was thought to be a patch on the map. There is an interesting story behind all this and you can read about it here and here.
Salmon Creek is at the lower left in the map below, just across the Albemarle Sound from Edenton. I would like to visit Edenton and maybe spend the night anchored in that little creek with a hidden history. Wouldn't that be interesting?
Thursday, April 22, 2021
The guys at the boat shop helped me cut some angled slices out of the original mizzenmast, some keepsakes for myself and the daughters who helped build it. King of interesting looking, don't you think?
After three days of light breezes Webb has found some wind on his way to Bermuda. He is of course not going to Bermuda, just rounding it before heading back to Hilton Head. You can follow his track here...
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
These photographs are from a gentleman on a boat anchored in Craford Bay this morning. I thank him for sharing the photographs. It was a beautiful day that began with light winds and only got better from there.
Nice weather the next few days and I hope to make the most of it.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Cooler than expected, and with gusty winds this morning. Back on the Elizabeth River for the first time since early January. How many miles on the road between now and then? I don't know. How many rivers, creeks, narrows and sounds between Charleston, S.C. and Nowhere, Ga.? Don't know that either. But it has been a great winter and now I'm looking forward to summer.
Friday, April 9, 2021
It is raining. The wind is blowing. The mizzen mast lies in two pieces in SPARTINA'S cockpit, the mizzen sail wrapped around the mizzen boom. Tied up at the dock in a little marina in what one guy tells me is Nowhere, Georgia, I walk up towards the office. There is a covered area outside the office, a couple guys standing there and a woman at a table that seems to be collecting dues. She looks up at me and says "Where do you need to go? We'll take you."
I'm a little bit confused as to where I am, where I need to be. The BoatUS captain had mentioned a couple towns along the coast. At first I say Darien. "That's easy," she says, "just 15 minutes away." Then I realize that that is not where I need to go. "No, that's not it. I need to get to Jesup. That's an hour away. That's too far, but thank you." I tell her I'll try Lyft or Uber, and thank her again. And I figure if that does't work I'll ask the marina manager if he knows anybody who'll take me to Jesup for a couple hundred bucks.
I go inside the office, four or five people in there, none wearing masks. They aren't big on masks in Nowhere, Georgia. I pay for two nights at the slip. The guy says "So you'll be gone Monday?" I'm confused and have to ask him what day it is. "Saturday." "Yeah, I'll be gone Monday. If not I'll pay for another day." I get out of the office as quickly as I can.
I log into Lyft and Uber, requesting a ride. The price is $100-plus, that's fine, but neither can find a driver. I try again, letting the phone search while I go down to the dock, grab my duffel and electronics case, and put up the boom tent that sags sadly with no mizzen to hold up the aft section.
Back up to the shelter. The manager tells me Lyft and Uber don't work so well there. Cold, windy, raining. No drivers with either app. I see the woman and tell her I can't find a ride. She tells me no problem, nods to her husband and says "We'll take you."
The woman is Tina, her husband is Barry. They make room for me in the front seat of their big truck, acting as if there was nothing they would rather be doing than giving me an hour-long ride. I pull out my wallet and says I am happy to pay for the ride. "Absolutely not!" I am told. So I put two $20s on the console, I'll at least pay for gas. Barry grabs the money and tosses it back to me.
I get on my phone and find a hotel, make a reservation. Then log on to Amtrak and find a north-bound train, the only one being the next evening. Tina and Barry make me feel very welcome. I tell them about my trip. They tell me about their lives, their kids and the island they just bought. I didn't know you could buy an island.
It is an enjoyable trip. Time goes quickly, we talk about all kinds of things and I repeatedly thank them for the ride. Tina says there is a reason we met, we just don't know what it is. They only thing they ask is that I help somebody out the way they are helping me out. I promise them I will.
At the hotel Tina says they are staying in the parking lot until I come out and tell them I am checked in. It takes a while, there are a couple of people in front of me. Every one seems to be giving me a glance, I don't know why. Maybe it is because I'm the only one wearing a mask. I get to the desk, check in, walk outside and Tina gives me a hug. I thank them again for their kindness.
Into the my hotel room I glance to the left and there is a big mirror. And I realize why everyone was looking at me in the lobby. I'm still wearing my bright orange drysuit and rubber boots. Not a lot of people dressed like that in Jesup, Georgia.
The next morning it is a mile walk with the duffel and pelican box to the old brick train station. I've got nearly seven hours to wait for the train, not a bad place to wait. I look for restaurants on my map and see one two blocks away. It is crowded. I get in line to order some food to-go. I'm the only one wearing a mask, so I get some looks. At least I'm not wearing the drysuit, that is tucked in the duffel. I eat lunch back at the train station, read my book and check the news on my phone.
The train arrives on time. I had pony'd up the extra money for a sleeper room. Extravagant for a train ride of just a couple of hours, but I wanted to be by myself. Get to Charleston on time, Lyft to a hotel. The next morning Lyft to the storage lot to get the jeep and trailer, then head south to get SPARTINA.
Monday, April 5, 2021
Finished installing hardware about 8 a.m., down to the ramp in Elizabeth City by 9:00, out on the water with the new mizzen mast before 10:00. What a relief!
New mast worked perfectly. Just about a month from the time of the mast failure to sailing again. My thanks to the students and teachers at the boat shop.
I received a question from "doatley" as to why I did not continue sailing with the main and jib. "Balance" is my reply. The boat is perfectly balanced with the three sails and also balanced under mizzen and jib. Without the mizzen SPARTINA is a poorly balanced sloop with the center of effort for the sails much too far forward. If I had 20 or 30 miles to go I might have given it a shot. But not 100+ miles. Had it been an emergency I could have made progress. It was not an emergency, it was supposed to be fun. And one other point, the boom tent relies on support from the mizzen mast. It partially collapses without one. Again, this is supposed to be fun. A couple rainy nights without a proper tent? Not fun.
I can't wait to get back down there next year.
The trailer took a beating on I-95. I replaced it with a new one. This is the reflected of the fenders on SPARTINA'S hull. Kind of interesting.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Curt was nice enough to send me a screen shot from the Dinghy Cruising NZ Facebook page with Webb's fine photograph of SPARTINA leaving Hilton Head. Very honored to have my Welsford Pathfinder shown there. Thanks, guys, for posting. As mentioned in the comments, there was no wind at dawn. It wasn't too long before the breeze filled in as I sailed from Hilton Head to the Skidway River south of Thunderbolt.
I received my annual renewal notice from BoatUS yesterday. Paid online today. I have used the trailer assist twice and the tow service once. The annual fee is worth every penny. Patrick, who towed me from where the mizzen broke to a local marina, said it would have cost me, without the Unlimited Gold towing, around $1500. (His estimate was based the five hours from when he left his dock at Jekyll Island until the time he returned, about five hours.) With the Gold, not a dime.
Saturday, April 3, 2021
I have received a lot of questions about the making of the new mizzen mast. I did build a boat, but I am not a boatbuilder. I did work with wood, but I am not a woodworker. ( How I wish those two sentences were false modesty. Believe me, they are not.). With that in mind I am reluctant to explain the process. There are plenty of sites where you can get good quality information about the process for building a birds mouth mast. Instead I will show some photographs I took along the way.
First thing I did was dig out an old notebook to see if I had written down any specs from the first mizzen built about 15 years ago. I was please to find the above.
(This second mast was built at a boat shop with a lot of help from very, very experienced boatbuilders and some dedicated young students. What amazes me today is that my Dad and two daughters built the first masts with no experience using a $90 table saw (picture a cheap circular saw mounted upside down in an aluminum stand) set up in the street to rip 16 and 20 foot pieces of wood into staves, cut the v notch and glue it all up on a hot July day. I wish Dad was still around to remind him of what we accomplished that day. I do remember we celebrated that afternoon with a couple bottles of Corona and a lime.)
Test cuts in cheap pine from the hardware
store to check measurements on both the
table saw and router with a 90 degree bit.
1x8x16 clear Douglas fir ripped in to
3/4 x 3/4 staves with the v notch
Dry fitting the staves.
The boat shop's cradle along with the
dry-fitted mast and oak dowel. The
mast is hollow save for the bottom four
feet and the top two and one-half feet.
The dry fitted mast along with
part of the original.
Some wonderful, skilled and dedicated
students helped with the routing of the
v notch and first dry fitting of the mast.
Strakes laid on on glue day.
Tom at the boat shop saw the mast building as
a teaching opportunity for their students. He is
always looking for different skills for them to
develop. Here they are spending epoxy, first clear
and then thickened, a process that needs
to be accomplished before the epoxy fires off.
Epoxied with dowel inserts at the top and the
bottom, the strakes are pulled tight
with hose clamps.
A day later, planing and sanding to shape.
Bringing the mast home
for final shaping and varnishing.
First fitting in SPARTINA. Too heavy
and a little to thick, so a couple more hours
sanding. A slight curve in the mast which
is perfect for the designed rake of the mast.
Many thanks to Tom, the guys and the students at the shop. Varnishing this weekend, hoping for a test sail Monday.