Monday, March 29, 2021

day seven - Georgia on my mind

I walk the half mile from Webb's place to SPARTINA in darkness, the yellow duffel with clean clothes slung over my shoulder, carrying the pelican box with charged batteries in my hand.  A heavy dew and the boom tent and sail covers are soaked.  Just as it is getting light Webb arrives.  A brief goodbye and he's asking me which line I want him to throw off first.  No wind and calm water, I motor out of the marina as Webb takes a few photographs.

The piling for green marker 15 shows a helping tide and we make 4.7 at idle speed.  Under the bridge at 7:00 with Pinckney Island to starboard and I find the tide has changed already, working against the beginnings of a flood tide.  3.5 under power, I can see the Hilton Head lighthouse across Calibogue Sound.  Wind arrives 7:45, full sailing making 1.2 against the incoming tide.  We track alongside some crabbers, pelicans diving for discarded bait.

Approaching Daufuskie Island at 8:45 the ferry boat Haig Point Pelican slows down to reduce her wake for us, I give a wave of thanks.  Looking southeast across the marshes I can already see the bridges in Savannah.  Still making way against the flood tide I notice the current is strong enough to pull the crab pot markers under the surface of the water.  

At 9:10 passing Haig Point, the north end of Daufuskie Island, we turn slightly to starboard and enter the Cooper River, the flood tide now in our favor.  Making 3.2 in light winds.  White sand beaches along shore, brown marsh grass and a deep blue sky.  Beautiful.  

Just after 10:00 at green marker 37 turn to port on to Ramshorn Creek, live oak trees in the middle of the marsh draped with Spanish moss and filled with egrets.  Looking south across the flat marsh I can see a huge container ship heading up the Savannah River.  A turn to starboard on to Walls Cut where I round up off to the side of the channel to let a tug with a barge pass by.  

Wind fills in and heading down Fields Cut to the Savannah River, no traffic in sight on the river and I am very glad for that.  12:20 motor sailing across the river, an easy passage.   Only after crossing the river do I realize we are in Georgia.  Light winds on the St. Augustine Creek that carry us with the flood tide to the  Wilmington River, 1.3 kts and it is getting warm.  

I see a bridge up ahead, check the charts on my phone and see the vertical clearance is 21'.  That should be plenty but I want to check with the bridge tender.  I hail the tender on channel 9.  "Cap, come back," I hear.  I explain I've got a 19 foot air draft and want to make sure there is room.  "Hang on, Cap, I'll check."  A few minutes later I hear "Cap?"  I respond.  "Board says 24', Cap."  I thank him.  "Have a good day, Cap!"  I drop the main to pass under the bridge.  

Once past the bridge full sail, good wind and making 3.3.  Tacking through Thunderbolt, passing by a couple of marinas and shrimp boats docked along shore.  About a mile past Thunderbolt a man calls out from a dock.  "Where you headed?"  Florida, I tell him.  He has more questions but the wind carries us on our way.

On the Skidway River 3:40, light winds and against the current.  I start looking for an anchorage and settle on Grimball Creek.  

Anchor down 4:40, low tide and surrounded by mud flats on the tiny creek.  Beef stroganoff and mandarin oranges for dinner.


johnz said...

Love the short tacks past Thunderbolt, can't believe you got so much sailing in on the ICW. Nice sailing Steve!

Steve said...

Thanks, John. It really was a lot of sailing, not much different than on the bay or the sounds of NC. And IF that mizzen had not failed I would have been sailing south for the next few day at least, and a fair amount under mizzen and jib. Can't wait to do it again next year.


Bill T. said...

I am quite intrigued to know more about the design and structure of your boom tent. Dunno if you recall at all, but I acquired a "free" plywood and epoxy 19-foot Chesapeake Bay sharpie nearly two years ago, and I intend to finally get to working on it this year, to repair a lot of damage and decay from years of neglect. I hope to do some camp cruising and as it's a completely open boat, much like Spartina, I was thinking I would need a good boom tent. But I've never had one and never made one. Did you make yours up as you went? Or did you have a design that you worked off of? Thanks.

Steve said...

Bill, I designed the boom tent, making the first one out of white poly tarp and three inch tape. Basically a boom tent that extends from the main mast to the mizzen. I had to make a "rain fly" that goes forward to the mast that I put up when rain is in the forecast. The original version lasted a few years and then I had a canvas shop make one for me based on the original design but with a few improvements. I can leave the front end open or closed, aft end is open (tent is really designed to be used at anchorage when the boat points in to the wind). A word on canvas shops - they are swamped these days. Not just in my area but elsewhere I have heard that it is basically a six month wait to get any canvas work done. Scroll through the blog and you'll find some photos. Let me know if you have any questions. Steve