Saturday, March 18, 2023

day four - down and back

Awake well before dawn and the first thing I do is start the outboard.  It starts on the first pull so I know I am good to motor out of the slip.  I've got time to spare, not quite light enough to get out on the water so I walk down the waterfront and enjoy the coming dawn.  It had been a peaceful night in the marina save for a little wind storm that came and went in the early morning hours

My tide app shows it will be high tide soon, I'll have an ebb tide to carry me down the Beaufort River, and with some luck maybe even the beginnings of a flood tide to carry me on over to Hilton Head.

Cast off 7:00, sails up with a single reef in the main at 7:05, making 5.0 kts.  Tack our way around the marsh that sits out in the middle of the river, 4.8 close hauled.  Strong ebb tide in our favor but with an opposing southwest wind making for very steep chop.

Sail under the bridge and find bigger chop on the south side.  The gusts are building, another tack and another gust, this one strong enough to put the coaming in the water.  Round up to pump out the water, tie in a second reef.  Try to continue downriver but it is choppy and there is more wind than I had expected.  With marshy Cane Island to port I know the river will curve and open up wider, probably rougher water around the bend.  

Decide it will be too rough, turn back to Beaufort at 8:15.  Gusts continue to build, bring down the double reefed main at 9:15.  Back to the dock under mizzen and jib, tied up at 10:00.

Hang up the gear to dry, walk up to the marina store to pick up a cold drink.  A little frustrated but think I made the right decision.  I email Webb that I won't be arriving in Hilton Head today.  He replies that there are white caps on Skull Creek, which he says is very unusual.

It is only in the afternoon that I look at a weather app that shows the morning winds had been at 15 with gusts to 33.  I think it would be more accurate to indicate winds at 33, lulls to 15.

Light rain in the afternoon.  The gear is dry so I tuck it away and set up the boom tent.  Forecast has the same ebb tide tomorrow, the wind swinging around to the north so it should be an easier passage down the Beaufort River.

8.48 NM



Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Back in '04 or 5, heading south on my flat-bottomed Bolger AS29, I ran into the same situation, at the same place, and at the same time of morning. I made the same decision you did, and it was the correct one then, too.

John D.

MaryLou said...

I wondered what was going on when I saw the track. What are the tide and weather apps you show here? I particularly like the last tide/next tide screen.