Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Always an Adventure in a Small Boat

And today was another one. A really early start with breakfast at the marina grill which opens at 5 am. We motored out of the marina about 6:30 with little wind. After a few miles we had full sails up as we left the Alligator River into the Albemarle Sound.

A bit of a tailwind across Durant island, we were moving about 5mph, avoiding the pound net poles running for a mile offshore into the Sound. We tried to explore the Haulover cut but it was a bit shallow and Dawn will scout soon by kayak.

Continuing with winds building 10-15 kts SE we started to turn into the wind on the Western shore with Roanoke Island in view. We anchored at shore for lunch and decided to reef the sails. Winds were to build 15-20 S later in the day. The first of the bridges to Roanoke was about 1 mile or so away and we decided to tie up the sails temporarily and motor under the bridge. Wind was directly on the nose. We opted not to drop the masts, since we were motoring, we'd just motor to the center higher span. Our first mistake.

As we motored over, winds seemed to build a bit, but more importantly, as we got more away from shore (a couple miles), the long fetch on the sound brought large swells. We might have well been back on the Alligator River. Rocking and rolling.

We continued this to the next bridge, as wind grew and waves got bigger. Not comfortable at all, a rough and wet ride, pushing the little motor that could. (Shout out to Ken who we bought the motor from, thank you Ken). In fact at the second bridge we lost SPOT tracking when the bucking bronco "Dawn Patrol" bucked and flipped the SPOT over on the cabin roof.

Our second mistake was not sticking to the original plan. We had decided to stop at Manns Harbor, not to go all the way to Stumpy Point, just too long a day. Well we overshot Manns before we even realized it,we actually had sailed 20 miles by lunch, and it was still early. We passed another and it turned out the last protected anchorage about 3:30 but also thought it too early. We saw what looked to be an okay spot on the map about an hour away.

At this time the wind seemed more ESE, and this new spot would be the only protection before Stumpy Point. Unfortunately when we got there, it didn't exist, the shoreline had changed. We were cold, wet, tired, and we were having a miserable time of it making short tacks closer to shore to keep out of the larger swells more centered in the sound.

We knew it would be about 7pm the earliest if we continued to Stumpy, and winds were supposed to continue building. We finally stopped about 5pm anchored near shore, but on the windward side. There is a very small point made up old short stumps which we tucked behind, but basically we are in the wind and swells. Paul set up a bridle on the anchor rode to help with the swells, as the swells are coming in more SE with wind more S.

We will still continue rocking and rolling till about midnight when winds are supposed to die down. We made 38 miles today. Overall this has been one of our hardest and more tiring days. Looking for better tomorrow.

We've taken a couple hundred pictures and will post a nice slide show on Paul's blog in a couple weeks, for know its just a few each day we take from the IPAD.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the motor's doing well - We've got another one now on Witchcraft. I hope the weather calms down a bit so you can have more fun. Keep the pictures coming!

Ken in Perth