Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sandy Point, VA to Cape Charles

After a delightful evening of perfect weather as we sat at anchor in Sandy Point VA, we got up early enough to be underway by 8:15.  Cape Charles was our destination, about 40 nm away.  Before leaving, I topped off the oil and checked the gas tank. We had about 12 gallons left, which, at a gallon or so an hour, should be plenty to get to Cape Charles.

Again, we ate breakfast underway.  We're really getting to enjoy that.

With winds predicted out of the SW, and our course being about SSE, I thought we'd be able to get in some sailing today, or at least motorsailing.  Alas, it was not to be.  The wind ended up right on our nose again, so we motored.

The southern Bay is big water, and begins to look and feel like the ocean.  Increasing swells rolled out of the South, again building to 1 to two feet.  While the tide was in our favor, we were able to maintain 5 1/2 kts, but once it turned, we dropped to less than 4 kts!

When we were within about 4 miles of our turn into the Cape Charles entrance, a windshift suddenly made motorsailing possible.  It wasn't worth it to put up the main for that short distance, so we just unfurled the jib instead.  This gave us a boost to 4 1/2 to 5 kts.  Finally, sailing (sort of). Hurrah!
Motorsailing on Jib

But when ithe wind suddenly shifted back to its former heading, I was unwilling to drop sail so soon, so we fell off until the jib was drawing good again.  This brought us further West than we wanted to be, but we were sailing!

By the time we were ready to make our turn towards the entrance channel, the wind had piped up to 12 or 13 kts, making it fairly difficult to furl the jib, so I got a good workout.  But just as I was about to put the last turn on the furler, the engine faltered a couple of times and quit!  I had to quickly put the jib back out to give us some control and headway while I dealt with the problem.

I was pretty sure I already knew what it was, and a quick dip of the gas tank confirmed it.  We were out of fuel!  Apparently, with the engine working so hard against the wind and current, our fuel consumption rate had been much higher than I had been using to estimate our range.

Fortunately, we carry three 5-gallon jugs of fuel stored on the sidedecks, so I got one of them and emptied it into the tank. Because we have a gas engine, not a diesel, there is no difficult re-priming  of the fuel system required when you run out.  Problem solved, and we were on our way again.
Refueling Underway

Got into Cape Charles Town Harbor just 15 min before sunset, and tied up to their substantial floating docks.  There, we mat Mike and Lisa of the s/v Promise, a 50' Hunter that we had seen out sailing earlier.  They're on a two week trip around the Bay, and had also decided to hide out in Cape Charles for a couple of days to let the weather front pass as we were doing.

So, Gin & tonics for the ladies, and Rum shots for the men. Life is good on the water.

1 comment:

  1. Ed, The Socastee swing bridge is closed due to flood waters still as of 10/22/2016. Don't know when it will reopen.