Sunday, April 30, 2017
Our next three days were pretty uneventful, and were repeats of stops we made on the way south last Fall.
After our escapade on the Wacamaw, we had ended up further North than planned, so it was only a short 27 NM trip to Myrtle Beach, including the infamous "Rockpile" section of the ICW. We took a slip at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, where, by good fortune, our friend (and fellow P-323 owner) Dick Martin was at his boat for the weekend. We got together with him and his wife for dinner.
Monday, May 1, 2017
Today's run would take us into North Carolina and up the Cape Fear river to Carolina Beach, a distance of 46 NM. We left early, at 7:00 am, in order to time the tides on the Cape Fear River to not be opposing the winds. This had happened to us on the way South, and the resulting "Rage" of choppy and confused seas had made for a difficult and uncomfortable passage.
And it was well that we did. By the time we were were northbound on the Cape Fear River, the winds had risen to 30 knots, gusting to 36, out of the South. We were at the tail end of the rising tide, just ahead of high-slack, but the wind and tide still combined to push us along at 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 knots! As is typical for downwind, it really didn't feel like that much wind, until we had to turn ENE to head for the canal, called Snow's Cut, that leads to Carolina Beach. Then it became really apparent just how much wind there was!
In Snow's Cut, the wind and current boosted our speed over ground to almost 9 knots! It makes for quite a "sleighride" up the narrow canal!
Once at Carolina Beach, we headed for the mooring field. Given how hard the wind was blowing, I was glad we had elected for the security of a mooring. But there was a down side. The wind was so gusty and veering that it was extremely difficult to pick up the mooring pendant. It took us many tries and over a half hour before we successfully snagged it and had a proper two-rope bridle set up. Things got a little heated at times, but that was just our frustration.
And then, shortly afterward, a trawler pulled up to a nearby mooring and gave us a repeat performance, complete with lost pickups and increasingly sharp words between the husband at the helm and the wife on the foredeck. I couldn't help but laugh, not at their discomfort, but at how it reminded me of how we must have looked!
Eventually, they got it secured, but to my concern, I noticed that they had rigged a single-rope bridle, from their port cleat, through the loop on the end of the pendant, and back to their starboard cleat. This allows the line to saw back and forth through the loop on the pendant, and can wear through it in a matter of hours! And with the way the wind was blowing, we were "sailing" around back and forth a lot! The way to avoid this is to use two lines, each one going from a cleat, through the pendant loop, and back to the same cleat.
I was afraid they would break free in the middle of the night and end up in the weeds. I tried to raise them on the VHF to warn them of the danger, but they must have had their radio off. So I contacted the harbormaster who runs the mooring field and explained the situation. He too was concerned, and later came out in his dinghy to show them how to set up a two-rope bridle and helped them do it.
I'm sure everyone slept better that night. I know I did.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Today we were going to duplicate our longest leg on the ICW, a distance of 69 NM from Carolina Beach to Swansboro. We had done this in the other direction the fall, when the days were short, but it was a stretch, requiring getting underway pre-dawn and arriving minutes before sunset. With the longer daylight hours now, I was confident that we would make it without trouble.
And we did. Upon arriving at Swansboro, we once again took a slip at Dudley's marina. It's a bit rough, but at $0.75 per foot (including power) it's hard to beat!
Tomorrow, we'll continue northward, past Beaufort and up on to the Neuse River.
Life is good.