Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great Sailing Week

Wrightsville Beach, NC          GPS: 34 12.4N  77 48.0W

Map picture

Well what a productive week, our initial departure plan got delayed as the rain revealed a leak between the forward hatch and the deck, necessitating full removal and reinstallation which took most of the weekend by the time the sealant had dried.

So finally on Monday morning we were off.  We motored/sailed down the Chesapeake in company with Merlin stopping at Solomons and Deltaville before arriving at Old Point Comfort on Wednesday evening, just in time for the weather window to get round Hatteras, we were joined by Bella so we had a convoy of three for the long run outside.

It proved to be a superb sail, we left on Thursday morning and had a cracking sail down the Virginia coast, reaching in a westerly on flat water under warm sunshine.  What a change from 3 years ago when we tucked in sleeping bags and shivering.  Much of the change is due to leaving a couple of weeks earlier, but also the cockpit enclosure Linda has made since then helps to keep the wind off us.

We had a full moon for the night sail and the temperatures remained high, even when the forecast northerly change came through around midnight.  The wind shifted NE at 20-25 knots and the seas began to build a bit, but nothing more than 4-5 feet so comfortable fast downwind sailing.  We rounded the shoals at Hatteras around 0430 by which time it was a bit rougher, but once round we had a comfortable ail as the seas flattened out again.

Cape Lookout_002Sunrise was gorgeous and the rest of the trip uneventful sailing downwind in sunshine and flat water.  We sailed the whole 200 miles to the Lookout shoals buoy averaging 6.6 knots and with no incidents at all to report.  We were joined  by a pod of dolphins for the motor into the anchorage at Cape Lookout arriving tired but very happy in time for a sunset beer and an early night.

Saturday dawned sunny and warm and we had a great walk down the ocean beach at Lookout in the sunshine.  It reminded us of Australia with four wheel drives and surf fishermen on the white sand, the waves rolling in and sun warm on our backs.Cape Lookout_014Cape Lookout_013

Sunday was our last chance to get south for a few days so we upped anchor in the dark and motored out bound for Wrightsville Beach.  The wind filled in once the sun was up and we had another superb sail in calm seas, bright sunshine and at good speeds – it wasn’t like this 3 years ago, we almost don’t trust out luck!

We hadn’t been in here before, but Masonboro Inlet was wide, deep and easy and we are now tucked up in the anchorage riding out 3 days of 20 knot southerlies before the next leg down to Charleston.  We hope to leave Friday on the next cold front getting in 24 hours later to probably our favourite city on the east coast.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

To Do List Frenzy

Annapolis, MD

September has been and gone and finally we are ready to head south.   We have been working hard and Matsu now shines and gleams like new and the to do list has gone from 120 to 20 things to do – the truth being the 20 are the sort of things that never ever get done!

We have spent the 6 weeks tied to the dock at our friends Larry & Bev from ChandelleBurley Creek_001 who we first met in the Bahamas in 2007.  They have been so kind allowing us to use the dock and share their superb location in Annapolis, we will be sad to leave!  The dock has an endless supply of blue crab too and we have had some great crab dinners to sustain us.

Linda’s big achievement is to have made a superb dodger, our old one was impossible to see through and leaked like a sieve and the time had come to replace it.  3 years ago we bought a Sailrite machine and Linda has honed her skills on many projects but a dodger is about as hard as it gets.Burley Creek_007

With Larry & Bev’s dock as a work area and her faithful assistant Charlie, Linda has produced a superb dodger - tight, wrinkle free and waterproof; the difference it has made to the boat is incredible.  We will actually be able to look out for boats on night watch from within the dodger rather than having to stand up and stick our heads out – an important improvement in the autumn weather.

We also took delivery of our new mainsail, it looks and sets beautifully, now we have the new one we realise how bad the old one had become.

I meanwhile have been fixing, replacing, troubleshooting etc etc a  multitude of systems and with today’s rebedding of the front hatch we are set for the off.  There is an excellent weather window opening up mid next week for rounding Hatteras and heading south, like all windows it can disappear but we plan to head south down Chesapeake Bay tomorrow and who knows where the next post will be from.