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Friday, December 12, 2014

Masonboro Yacht Club

In Masonboro Yacht Club just south of Wrightsville Beach. This is the kind of place that always gives me pause. As one travels down the ICW there are channels leading off to the left and right to various marina facilities. Never, and I mean never, do the signs say anything about depth. So one looks at the chart and sees 2 feet, or 3 feet, with this channel. Is it deep enough? The only way to tell seems to be to go in. The channels are always too narrow to turn around. Have you ever tried to back a sailboat? The result is that I avoid them. That is a shame because some, like Masonboro, have really nice people and decent facilities. Note to marina owners. Want to increase business with a cheap fix? Put up a depth sign.

Spent Wednesday night in Mile Hammock Bay with 7 other boats. Seemed like a lot of boats for this late in the season. The manager at Masonboro told us that there are a lot of late transits. The weather (as I well know) in November was terrible. Apparently lots of other people decided to wait it out. Major fail. The temperature dropped to 32 F and was still there when we got underway at 6:30 AM. Since the sun didn't rise until 7:01 AM our first mile was under twilight conditions. A little spooky but the channel is well marked.

Second to Bogue Sound in my I hate the ICW list is the run from Mile Hammock Bay to Wrightsville Beach. The trip itself isn't particularly worse than any other part of the ICW. The problem is that there are three bridges, all of which open on schedule. Miss a bridge opening, wait an hour. It is very hard to time one's arrival as there are numerous channels leading through the marsh out to sea. One minute you are going 4 knots. Pass a channel, now you are doing 6 knots at the same RPM. First you are late, then you are early for the next bridge.

Of particular note is the Wrightsville Beach bridge. The problem here is current, very strong current. While waiting for the bridge it is not unusual to be swept down on it at 2 knots. The nearer one gets to the bridge the stronger the current. My solution is to point up current and run the engine so that my speed over ground is near zero while my speed through the water approaches 2 knots. This confuses all the other boats who are backing and turning and trying to stay in place. It is also possible to run down or be run down by another boat while maneuvering to get under the bridge. People forget that they are still making 2 knots toward the bridge even though their bow is pointed elsewhere. Not fun. We were blessed with a medium tide. That gave us a  little bit wider channel to work in. I came down once  with a pack of snow birders at dead low tide. About 6 ran aground. Four hit each other. And the bridge of course refused to open even though a whole bunch of people were in extremis.

Ed (Hooligan) has been in Masonboro a number of times so he led us in. They set aside two spots on the "T" head even though they were full. I decided to stay for two nights to warm up and finish up tying everything down to go offshore. It is tough to get motivated after freezing all day when it gets pitch black at 5 PM. If conditions remain as forecast Saturday I will head down the Cape Fear River and go offshore and south. That way I will be able to avoid freezing behind the wheel with my eye on the depth gauge all day long. I should make about twice or better the distance each day.After a couple of days hopefully I will be in warmer climes.

Fair winds and following seas :)

PS: The air temperature is 34 F as I write this.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another Marine Story

Today I left Sanitary on my way south. At the last moment Ed (Hooligan) yells "I am not going." I yell "OK." I continue down to my planned night's anchorage at Mile Hammock Bay (inside of the Marine base at Camp Lejeune.) I am listening to the marine (as in boat) VHF radio. Everyone is talking about a shoal in front of me. At the same time I am very aware that there is a brige in front of me on bridge hours (that is, they only open at a certain time.) I am gunning it to make the bridge. Wham, I hit the shoal that everyone is talking about. I bounce up, spin around, throw it in reverse, and find myself on the other side (the destination side) of the shoal. Now at some point Ed changed his mind because he has caught up to me and has been following me for several miles. He has jerked his boat around, somehow missed the shoal completely, missed Reboot, and is now alongside me. He yells "if you don't hurry up we are going to miss the bridge."

My fantasy conversation with Ed in Korea or Vietnam; both places Ed served in combat roles in the Marine Corps with distinction:

Marine: "Ed, I have a sucking chest wound, both my legs are blown off, and I can't see."

Ed: "Hurry the "F" up or we are going to miss the extraction."

In fairness to Ed, without embarrassing him further, he has some cheap metal and ribbon that he got for activities in Vietnam that involved saving lives. Enough said. I hold him in great respect and would trust him with my life.

We made it through the bridge (which requires you to be there at opening time but takes 5 minutes to open - go figure) and to Mile Hammock Bay where we are spending the night.

An aside, they have been doing artillery practice all day so we have been listening to the guns for about 6 hours. Makes one want to shout "incoming."

Fair winds and following seas :)

Bogue Sound

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...
1. You run Northwest to Southeast. Backwards! So when I travel South you make me go Northeast and vice versa.
2, Your winds are adverse. If I wanr to cross the Gulf Stream your winds will be wrong. If the winds are from the South I can avoid you and cross the stream. But if the winds are from the North and I want to continue south to wait for a better day your winds will be in my face.
3. You are wide open so I feel the full brunt of the weather and wind.
4. You are very shallow so the smallest breeze kicks up nasty waves,
5. Your channel is 100 feet wide so I am constantly on alert that you don't blow me onto the shallows.
6. You are full of nasty eddies and currents so I can't use the autopilot unless I want to run aground.
7. You are long and boring and a miserable excuse for a passage route.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Feeling Guilty

Of course during all those warm days in port when I was supposed to be working on the boat I was not. I was eating too much, drinking lots of coffee (for some reason I just am not really into alcohol these days) and chasing women (unsuccessfully of course!) Now it is cold and I am underway so I end each day tired. All of those little projects are still in front of me. There is nothing to do when I set anchor. It is December so the nights are very long and electricity is at a premium. Still, I am so bored that each day I do one of the little make life better projects I should have been doing when it was warm. Such is life.

Fair winds and following seas :)


--

CAPT Roger J. Jones USN (ret.)

Sailboat Reboot

411 Walnut Street, #9700, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043-3443

Reboot's Agent's Email: and phone Rebootagent@gmail.com (201) 925-2581

Reboot Email (in port only) rogerjohnjones@gmail.com

Reboot Phone: (414) 248-0345

Satellite Phone  (870) 776-4111-46

Web Site: www.sailboatreboot.com

Blogging: blog.sailboatreboot.com

Reboot position http://www.winlink.org/dotnet/maps/PositionReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=W2ZDB

Ham Radio: W2ZDB via Maritime Mobile Service Net 14.300 Mhz

Ham Radio Email: W2ZDB@winlink.org

 This email is sent from an infrequently monitored mailbox.  It may take several days or weeks before REBOOT and I are in port where I can receive it.  Should you have an immediate need please contact me via Reboot's agent.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sanitary and South

Came down Adams Creek yesterday morning to Morehead City. Left Oriental in fog. Discovered that the radar has decided not to work. Fortunately the visibility was still about 1 mile so I was able to see the two boats that were coming the other way. After about two hours - an hour into Adams Creek the visibility improved and the fog burned off. Reached the Core Creek Bridge at exactly high tide. Expected no current, was fighting an almost 2 knot current (adverse of course) under the bridge. This was when the only two power boats heading in my direction wanted to pass. They were very polite but the current required them to really power up (off plane) to move so the wakes were ugly.

Was planning on heading down the ditch but by the time I got to Morehead I was frozen again. I realized that my gloves were not waterproof. I had worn them handling lines in the morning and they got wet. The result was that even though the rest of my body was warm, my hands were freezing. Lesson learned. I decided to stop at Sanitary. It is beautiful - the new dock. What isn't are the prices - $1.00 per foot per night or $25 if you eat. I decided to take the eat route, had a basket of clams, and saved $3.00. Ah for the days when it was free.

I did stop at the hardware/marine supply store across the street and bought all the hand warmers in stock. Unfortunately that was only three. I now have a three day supply.

Very cold last night. Ran the propane heater all night. I had filled both propane tanks in Oriental in anticipation of going offshore. I will most likely top them off again before I go. The heater tank is also the backup for the stove. Running the heater all night only gives me about 4 days supply in that tank.

Looked at the weather buoys this morning. Days are so short in December. Was going to try a "training wheels" offshore (its been a while) from Morehead to Masonborough inlet. Weather OK near shore but would arrive after dark. So more ditch today. I expect to run to the Cape Fear River and reassess. It is annoying that I am heading Southwest when I want to be heading Southeast but I would rather be alive then dead. The offshore buoys are showing 25 knot winds gusting 30 and waves of 7 to 10 feet. I think I will wait..

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Leaving Oriental and Sailcraft

The yard period at Sailcraft didn't work out. It turned out that the new wind generator was a 24 Volt unit that could not be retrofitted to a 12 Volt unit at a reasonable cost. So all of the purchases to support the generator: pipe, wire, circuit breaker, switch, etc. Fortunatley a bunch of the stuff was from the local West Marine and I was able to return it. Still, a hit on my finances for the things that I could not return.

The offshore forecast is still not very nice so I am leaving Oriental and starting to head down the ICW. It will take about three days to get south of Cape Fear and Frying Pan Shoals. At that point I will look at going outside again.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Weather ALWAYS WINS

It looks like the wind generator project will get finished today. That means that if I pick up my new bow light this afternoon I am ready to go. That would be nice. But...

It would be nice if the weather would cooperate. In order to get out of here I have to cross the Gulf Stream. That means, no wind with the letter "N" in the description. Or at the very least a very low wind speed - say 10 knots or less.

This is what I get:

 GALE FORCE WINDS POSSIBLE SUN

 TODAY (as in Friday)
 NE WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.

 TONIGHT
 E TO NE WINDS 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT
 LATE. SEAS 4 TO 7 FT.

 SAT
 E TO NE WINDS 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E TO SE 5 TO 10 KT
 LATE. SEAS 5 TO 6 FT.

 SAT NIGHT
 S TO SE WINDS LESS THAN 10 KT...BECOMING W TO SW
 LATE. SEAS 5 TO 6 FT. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS.
(If one doesn't mind the Thunderstorms not a bad time to try and cross over. Waves a little high but very doable. Unfortunately 12 hours doesn't get me across the Stream and out of the area.)

 SUN
 N WINDS 20 TO 30 KT...INCREASING TO 35 TO 45 KT LATE.
 SEAS 5 TO 8 FT...BUILDING TO 13 TO 20 FT LATE.

 SUN NIGHT
 NE WINDS 35 TO 45 KT. SEAS 15 TO 25 FT.

 MON
 NE WINDS 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING E 20 TO 30 KT LATE. SEAS
 17 TO 24 FT.

And on it goes. No, I can't get out and across the Gulf Stream and past the forecast area by Saturday night. Looks like I will be spending more time in Oriental.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sleeping in a bed

Yesterday I went over to the hardware store to fill the propane tank that powers my propane heater. This morning I woke up stiff and went to make a cup of coffee. I discovered that the second propane tank, the one that feeds the stove, was also empty. I knew it was low and planned on filling it before I left. Unfortunately it came up empty a couple of days early. Rather than changing tanks I headed over to the Bean for coffee and warmth. "the Bean" is a well know coffee and conversation emporium just off the Oriental public dock. You can see the harbor on the Oriental Town Dock Web Cam. As I walked I realized how once again my back was stiff and sore. I have concluded that sleeping on a cold surface (the bunk on Reboot) results in early morning back pain. I have several layers of blanket under me at night but it still doesn't keep me from early morning pain.

This led me to reflect on the last time I slept in a bed. The truth is I can't remember. Yes, I sleep in a bunk on Reboot but I am talking about a real bed in a heated room with hot showers and flush toilets. When I visit my sons I sleep on the couch. That is my choice, not theirs. The couch at Trevor's is actually quite comfortable. I think the last time was on Saba Island about two years ago. The bed was a pretty trashed hotel bed. In addition XO was with me. He could hear all of the animals around the cottage and ran and growled all night. Not a great memory. I can't remember the time before that.

Actually as I reflect I have slept in a bed since Saba. But in these cases it was associated with getting off Reboot because of severe weather. Not particularly a great mood for a good night's sleep.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Position Reports Problem

I have been posting (or my great shore staff has been posting) my position on Winlink. However in checking my website www.sailboatreboot.com I notice that the map is not being updated. I presume this is a problem with their web site and that it will be rectified soon. In the meantime I will continue to post my lat/long here.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Oriental, NC

Oriental Inn and Marina
Currently in Oriental, NC 35.0311° N, 76.6878° W at about noon. Re-acquainted myself with Tom and the Oriental Inn and Marina. Sitting at the town dock, with plans to go over to Sailcraft Yard on Thursday to get a bit of work done. Left Elizabeth City on a beautiful warm day. Made it as far as Hobucken and R.E. Mayo. This morning I left with Willaim Reed to Oriental. On the way out of the canal we were hit by beam seas and wind. It wan't all that bad but with the air temperature at 50 degrees it was far from pleasant. Made it around the corner and headed up the Neuse River with a following sea..It was still unpleasant but more comfortable. Tomorrow XO gets his rabies shot and checkup before we leave the US. Plan is also to drive down to Morehead City to check Reboot out of the United States. Thursday into Sailcraft to get the wind generator pole welded and then I should be good to go.

Fair winds and following seas :)