On Tuesday we went to Sailcraft Services to have a few things done on the boat. It was supposed to be a half day trip but it ended up taking 2 days.
Tuesday morning the winds were supposed to be blowing 10-15 knots but when we got out of the creek into the river it was blowing 22 knots right at us with 3-4′ waves. This is not our normal weather! We just held on and motored on. Our 45 minute trip took 1 1/2 hours. We were holding on for dear life. Jan insisted we install a pedestal guard by the steering pedestal several months ago and it was a life saver.
When the wind blows that hard out of the southwest the water level goes way down to the point running aground is a good possibility. Fortunately we had good directions out of Pierce Creek and into Whitacker Creek. We have a used chart plotter we got from some friends and this was our first chance to use it. It was very helpful getting us home but more on that later.
Once at Sailcraft we had the boat pulled out of the water to check for blisters and a strainer was put over an input thru hull for the ac. This keeps grass and minnows out of my ac unit.
My vhf radio has always had bad reception. We ended up replacing the entire antenna cable that runs from the antenna on top of the mast down to the cabin. Turns out we still had the original cable from when the boat was built in 1974.
One problem boats have with diesel fuel is alge will grow in the fuel. This creates a layer of sludge on the bottom of the tank which is not a problem until you start bouncing up and down in 3-4′ waves. This agitates the sludge which gets into the fuel filters and can actually stop the engine. The solution is to polish(filter) the fuel. Sailcraft could polish our fuel Wednesday morning which was convenient as I was not going back out into the river Tuesday afternoon. It was blowing 27 knots with gusts over 30.
Polishing the fuel was simple, Jim and Evan were nice guys who knew what they were doing. It took 2 hours and we were back on the river at 2:30pm
This is were the chart plotter (electronic maps
) helped us. The plotter left a track of our path to Sailcraft. I saved this track and we followed this track all the way home. Some parts of the channel could only be 20-30′ wide. Please note that the boat behind us at Sailcraft was stuck in the mud while sitting at the dock. It took 30 minutes to get him away from the dock. Towboat US had to rescue 3 boats that were stuck in the mud trying to get out of Whitacker Creek. Using the chart plotter to stay in the channel and not get stuck in the mud is a good thing.
In spite of our issues we consider this trip a success. We learned a lot about what is required to head down the ICW.
We have to change the way we arrange stuff inside the cabin in case of rough weather.
The depth finder stopped working on the way to Sailcraft and needs to be fixed.
The anchors bounced all over the front of the boat and will need to be tied down better
Weather is crucial to our trip. We now have 4 weather apps we check before we leave the dock. If we take Scout with us we can not be in that rough of water. It was too rough for her. We’ll really need to be fair weather sailors when Scout is aboard the boat.
We’ve moved our departure date back to after the 4th of July in order to finish our projects.
More to come,
Jan, Matt and Scout