Friday, April 29, 2016

Still in Palm Coast FL

Well, we are still here.  There was a possible weather window last week but we let it pass.  While we were delivering Release to North Carolina the mechanic had been working on our problems.  When we got back we met with him and went over some other problems and symptoms.  Since we have a Westerbeke engine and he is a certified Westerbeke mechanic we decided to have some preventive maintenance taken care of.  The engine runs well except at low idle and we decided to have him check that out.  There are also a number of things that should be checked due to the number of hours that have been run.  Unfortunately, we motor much more than I would like but that is the problem when trying to go from point A to point B.  Sometimes you just can't sail.  So far we have a number of parts that have been removed and sent in for reconditioning with promises of getting them back between one to three weeks.  That is why we decided to stay here for another month.  There are worse places to be and most of what we need are a couple of miles away, a long walk or bike ride away.  We do have access to bicycles if we need to make a run for something and Enterprise will pick us up if we need a car.

Speaking of cars, we rented one for the day and ran across the state to Clearwater to pick up our new Yamaha outboard, a 15 horse 4 cycle.  We had the 9.9 horse and found that it had enough power to get us almost anywhere but we were running it at full throttle most of the time.  I am hoping that the bigger motor will push us along with a bit more power in reserve for those times we have a bigger load or more people on board.  Now if we just had a dinghy.  The best price we found on the dinghy was up in North Carolina so we have to wait until we get back to pick it up.  Another day we made a run down to Ft. Pierce to buy some chain to replace our anchor rode.  The old one had lost it's galvanizing and was rusting.  It was getting to the point I didn't trust it in a heavy blow.  It only takes one weak link to separate us from our anchor.  I initially called them to make sure they had the size and length I needed before renting the car.  When we got there I took a look at the chain and realized I had ordered the wrong size.  Fortunately they had not cut it yet.  Once we had paid for our purchase they used their forklift to get it into the trunk and we were off.  Once back at the marina we laid it out on the ground and marked it at various lengths so we will know how much we have out then replaced the old chain.  We offered our old chain to anyone here that wanted it and had a taker.  While swapping out the chains I also took the opportunity to tear down the windlass and lubricate some bearings that were in dire need of grease.  We are now ready to safely anchor out again.

We have been making a list of projects to work on when we got back to North Carolina so we are going to try to work through them while we are here.  As soon as the engine is up and running again we will continue our trip spending some time in NC and then off to Ocracoke the first weekend of June for the music festival.  From there we will head out on our summer cruise north seeing how far north we will get this year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In New Bern NC

We are in New Bern NC getting ready to return to Florida to pick up where we left off on Hi Flite.

The weather forecast was giving us several days of good weather so on Sunday we headed out.  The trip up the ICW to St. Augustine was uneventful even in the shallow areas and we managed to catch the 2:00 pm opening at The Bridge of Lions, from there we raised the mainsail and motored out the inlet.  The tide was going out and the wind was pushing against it so it was a rough ride out the inlet.  From there we set our course for Cape Fear and began.  The seas were still rough with waves in the 5-6 foot range causing us some rolling.  We were hoping that the raised mainsail would help to dampen the rolling. The seas were causing the autopilot to work overtime trying to keep us on track.  During the night the autopilot gave up completely.  We were now tasked with steering by hand the entire trip.  Steering a boat in open water is a little different then steering a car.  There are no points of reference, no signs or buoys to guide you while offshore.  All you can do is just watch the compass and keep on your heading, for hours on end until the next shift comes on.  We normally do four hour shifts but we got off sequence since we were both real tired.

The weather forecast was for the winds to shift from northeast when we started to south by the time we got to Cape Fear and they were right.  As we progressed the sea conditions also dropped so that we only had a mild swell and pretty calm conditions.  The forecast also called for a major wind shift to the northwest then clocking to northeast sometime on Wednesday.  We only had a thirty gallon fuel tank with an extra twenty gallons in jerry jugs so we also needed fuel.  This is why we were aiming for the Cape Fear River instead of continuing on to Beaufort NC.  We arrived in Southport Tuesday and called several marinas until we found one that had room for us. It was after 5:00 so they stayed open late to get us in.  Thank you staff of South Harbour Village Marina.  We ended up tied up behind Lee and Cheryl on Shalaylee.  After showers we joined then for drinks, stories and ice cream.

Wednesday the forecast proved to be correct and the winds were out of the northeast and the temperature had dropped with highs in the mid 60’s and lows in the low 40’s through the weekend.  Pretty chilly when you don’t have a heater and did not bring warm weather clothes.   After a few phone calls to Ken and Francie we ordered the part needed for the autopilot and choose to stay at the marina until the weekend.  Friday the part arrived and the autopilot was again working.  Saturday morning we left the dock early to make as many miles as we could and headed up the Cape Fear River and back into the ICW.  It turned out that Ken and Francie were only a couple of miles behind us and when they caught up we traveled with them.  They draw less water than we did so they went ahead to measure the depth after we went aground near Carolina Beach.  We bumped the bottom several more times the next couple of days.  Sunday morning we pulled anchor at sunrise to try to make it to Morehead City by nightfall.  The weather forecasters had the winds all wrong.  Instead of 15-20 knots we were fighting 20-30 knot winds, at one point we saw gusts up to 37 knots.  We made it to Morehead City sooner than we expected and decided to continue as far as we could to get to Oriental.  Midway up the Core Creek/Adams Creek section of the ICW is Bocks Marine, where we had Hi Flite hauled out and redid the bottom.  We pulled into their docks before sunset and settled in for the night.

Over dinner that night we made a change of plans.  Instead of taking both boats to Oriental where Ken and Francie were going to meet the perspective buyer of Release, it was decided that they would take Release to Oriental and Cori and I would take Both Sides Now to New Bern .  They would continue on up to the Chesapeake and then come back to pick up Both Sides Now.  This was our first time piloting a powerboat.  I rode with Ken up to an anchorage near the Neuse River and we anchored and Cori and Francie brought Release alongside and tied up.  During the ride they had been sorting stuff and deciding what went on which boat.  For the next couple of hours we transferred stuff back and forth.  Once that was done they broke off and continued on to Oriental while we continued up river to New Bern where we got our first lesson in docking a trawler style powerboat.  It took several passes but we eventually put her in the slip without hitting anything.

Today, Tuesday, my good friend and former co-worker, Danielle, picked me up and off we went to my old school to see the teachers and students I had left behind when I retired and then we used her car to run errands all day.  We are leaving New Bern in the morning to drive back to Palm Coast to get back on Hi Flite.  The mechanic says that he has everything sorted out and working properly.  We shall see.  With the next weather window we will be repeating the trip on Hi Flite.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Leaving Hi Flite behind

We are here in Palm Coast and the mechanic has been here several times.  We removed the v-drive and he has that in the shop to be torn down.  There were several parts of the engine that he suggested needed to be looked at so they have been removed also.  Hi Flite is truly a sailboat, no other form of propulsion.  We are now waiting on word of what needs to be replaced before we can move on.

Since we are stuck here for a while we decided to do a good deed.  Our friends Ken and Francie on Release are making the big move from a sailboat to a powerboat.  They made the purchase in the Bahamas and are now trying to move two boat north.  They had family help to bring the boats to Florida but now are alone.  We don't have anything to do while we wait so we offered to help.  The plan is for them to take the new boat and Cori and I to take the sailboat and continue north.  Depending on the weather and other conditions we plan to try to go offshore in as long of runs as we can to get as far north as possible before we have to come back to Florida.  It is also possible that we may have to just follow them up the ICW.  At that point we will continue on with Hi Flite.