Monday, October 26, 2015

Almost finished with the maintenance

I (Dale) had to make an emergency trip back to Minnesota for a week.  When I got back it was time to bring Hi Flite to the boatyard.  We had an appointment to be hauled out earlier but the storm caused us to postpone that.  Once i got back we brought her to the boatyard and she was hauled out.  We had just had the bottom cleaned while we were in Annapolis and the diver told us that the paint was no longer working.  Once out the crew gave her a good scraping and power wash.  The paint looks good but the antifouling is no longer working allowing slime and barnacles to grow.  We also have a problem in that the bootstripe is in the water.  The bootstripe is the white painted surface just above the waterline.  When we got fully loaded for our trip south the bootstripe was partially underwater.  We had talked about how to raise the waterline but it is a little complicated when you are dealing with curved surfaces.  Once she was out of the water I came up with what I thought was the correct solution.  I marked along the stripe every foot and made a measurement of the width at these marks.  I then divided the measurement in half.  After two and a half days of sanding off most of the old stripe we remarked both sides measuring down from the top of the stripe with the new widths. After taping we applied four coats of barrier coating to keep the water out of the fiberglass and then primed and painted the new line.  Since the white that was on there was so hard to keep clean we decided to change the color to match the gold stripe just below the toerail.  After two coats of primer and two coats of Awlgrip epoxy paint the new line is finished.  Next was painting the bottom.  We applied two coats of VERY expensive bottom paint.  The final step is for Cori to buff the hull to remove waterspots and oxidation making the blue really stand out.

We have completed a few other projects while we are on the hard but these are the big ones.  We should be back in the water tomorrow and tied up to our old slip at Matthews Point Marina.  The next step is to shop ofr provisions and then we are off south again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No hurricane but...

Hurricane Joaquin took a more easterly route and did not make landfall but it was still ugly.  The storm that had devastated and flooded South Carolina was moving slowly up  the coast.  Eastern North Carolina had received several days of rain before we arrived and then the front really hit.  It was a classic Nor'easter with winds in the 30-40 knot range.  What happens next is the wind blows the water in Pamlico Sound south, building up in the creeks and rivers as all of the water from the rain is trying to make it's way to the ocean.  This causes the water in the creek to rise, and rise and rise.  By Sunday it was causing flooding in the low lying areas and rose above the docks.  There are several problems with the water over the docks: the lines are pulling up instead of laterally, the boat rises making it hard or impossible to get on and off and the electricity gets shut off.  If we had followed our first plan to anchor out for the storm it would not be such a problem.  At anchor the nose turns into the wind and rises and falls with the waves.  Tied to a dock she bounces like a hobby horse and heels left and right with the wind gusts, not a comfortable ride especially if it will last for several days.  We were having a hard enough time getting on and off before the water came over the docks and when we were told the electricity was being turned off we called our good friends Bill and Helen to see if we could stay at there house here at the creek.  We packed some clothes, the computers and a couple of days of food, shut most of the systems down and became dirt dwellers for a couple of days.  The winds continued until Monday evening when they slacked off and the water dropped to just below the docks.

Tuesday the water was still high but we were able to get back on board to continue putting things back together.  With the electricity off I wanted the solar panels mounted to keep the batteries up if the sun came out.  We spent another night ashore since the boat was still a mess with all of the laundry ready to be put away, one of the sails still off and the cushions below deck.

It is Wednesday and the sun is out, the electricity is back on and the water has dropped about a foot, still high but better.  We are in the process of straightening everything out, checking for locations that it may have leaked and gotten things wet and putting the last sail back on.  We were scheduled to be hauled out on Monday but with the weather that could not happen so we have rescheduled.  I am having to make a run back to Minnesota for a week so we will wait until I am back.  Cori is staying to take care of the boat and work some of the projects while I am gone.

Friday, October 2, 2015

We closed the circle

It is Wednesday, 9/23/2015, and the diver is late.  He had told us he would be over first thing in the morning.  I gave him a call around 10:00 and he said he was on his way.  Once he got there it didn't take him long to clean and inspect the hull.  We planned to leave as soon as he was done but agreed with him that it was a little late and the weather was not the best.  We stayed another night.  In the morning we dropped the mooring ball and headed out.  Once we were out into the bay we raised the sails and started sailing.  The wind was a little too much from behind us and the main sail was blocking the wind for the headsail causing it to flog as the boat rolled.  We dropped the main and used our spinnaker pole on the headsail to keep it from collapsing as the waves would make the boat roll.  Not the most comfortable sail but it sure beat motoring.  We arrived in the early evening at the Patuxent River with intentions of going into The Solomon's for the night.  We decided to skip that and picked out a spot on the river that was protected from the waves and anchored there for the night.

In the morning we caught the 7:30 weather forecast and headed out again. The wind had shifted from the northeast to east giving us a better angle to the wind and less rolling from the waves.  We were able to sail again instead of motoring.  Our one problem was that when I set a waypoint to go to I didn't notice that it went through a Navy target area.  Usually that is not a problem unless they are doing some target practice. As we approached the area we were hailed by the range boat asking us to alter course since they were "working on a project."  Not wanting to be shot out of the water we were happy to comply.  The wind and waves kept building all day until we were in 3-4 foot waves and 15-20+ knot winds.  We made it past the Potomac River and anchored in Mill Creek.  We had been there on our last trip to the Chesapeake and were familiar with how protected it was.  We spent the weekend there as inclement weather moved through.  There was a lot of wind and it rained off and on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday the weather had cleared and we left our anchorage.  Once out in the Bay we set all sails and headed South. Teh winds died off for a little while so we had to motor for about an hour then the winds came back at about 10-15 knots pushing us along at between 5 to 8 knots.  8 knots is about as fast as this boat will sail so it was a good ride.  By evening we made it to Hampton Roads and dropped anchor just before sunset.  We spent the evening going over charts trying to decide how far we could make it the next day.  Our goal was Coinjock NC but that was assuming a good start, no delays and we would be pushing it to make it in one day.  The only option for us would be to just go as far as Chesapeake and stay at the Great Bridge again.

In the morning we listened in on the weather forecast for the east coast on our single side-band radio and got the news that tropical storm Joaquin was expected to form into a hurricane and possibly make landfall in North Carolina.  It was time to get moving.  We pulled anchor and made plans for Coinjock.  As we motored through Norfolk and approached our first bridges, two of them railroad bridges that are almost always open.  They were both closed causing us about 15 minute delays at each.  We were late for the Great Bridge locks and had to wait about 40 minutes to be locked down.  We had three more bridges to clear and made it on time for the openings at the first two but had to wait about 15 minutes for the last one.  Once done with the bridges we continued on to Coinjock arriving about 6:00 pm.  We stopped long enough to top off the fuel and fill the water tanks.  We chose to continue to an anchorage we knew about.  As it got dark it was harder to pick out the markers to follow the channel.  With a spotlight we were able to locate them but also attracted a lot of bugs.  Then it decided to rain.  We arrived at the anchorage and dropped the anchor under pouring rain and crashed for the night after traveling 62 nautical miles.

We were up early the next morning and continued on pushing at 7 knots.  We made it down the Alligator River and through the Pungo-Alligator canal and dropped anchor near the exit of the canal at sundown.  A 67 nautical mile run.

Thursday morning we were up at 6:30 to be ready to leave at first light.  The forecast for the day was rain so we decided to remove the mainsail and store it below deck so it wouldn't be wet when we had to store it.  Once underway we got a call from Kindred Spirit as they were leaving Belhaven.  We had met them while up in New London.  We pushed at 7 knots again and made good time arriving at Matthews Point Marina about 2:30 and got tied up in our old slip.

After saying hello to old friends we started getting the boat ready for a hurricane.  This involves removing the sails, the dodger and bimini canvas and the solar panels.  Anything that can catch the wind needs to be removed or tied down.  It din't help that it was raining and everything was wet.  We got the dinghy and motors off and stored onshore and called it quits.  Bill and Helen invited us over for a late supper and she had picked up a cheesecake for desert.  She knows how much I like cheesecake.  We were planning to finish in the morning and take Hi Flite out to anchor for the storm.

This morning, Friday, 10/2/2015 we checked the weather to see the proposed path of hurricane Joaquin and learned that it had shifted east and would no longer make landfall.  The marina was no longer making the boats anchor out so we were able to relax.  It has been raining off and on today and when it is not raining we have started putting things back together.  We are planning to be hauled out next week to take care of some problems and to paint the bottom.