Every cruise has a "First day"

Trip Start May 05, 2010
Trip End Oct 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Friday, May 7, 2010

Every trip begins with a first day. We had planned to leave Hilton Head on Thursday, but shutting down your home life for months takes a great deal of effort. Every service from car insurance, tv, internet, papers has to be put on hold. Neighbors have to informed and accommodations have to be made to have folks look in on your place. We have done this many times, and we have a general check list. Its keeps us from making mistakes but it takes time.
By mid-afternoon on Wednesday it was clear that stuff wasn’t going to get done. So we simply drop back a day. Hey, we are talking about a 5 month cruise so one day makes little difference. Our only time box comes from the tickets I bought in February for the Chesapeake Blues Fest in Annapolis. At the time it seemed like a good idea- two days of great blues music and Buddy Guy at the headliner. Now, in retrospect having a hard date when you cruise is a bad idea in general. Anyway, if I have to sell the tix, that’s ok. To make the concert we have to get to Washington in two weeks. Using simple math, we might allow for a 12 day transit so that leaves 2 day for weather and contingency. We’ll see.

So on Friday morning we are ready. We were fortunate to have a friend Mike B, who volunteered to take us over the Skull Creek Marina on Hilton head. After all, our car will be sequestered in the garage, battery disabled and in a deep slumber.

We had hoped to get underway by 0900 and we were spot on. Skull Creek marina is on a creek that has a very heavy tidal flow and I had had a very bad docking experience last January 1 when we moved into the slip. If you have read our other trips, I consider docking the worst part of owning a heavy trawler. When you get 25 tons of single screw boat moving in close quarters, it take a lot of skill to get it safely into a small space. Its pretty doable when you have a current. Most who look at the ‘forty, think we are influenced by wind. Somewhat, but so much of the boat is underwater it is really the current that can be your nightmare. If I cant dock/undock in zero current the next best thing is current on the nose. Or at least in the direction you want to go. You can always overcome current, but it is much easier if your own power is in the direction of the current. This assures you have control.

We were fortunate to have hit the departure at nearly slack water. So getting clear of the marina was no an issue. Before long we were heading north expecting to head up the ICW. I had considered going offshore all the way to Beaufort, NC, but the idea never took hold. Sue and I have concluded we simply can not stay up all night and its unsafe to do so when you are not alert. I made a few casual inquiries for friends who want to go, but it never really came together. So up the ICW was the plan.

I had even looked at just going outside until we get to Charleston but the tide tables suggested we would have facing a flood at the time we wanted to go. But as we began to cross the sound north of Hilton Head, I noticed that the tide was favorable. So halfway across we start heading to see making 8 kts over the ground. With First Forty’s normal speed of 7kts that’s a one knot favorable current. We will take it.

So we make the turn and head north toward Charleston with light seas and beautiful conditions. It was truly a perfect day on the ocean. Our ETA looked like it was pulling in and now showed us at the Charleston Jetty by 1730.

So in the late afternoon, we make the turn to enter the Jetty. Indeed, we ended the day well north of the sawyer bridge and dropping anchor. We had just taken 100 nm off the trip by only gone a total of 75 miles. This now puts us nearly a half day ahead of schedule. And, we had a ball.

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Ed Carpenter on

Glad to see your underway and making good time. Keep up the posts.

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