Today, amongst other things, we endured a lot of wind. A real lot. Plus rain. The forecast is gusting to over 30 all day and into the late night hours. We may have seen gusts to 40. We're rocking and rolling all over the place. The anchor is holding, and the snubber is working overtime. CA checked it and checked it again.
The picture doesn't look like much. A few whitecaps. So what?
We're in a creek that only goes another mile. The wind has whipped the little creek into whitecaps. Here's the view during the rain.
I spent the day typing the log entries from our Fernandina to Beaufort, NC, run from 2014. Every hour we log the position, Seed Over Ground (SOG), Course Over Ground (COG), True Wind Speed (TWS), True Wind Angle (TWA) every hour. We also record RPM's and fuel levels when the engine is running (which it was.) That's 60 log entries. Many written in the dark of night.
We made that 360 mile trip in just about 59 hours. We only used 36.7 gallons of fuel, about .622 gallons per hour. This seems to be an insanely low fuel consumption. The engine was on and in gear, but the horsepower load must have been essentially zero.
The reason for entering all the data is to finalize plans for our Beaufort to Charleston trip.
Here's my struggle. The overall distance is about 214 miles. At 6 knots, that's about 36 hours. The duration is awkward. If we leave first thing in the morning, and sail through the night, we arrive LATE the next day. Any delay and we're looking at an after-sunset arrival. We think this can be hazardous. Charleston is well-marked, but, still. After-dark arrival in place we've seen four times before is a recipe for disaster.
One workable approach to the 36 hour duration is to leave just before sunset. This means getting sails squared away quickly before full darkness. We sail one night, one day, and a second night to arrive at Charleston at the next dawn. Delays present no real problem. Ideally, we would arrive at the first sea buoy at 04:00. This lets us motor through 15 miles of deep-sea buoys while the sun is rising.
An alternative approach is to leave late and make a 16-hour run to Masonboro Inlet, rest for the day and night at anchor. Then we'd leave the next morning at dawn to make the remaining 160 miles as a 28-hour trip. The second trip involves a daylight departure, on night at sea, and an arrival at mid-day.
While the second choice sounds nice, getting in and our of Masonboro inlet adds 30 or so miles to the journey. We think it's better as a bail-out alternative if we've mis-judged the weather or sea state. Or mis-judged our abilities.