To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Southbound Day 1 - October 13

Nothing ever works out perfectly. For the most part, we have to settle for good enough. We finally left Herrington Harbour. We topped off the water. Picked up the fenders and docklines, and chugged out into the Bay on the morning of October 13th.

Winds were nearly flat (less than 5 knots). No sailing. It's about 5h 10m of motoring to the entrance to the Patuxent river. We made close to 7 knots with a clean bottom and a very light, but still favorable breeze.

We topped off the fuel, taking on 40 gallons in the tank and 25 in the jerry jugs on deck.

We dropped anchor in a spot in Mill Creek that we like. 38° 19.788′N, 076° 27.080′W.

CA watched eagles pushing each other around to secure their territory.

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This was a beautiful day. A great anchorage. The rebuilt starter was exemplary.


There are these problems.

  1. The air floor of the air floor dinghy doesn't hold air anymore. Ugh. That's a difficult repair. It's hard to get it right because the tremendous pressure inside the floor. We can — probably — take short trips in the dinghy if we pump the floor back up each time we go anywhere.

  2. The bilge pump ran 4 times during the day.

Finding the leak in the dinghy? Doesn't matter. I don't have the right Hypalon adhesives to patch it.

The complicating factor on the bilge pump is locating the source of the water.

Leaky water tanks?

Other leaks in the freshwater system?

Leaky stuffing box/cutless bearing?

Leaky raw water cooling system?

Leaky engine coolant?

Leaky hull (i.e., we're actively sinking)?

This is a lot to digest. And very worrying. Here's my analysis:

  • It's unlikely to be the tanks because they've never leaked before. They've been holding water all summer.

  • It's unlikely to be a fresh water leak elsewhere in the system because the pump hasn't been running to repressurize the accumulator.

  • It's not the stuffing box, I looked there.

  • We'll get back to raw water.

  • It's not engine coolant. We have an "expansion" tank into which coolant flows. Its level is consistently normal. coolant is not leaking out.

  • The hull is a massive structure and difficult to inspect. It was recently painted, however.

We're down to two sources of water:

The raw water for the cooling system or a breach in the hull.

Sigh. Both are potentially disastrous. But we need diagnosis.

I stuck my head in a lot of places.

What I observed was a "dam" made from an old oil-absorbing pad placed on top of the fuel tank. Two years ago, we had fuel leaking up out of the tank. I used oil absorbing pads everywhere.

This one had dammed some water on top of the fuel tank. It was sopping wet. And water was dripping from around it.

Could this have been it? A little lake of water shaken loose by sailing?


Here's what we had in mind as we went to sleep in Mill Creek.

If it's raw water, the bilge only takes on water while the engine is running.

If it's the hull, the bulge always takes on water.

In the morning, here's what we found.

The pump had run twice during the night.

Not the same frequency as during the day.

This rules out the hull. And rules in the remaining two sources.

  • Dammed (damned) fresh water.

  • A raw-water leak.

It's no longer a disaster. It's now a mystery. Press on to Deltaville. If we need to, we can tie up in the Deltaville Marina, walk to West Marine, and buy parts.


Attribute Value
Depart Herrington Harbour, 38°46.276′″N, 076°33.843′W
Arrive Mill Creek, 38°19.788′N, 076°27.080′W
Distance 26.9 nm
Time 5h 10m
Engine 5h 10m
Maintenance Take on 65 g fuel