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We have headed south
another GALE
11/04/2011, Coinjock, NC

So we have untied the Mark Twain's advice finally took hold -" Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
We finally HAVE!!!!!!! after 15 years of work and planning, we left the dock- Wednesday Nov 3 2011. We have headed south down the Chesapeake Bay towards Beaufort NC. Soon, at the right moment, we will head east for several days and then finally south into the trade winds. The weather was beautiful, sunny, crisp fall day. No wind, so we (again) motored down the bay. The Chesapeake, one of the most beautiful places on earth - filled with all sort of wild life. On this morning we saw a bald eagle, an osprey, loons, a blue heron, sea gulls and flocks of brown pelicans.
We left the dock on after breakfast and the lifting fog. Weather told us it would be a sail down the bay with northerly winds. But instead, true to form on the Chesapeake, the fluky nearly nonexistent winds turned to be directly on our bow. We debated spending the night tacking but decided to motor, having to make a bridge opening in Norfolk at 9:30 AM. So we set a watch schedule as we motored - napped, ate and marveled at the beauty of the bay. The sunset lasted forever. And then the stars and a half moon appeared. It was enchanting. One of the watches - midnight to 4AM gave Steve and I some time alone together. I got a little teary just realizing that we have finally started this new chapter. This is the 3rd year that we thought we would be able to go, the last two we could not make our self imposed deadlines in time.
I had to wake Cap't Mike late into our watch as we approached Norfolk when the traffic got confusing. We had a freighter running parallel to our course, a tug pulling a barge- gaining on us from the stern and then some very bright lights appeared dead ahead. We had 2 sets of tug lights, one showing it was pulling a barge and the other not, but they appeared to move in tandem. It took the three of us some time with binoculars to figure it all out, especially since none of the tugs would answer a call on the radio. The double tug turned out to be just that, 2 tugs with a barge (very large and unlit) in-between them. The aft tug was following shining a spot light on the barge. We adjusted our course 20 degrees west and then they all passed us to port in a few minutes.
Steve and Mike took us into Norfolk, over the tunnel (I-64) and down the Elizabeth River. Chris and I awoke as it was becoming light. The boat rocked hard - heeling side to side - as two freighters pushed past us rolling us in their wake. We got to see the Navy in port. Big grey steel ships. Pushed our way down stream to find a crowd of boaters (power and sail) waiting on the 9:30 bridge opening. We waited with them (it opened 15 minutes late), having met our goal.
Everyone was tired but happy- we had made it through. We continued onward, under non-opening bridges (scary we have a 55 foot mast), through a lock, through more bridge openings heading into North Carolina. The Virginia Cut portion of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) is beautiful. Cyprus trees, bald eagles, ospreys, fish jumping. It had nearly 12 feet center channel the entire length to Coinjack. The Currituck Sound is a body of water with 3- 5 feet of water in it and a 12 foot channel across it. You follow the marks, stay in the channel and then voila' you arrive in Coinjack.

After 35 hours of motoring, and one hour of sailing (very slowly) we arrived in Coinjack NC Thursday evening. We are still tied this morning (Friday), deciding that we should wait on another nasty low pressure system (4th in a week or so) to blow up the coast or something. Gale force winds are predicted for both inland and offshore waters. So being prudent sailors (i.e. timid) we will spend the evening tied to the dock, three steps from the bar and restaurant. Nice bath house too.
Our goal is the Trade Winds are 300 nm (nautical miles) east of Beaufort (Bow-fort) NC. Waiting for little cimaise to climb the waves to reach them. However, there are 25 foot waves out there now. So we will wait. But will we have nothing to do??? NO !!!!!!!!!!
The boys are now hanging upside down in the sail locker trying to bleed air out of the watermaker system. We think we found out where the air is getting in, but it is refusing to leave easily. The test is to finish the bleed and then run the system to see if it gets air in it again, but getting the air out is a struggle. Oh yes, did I mention the sail locker is OUTSIDE and the gale winds are starting to blow, no rain yet.. but we are still tied to the dock. DRINKS FOR EVERYONE at the bar tonight!!! Maybe a steak dinner too!

Gotta go back later my photos in the gallery...

Offshore to BVI
11/07/2011 | Sheila & Chris
You are off and by the look on Steve's face, a happy start. Cheers to you Both!
11/07/2011 | Sheila & Chris
You are off and by the look on Steve's face, a happy start. Cheers to you Both!
2 weeks till we set sail..

"A wet sheet and a flowing sea, A wind that follows fast And fills the white and rustling sails, And bends the gallant mast! And bends the gallant mast, my boys, While, like the eagle free, Away the good ship flies, and leaves Old England in the lee."
Source: Songs of Scotland--A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea

Or in this case ole virginny....

Gulf Stream West Wall entrance 36N 075 W
Gulf Stream East Wall exit 35.5N 073W
Then catch a south easterly current in an eddy
Gulf Stream eddy exit 33N 071W

Landfall at British Virgin Islands
18 38.486N 064 58.709W

Offshore to BVI

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