SV Lightfoot

Vessel Name: Lightfoot
Vessel Make/Model: Tartan 37
Hailing Port: Washington DC
Crew: Kepple and Grounds families
04 June 2012 | Southport NC
31 May 2012 | Kilkenny Creek GA
29 May 2012 | Jekyll Island- ICW Mile 695
26 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA
19 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA
28 January 2012 | Ft. Pierce, FL
27 January 2012
26 January 2012
25 January 2012 | Behind Highborne Cay/Bahamas
25 January 2012
25 January 2012 | Highbourne Cay
24 January 2012
23 January 2012 | Leaving northern coast of Turks and Caicos
23 January 2012 | Sapodilla Bay
17 January 2012 | Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos
15 January 2012 | Sapodilla Bay, Turks & Caicos
14 January 2012 | Luperon- Dominican Republic
13 January 2012 | Dominican Republic
12 January 2012 | At Sea
Recent Blog Posts
04 June 2012 | Southport NC

Jump to NC

After two days in the ICW and some encouraging weather news at Kilkenny Creek, we decided to jump outside to Charleson SC. The pain inflicted by Beryl had begun to fade. The autopilot started working again and Chip started getting the spare main sail ready for first time duty. The spare sail was cut [...]

31 May 2012 | Kilkenny Creek GA

Kilkenny Creek

We wound through the Georgia marshes for about 70 miles on our way to Savannah. The Georgia marshes extended for miles and it was nice to see so much unspoiled habitat. About 40 miles into the trip we noticed a large sloop with a French name slowly gaining on us. As we entered Saint Catherine’s Sound [...]

29 May 2012 | Jekyll Island- ICW Mile 695

Jekyll Island

We started late today (11:30 am) to avoid some heavy rain in the morning. We traveled up the ICW and saw a group of three manatees swimming south of the town of Ferdandino Beach. On one section we saw a shrimper with one of his outriggers deployed. At first we thought he was fishing in the ICW but [...]

29 May 2012 | at sea

Whiff of Beryl-(We didn't like the smell)

We departed Fort Pierce about 8:30am Sunday morning after returning the rental car. The weather was beautiful, sunny temperatures in the low eighties. This however would soon change.

26 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA

Our Friend Beryl

We arrived in Fort Pierce late on Thursday after driving 1000 miles. Friday we drove to Harbortowne Marina and were relieved to find Lightfoot in good condition. No wetness or mold inside.The Harbortown marina crew launched Lightfoot right on time at 10 am. I was relieved when the engine started up [...]

19 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA

Restart

The weather has warmed here in the mid-atlantic and it is time to move SV Lightfoot back from Florida to her home port in Annapolis. Lightfoot will be launched on May 25 at the Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce FLA. At Harbortown, the boat owner [...]

Jump to NC

04 June 2012 | Southport NC
Alan
After two days in the ICW and some encouraging weather news at Kilkenny Creek, we decided to jump outside to Charleson SC. The pain inflicted by Beryl had begun to fade. The autopilot started working again and Chip started getting the spare main sail ready for first time duty. The spare sail was cut for a Hunter 35 and has a longer foot than our boom and has different attachment hardware. So as Chip cut the old slides off the spare and installed the new, I piloted us out through the Ossawago cut to the sea with Blackbeard's Island to starboard. The weather was perfect for sailing, small waves, wind 10-15 knots from the south, clear and sunny. Our original plan was to head back into the ICW after reaching Charleston but the weather was so nice that we decided to push on to Southport NC. We passed the entrance to Charelston Harbor about midnight and spent a coule of hours dodging freighters. I had two freighters pass closer than 0.5 miles. I normally manuver to keep the closest point of approach to at least a mile. The AIS again proved it's worth. In crossing situations at night, having both a visual assessment of the situation backed up by information from AIS provides a lot more assurance that you understand what is going on. AIS also provides a much earlier warning (15 mile range or so) of a developing situation.
Dawn found us 35 miles from Southport with wind picking up to 20 knots and waves building to 6 feet. As we entered the Southport shipping channel, winds had increased to 25 knots and waves to 6-8 feet. Southport is south of Wilmington NC across the sound from Bald Head Island, an area I always wanted to explore. We arrives about 9pm, too late to get into a marina so we found a spot south along the ICW to drop anchor for the night. Next morning we contacted a Marina and made reservations for a slip at a good monthly rate and reserved a rental car for the ride back. After preparing the boat for storage, we got an earlier start and drove back on Sunday.

Kilkenny Creek

31 May 2012 | Kilkenny Creek GA
Alan
We wound through the Georgia marshes for about 70 miles on our way to Savannah. The Georgia marshes extended for miles and it was nice to see so much unspoiled habitat. About 40 miles into the trip we noticed a large sloop with a French name slowly gaining on us. As we entered Saint Catherine’s Sound the French boat passed us by cutting off a corner. After a series of the usual French jokes, including the waving of private parts in their general we accepted defeat. As evening fell we found ourselves running low on fuel and turned into a creek in the marsh toward a marina and there we found our nemesis securely tied to the dock. As we tied up the two guys on board invited us over for Dark and Stormies. Turns out they had departed from Daytona Beach bound for Charleston in a race before diverting to Ferandino Beach due to Beryl.
Very interesting people and not French. After Dark and Stormies and the requisite trading of sea stories we walked a short distance to a nice restaurant. Kilkenny Creek Marina was really a very nice place to stop. Friendly local people and marina owner.

Jekyll Island

29 May 2012 | Jekyll Island- ICW Mile 695
Alan
We started late today (11:30 am) to avoid some heavy rain in the morning. We traveled up the ICW and saw a group of three manatees swimming south of the town of Ferdandino Beach. On one section we saw a shrimper with one of his outriggers deployed. At first we thought he was fishing in the ICW but then we realized he was aground and using his fishing gear to pull himself free. He freed himself and we followed him for several miles until he split off into what I thought was a dead end. Before long we saw him turn around retrace his path and fall in behind us. Now I am starting to think, this guy must not have charts. So he followed us through some tricky areas and then pulled ahead when the town of Ferdandino Beach was in sight. We saw him make one aborted pass at rafting up with some other fishing boats before we passed and left him to it. Must have been a new guy.

Later we passed the US Navy submarine base at King's Bay. There were two boats with security personnel present to make sure we stayed in the channel. I saw one of the submarines that I refueled back in my working days tied up to a pier. After passing King's Bay the skies opened and Beryl wet us down again. We passed Cumberland and Little Cumberland Island and through Saint Andrews Sound seeing two sea turtles poke up their heads in Saint Andews sound. We pulled into a small creek west of Jekyll Island, dropped the anchor, and now it is Miller time. Fried egg sandwiches and baked beans on the menu tonight.

Whiff of Beryl-(We didn't like the smell)

29 May 2012 | at sea
Alan
We departed Fort Pierce about 8:30am Sunday morning after returning the rental car. The weather was beautiful, sunny temperatures in the low eighties. This however would soon change.
According to the weather forecasts subtropical storm Beryl with winds up to 50 knots was forecast to make landfall between Jacksonville FLA and Savannah GA about 0200 Monday morning and leave behind winds of 15-20 knots from the south. Then Beryl was forecast to dump 2-4 inches of rain on northern FLA before reforming and moving east, passing over the coast somewhere between Savannah and Charleston SC Wednesday and directly in our path to Beaufort NC. So we planned to get started on Sunday and pass the tail end (Southeast corner) of Beryl as she moved west Sunday evening and make Savannah or Charleston before Beryl returned on Wednesday. Just before departure we learned that Beryl was expected to reform on Tuesday near Savannah leaving us little time to get into Savannah before Beryl. As a result we decided to start and either aim for Savannah or somewhere further south depending on the forecasts for Beryl's return.

After departure from Fort Pierce, the weather deteriorated by Sunday evening and we experienced 30 knot sustained winds with 40 knot gusts. With the favorable gulf stream current we were able to make 7-8 knots with only a double reefed main sail. The waves built to 15-20 feet under the sustained winds. There were some small breaking waves that threw a few gallons into the cockpit just to keep me thoroughly wet. Later that evening thunder storms arrived with heavy rain. The rain was heavy enough to flatten the waves at least. The lighting bolts were magnificent. I was glad I didn't get a closer look though. Standing there soaked with a 51 foot aluminum pole standing into the sky did not seem like an ideal position to view lighting. This was a true “Gorton Fisherman” experience. We figured out later that Beryl's westward profess had slowed and we passed about 90 miles to the southeast of the storm center. Too close as it turns out. We got a whiff of Beryl we passed in the night and we didn't like the smell.

Later that night the wind dropped down to a more moderate 20 knots and the rain stopped. During on of these periods the goose neck fitting that holds the tack of the sail (at the juncture of the main mast and main boom) failed and the main sail ripped along a seam at the the third reef point. We carry a spare main sail but at that point there was enough wind to proceed under jib alone. At this point we decided not to try to race Beryl to Savannah. If we arrived late, she would get us again so we changed course for Jacksonville FLA. Yes we are wimps. Beryl has the power.

We made an interesting approach to Jacksonville at about midnight Monday. Outside are two stone jetties that extend out into the ocean about half a mile or so. We we still seeing 10-15 foot waves when we entered between the jetties the waves were very confused. We were tossed around quite a bit. At 1am Tuesday morning we anchored up the Saint John river at the junction with the Inter-coastal Waterway. Chip didn't finish his quart of wine and I didn't finish my can of beer before passing out.

Our Friend Beryl

26 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA
Alan
We arrived in Fort Pierce late on Thursday after driving 1000 miles. Friday we drove to Harbortowne Marina and were relieved to find Lightfoot in good condition. No wetness or mold inside.The Harbortown marina crew launched Lightfoot right on time at 10 am. I was relieved when the engine started up quickly and we moved out to a transient slip. The weather predicted for Friday and Saturday is unsuitable for an early departure. Subtropical storm Beryl is developing just to our north, with winds from 40-50 mph predicted Saturday. 1-4 inches of rain is predicted in northern FLA and southern GA. Beryl is creating north winds for us through Saturday. Sailing north in the gulf stream against north winds is not a good plan so we are waiting for the southerly winds predicted Sunday.
The weather forecast is complicated by the unusual track of Beryl. After moving ashore Sunday in GA, Beryl is predicted to start moving west again out over the ocean right where we would be if we depart Sunday. Since we do not really want to dance with Beryl, we are now looking at a two passage to Savanah GA instead of a direct four passage to Beaufort NC. We are finishing getting Lightfoot ready for sea and plan to depart early Sunday morning. We will aim for Savanah unless the latest weather forecast indicates we can aim further north to Charleston SC boat without crossing paths with Beryl.

Restart

19 May 2012 | Fort Pierce FLA
Alan
The weather has warmed here in the mid-atlantic and it is time to move SV Lightfoot back from Florida to her home port in Annapolis. Lightfoot will be launched on May 25 at the Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce FLA. At Harbortown, the boat owner needs to attend the launch to drive the boat out of the lift slings. So to be there, we are renting a car and driving down on May 24. We will provision the evening of May 24 and ready the boat for sea after launch on the 25th. If the weather is good we will depart Fort Pierce bound for Beaufort NC on the 25th. The distance is 474 nautical miles and with the favorable Gulf Stream current I expect about a four day passage to Beaufort NC. After Beaufort we will travel north up the Intracoastal Waterway until about June 4 when other commitments will end this trip. There is a chance that we might reach the Annapolis area by June 4.
I have found myself craving another passage at sea several times over the past few months and am looking forward to this trip. Four days off-shore followed by several days traveling up the ICW will be a very nice combination. With a little luck we will be back at the MACU dock in Elizabeth City by June 1 or so.
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