10 November 2017 | Majuro, The Marshall Islands
25 October 2017 | Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati
22 October 2017 | Equator South Pacific
07 October 2017 | Port Denarau, Fiji
05 October 2017 | Denerau, Fiji
23 September 2017 | Musket Cove, Fiji
23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
06 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
01 April 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
31 March 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
26 March 2017 | Lee Stocking Cay, Exumas
20 March 2017 | White Point, Exumas
17 March 2017 | Staniel Cay
02 March 2017 | Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera
24 February 2017 | Little Harbour, Abacos
16 February 2017 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
14 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
11 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas

Michael's Secrets of Winter Sailing on Long Bay

01 March 2013
Michael
I guess I should thank Hurricane Sandy. Because of her, I was unable to take "Aria" to the Bahamas this year and discovered, instead, the joys of winter sailing on Long Bay. Since December, I've logged 480nm, including several trips to Southport and Bald Head, crossed Frying Pan Shoals into Onslow Bay, spent two night on the hook at Bird Island and made numerous day sails. I leave tomorrow for Southport. Honestly, it has been some of the best sailing I've ever done in these waters. Winds are consistently 10-15kts and except for the casino boats I have had the ocean and the anchorages all to myself. Over the course of this delightful season of winter sailing, I have developed a few rules.

Commit yourself. I wimped out on one particularly cold morning, and I regretted it later. I have never regreted having gone out, once I was on the water. But getting over the hurdle of the cold takes some fortitude. Inviting crew is the obvious way to give yourself no escape. But crew is hard to find this time of year, so I spent a lot of time single-handing.
Remove the canvas. Radiant heat is your friend. I was shocked how unimportant air temperature is once I was on the water with the sun shining. I literally hold my face to the rays like a cat sunning himself.
Depart late, arrive early. Normally, I love to get an early start, but in the winter, you need sunshine. When the sun starts to get low, I start to shiver. In January and February, I would leave at 9am and be back no later than 4pm.
Avoid night sailing. I wanted to do a Gulf Stream trip, but I knew I would need at 5-man crew so that night watches could be short. I never found the crew.
Long johns. You can't have too many layers. You can always take them off later.
Good hat. I have an insulated hunter's cap, with flaps for the ears. I look like Elmer Fudd, but if my head is warm, then I'm warm.
Good heater: I have a diesel heater. Under sail, I rarely use it. The fan disturbs my peace. At anchor, it's essential.
Protect the Prop: You cannot under any circumstances get in the water, so be extra vigilant for crab pots and your own fishing line. I don't even want to think about what I'd have to do to cut away the snarl.
Reef sooner. Cold air is more dense, and I could really feel the difference between 15kts of summer wind and 15kts of winter wind. Generally, I reefed sooner anyway, often sailing with staysail alone. It made sense to keep things as simple as possible, avoiding having to go forward, where the decks are wet and the possibility of a fall is greater.

Pretty simple stuff, especially when you consider that it unlocks another four months of sailing! As the days warm this month, I know I'll enjoy the warmer weather. But still, as this cruising ground fills up with stinkpots and jetskis, a part of me will be looking forward to the next season of winter sailing on Long Bay.
Comments
Hailing Port: Myrtle Beach, SC
Crew: The Hetzers: Tammy & Michael
About: Email: michael (at) webhenmedia (dot) com
Home Page: http://www.sothishappened.me
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Album: Main | So This Happened
Oct-Nov 2017 aboard Moon Dancer
54 Photos
Created 10 November 2017
33 Photos
Created 22 April 2016
65 Photos
Created 30 June 2015
Continued, beginning with Christmas Eve on Hawksbill Cay through Staniel Cay and beyond
73 Photos
Created 27 December 2013
This album covers a lot of sailing. First we sailed Aria from Little River to Nassau with Tom Leonard and Gary Miller. Later, while I remained aboard Aria, the family plus my old college pal, Larry Knipp, joined me at various times throughout the winter.
53 Photos
Created 21 November 2013
Conrad and I hiked 8 days through Bavaria beginning in Oy-Mittleberg and ending in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
28 Photos
Created 30 July 2013
June 2013: St. Helena Sound, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton
33 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Tammy and I, sans kids, visit Beaufort, Morehead City, Bald Head Island and Southport
26 Photos
Created 1 April 2013
Instead of a bushing, I used two custom-made steel plates to repair an elongated hole that supports the alternator.
9 Photos
Created 15 February 2013
Photo essay of my project to replace heat exchanger, and make several other upgrades to the fresh water and sea water loops.
18 Photos
Created 26 January 2013
25 Photos
Created 6 September 2012
Tammy and I sailed to Cape Lookout Bight, then returned via Wrightsville Beach to Bald Head Island, where the kids and dog joined us. Lovely family vacation!
27 Photos
Created 12 August 2012
Michael's voyage from the BVI to Bermuda, May 7, 2012
25 Photos
Created 6 May 2012
Pictures sailing in our home waters, a stretch of the coastal Atlantic called, Long Bay.
5 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
Scott Jackson, James "JD" Dodd and myself sailing from Marsh Harbour, Abacos to Little River, SC, clearing in at Charleston, SC
21 Photos
Created 24 April 2012
Hetzers, Plus Sarah Martin!
32 Photos
Created 8 April 2012
Trying out the new mainsail, a mylar/taffeta laminate sail from Neil Pryde.
9 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
17 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Six guys, two identical Beneteau 40s, a dozen islands and ample stores of rum - how I spent spring break, 2010.
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Summer 2010
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Christmas 2009
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
The boat was in Milford, CT when I bought it. We sailed it home... well, motored mostly, as there was no wind, and we got the mainsail jammed in the mast on the first day. We came ashore in Atlantic City to take on more fuel.
26 Photos
Created 2 April 2012