Port: Whortonsville, NC
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Home from the Boatyard

15 April 2007 | Bridgeton, New Bern, Whortonsville, NC
Lane Kendall
Southern Star has been "on the hard" since March 9th. The weather forecast for this weekend was for the same northwest wind we had seen for over a month. We heard from the yardmaster on Friday morning. He indicated that the wind was slowing and he thought he would be able to launch later in the day. This was a bit of a surprise but we were willing to travel if there was any chance of getting her back in the water.

Friday April 13, 2007
We packed in a hurry and headed east. When we arrived it seemed to me that the water level was about what I had remembered from a month ago but I was assured that it was rising. Within an hour of our arrival, the yard crew was busy lifting and "splashing" the boat. The water was still too shallow and there was a serious list to port. The yard guys assured me that she would float but I had my doubts. With the boat crew aboard and the yard crew on each side, we cranked the diesel and tried to move. The hard sand bottom did not yield and further action was required. We attached stout dock lines to the end of the lift ramps on each side back to the ship's winches and proceeded to do it the hard way. I tightened first one side, then the other with the diesel running almost full throttle. Each tightening of the winch won a few inches of ground. After we passed the end of the ramps, we could no longer pull or push from shore. It was up to us. We used the old "fish out of water method" turning the wheel from one side to the other until she finally wiggled free. Once free we were still in a treacherous area. The water was still barely over 6 feet so we had to pick our way back all the way across the river to the channel. We bumped the bottom several times but our only scare was when we hit an underwater obstruction and sent the first mate flying forward in the cabin. Luckily she was not injured. A sailboat cabin is a very dangerous place when a sudden grounding occurs. The newly installed depth transducer worked flawlessly but is not designed to "see" a relatively small obstruction.

Wow, we were actually floating for the first time in over a month, now what? By this time it was after 4 pm and there was no way we could make the long trip to Whortonsville before dark. Of course there was a plan. I had spoken to our friends Doug and Sheryl earlier in the day. It turns out they had recently rented a slip at BridgePoint marina which was just across the Neuse river (in nice deep water). Since they had not moved in yet, they offered us the use of their slip. We managed to arrive at the swing bridge during a time when it is not opened on demand. We waited in the channel for about twenty minutes until the scheduled opening at 5 pm. Doug and Sheryl stopped by to drop off their key to the bathhouse. They had also agreed to drive our little Toyota from the boatyard to Ensign Harbor. They accepted our invitation to dinner and we found a terrific Irish restaurant in New Bern. After dinner it was past bedtime so we turned in without delay.

Saturday April 14, 2007
The weather on Saturday was partly clouded as expected. It was cooler than we had hoped but we needed to leave early since our weather window was short. The forecast was for a nasty storm to move in late in the day and we didn't want to be out on the sound for the arrival of 30 to 40 knot winds. After a quick cup of coffee we were off. I tuned to VHF channel 13 and asked the bridge tender about his schedule. He replied "Give me a call when you're ready." We cleared the bridge at 7:15 am, thanked the tender and headed down the river. We had decided to motor all the way in order to get home as soon as possible. The wind was from the northeast and the first part of the trip we were headed southeast which put us in the lee of the land. The wind was very light and we really didn't have enough wind to sail. The river changes course radically to the northeast near Minnisott beach. After we turned the wind was from directly ahead. It was not a pleasant trip but we have seen much worse. Our boat speed over ground added to the wind speed was probably a bit over 20 knots and it was cool enough to make us glad we brought plenty of clothes. The wind actually decreased a bit by the time we got home. The whole trip was 33.4 nautical miles and took 6 hours. Any landing at Ensign Harbor is a social event. We were greeted by a capable landing assistance crew who were very complementary about Southern Star's new bottom job an shiny topsides. We spent the afternoon resting and packing for home. The first mate was not happy with my cleaning habits during my last two working visits. We were invited to spend the night with our friends Bill and Susan in Pollocksville. We accepted and it worked out really well. We had a great visit with friends not to mention the excellent dinner and breakfast. As an added bonus, we didn't have to pack and leave the dock in the driving rain that arrived right on time.

This was not the most fun filled trip ever but it was completed with no major damage to the vessel or her crew. We are really glad to get our boat home where she belongs. We are looking forward to lots of adventures when the weather gets warmer.
Vessel Name: Southern Star
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 30
Hailing Port: Whortonsville, NC
Southern Star is owned and sailed by Lane and Judy Kendall from Mount Pleasant, NC Southern Star (formerly Sea Breeze II) started her life on Lake Lanier near Atlanta. [...]
1983 Catalina 30 Tall Rig with Bow Sprint
Builder: Catalina Yachts
Designer: Frank Butler

LOA: 29' 11"
LWL: 25'
Beam: 10' 10"
Displacement: 10,300 lbs
Draft: 5'3"
Engine: Universal M-25 21HP
Fuel 18 [...]
Home Page: http://www.svsouthernstar.com
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Southern Star's Photos -

Port: Whortonsville, NC