Windflyer Sabbatical

Brian & Renate's excellent adventure sailing from Bronte Harbour to the Bahamas and back.

26 January 2024 | Dowry Creek Marina, Belhaven, NC
25 January 2024 | Alligator River - MM100 Anchorage
23 January 2024 | Coinjock
22 January 2024 | American Yacht Basin
03 December 2023 | Portsmouth, VA
27 October 2023 | Hampton, VA
16 October 2023 | Chesapeake Harbour Marina, Annapolis
15 October 2023 | Chesapeake Harbour Marina, Annapolis
09 October 2023 | Rock Hall, MD
28 September 2023 | Great Kills Harbour, Staten Island
23 September 2023 | NYC
17 September 2023 | Kingston, NY, Rondout Creek
11 September 2023 | Schnectady Y C
05 September 2023 | Amsterdam, NY
03 September 2023 | Little Falls NY
30 August 2023 | Phoenix, NY
27 August 2023 | Sodus Bay Yacht Club
24 August 2023 | Rochester Yacht Club
22 August 2023 | Cobourg Marina
21 August 2023 | Island Yacht Club

The Southern Terminus

26 January 2024 | Dowry Creek Marina, Belhaven, NC
Brian Miller | Overcast and 22c
This is it for our travels, for now. We were quite fortunate to have for us, 4 great days of travel weather-wise!

We had a great evening at anchor at MM100 at the southern end of the Alligator River. Winds of approx 12 kts but very sheltered so it was very calm and it was about 17c.

So duck hunting season is on in North Carolina and there are lots of duck hunters out there. it is very marshy along the ICW here so lots of duck blinds and duck boats that are all camoflauged. So it was a very quiet and calm evening (full moon so very bright) until 0600hrs when the duck boats started going by our anchorage. The sound of outboards and some wakes woke us up.

Renate had a Zoom call from 8:00 to 9:00am (Starlink is great) which went on time. Which is great because the duck hunters which were only about a km away starting shooting - it was like a war zone!

It was very warm and sunny most of the day so we opened up the enclosure to let the warm and fresh air in on our travels. Wonderful - in January no less. So, not Florida or the Bahamas, but still warm and way better than back home.

This place, Dowry Creek Marina is a wonderful little spot. The staff and boaters are very friendly - we had about 5 or 6 people, mostly boaters coming out to help us dock - a very warm and wonderful welcoming!

Alligator River Anchorage

25 January 2024 | Alligator River - MM100 Anchorage
Brian Miller
We heard a few bumps in the night - could it be? Nah no bumps and no alligators!

It was a nice day of travel yesterday - up to 17c and sunny for half the day. We had a stretch of about 6 miles crossing the Albemarle Sound in 15 to 18 kts from the SE that kicked up only 2 - 3 ft waves, but Windflyer is so heavily loaded she felt like a big tanker going through the water. It was similar once we got through the Alligator River Bridge, although the wind dropped to 11 kts.

We have only had to go through a handful of bridges on this journey and the bridge tenders have mostly been very accommodating and very polite. The best part is they call you "Captain" - are you kidding? But this is why i love the Americans So to all of our pals back in Bronte and to my children - it is "Captain Brian (or Dad) from now on!

Our Boat is now an Icebreaker

23 January 2024 | Coinjock
Brian Miller | Overcast but, finally, mild
Day two of our excellent, but abbreviated, adventure! Did 37 miles today, 50 miles done and 85 more to go to get to Belhaven.

So Windflyer is now an Icebreaker - and i don't mean the party variety. We left the dock at AYB this morning at 0900 and there was a thin layer of ice on the water - Holy Moly!! The dockmaster was razzing us yesterday for being so late in our southbound travels telling us they had ice the last few days - ya, right. OK - so he was right.

It was a calm and relatively mild day, but no sunshine so still kind of cold - we bundled up real good as a result so it was fine. Thankfully the temps are going up to 20c for the next few days so i think we are going to anchor out tomorrow evening and rely on the propane fireplace to keep us warm (and a very think duvet and blankets.

It was a pretty straightforward trip (this is the easy part of the ICW) today. There were some narrow channels with very skinny water on the edges but we have the Aquamaps App on an Ipad and have downloaded Bob's Tracks so it was pretty good. That and lots of well maintained navigational markers as well. And, surprisingly, a fair amount of southward bound traffic (all big powerboats but at least our two lonely sailboats weren't the only tardy travellers out here!).

And, finally, the icing on the cake - the Coinjock Marina Restaurant is awesome. This place is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but it has an amazing restaurant and it was pretty full tonight - fabulous food and great service.

On The Move Again

22 January 2024 | American Yacht Basin
Brian Miller | Sunny and cold - High of 7C and Low of -1C
After a very long time, Windflyer is finally on the move again! We settled up our bill at Ocean Yacht Marina in Portsmouth VA and departed this morning at 1130hrs for AYB. We had the full enclosure up and with the sun it was quite toasty in the cockpit.

We have decided, along with our boat buddies, to head to Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC and this is day one of an expected 4 day journey. In the summer time this would be a 2 or 3 day trip with long warm days. But the days are much shorter and it is much colder. We arrived back in Portsmouth back on the 15th with plans, based on the weather forecast at that time to begin the journey last Thursday or Friday, but no dice. Cold, cold, cold and more cold - daily highs of 3 to 7c and down to -7 at night once. Our R/C heating system has been amazing, keeping us nice and toasty all day and evening thankfully.

This was a very short trip, only 12 statute miles (the ICW is measured in statute miles). We had two opening bridges and on very minor lock to go through and as a consequence arrived here at 1415hrs. The first part of the journey was pretty hairy - going through the shipyards and right into direct sunlight. Thankfully we only encountered two barges as it was a quiet shipping day. Once through the first opening bridge we left the traffic and the shipyards behind and the rest of the travelling was nice and rural.

Changes - lots of them!

03 December 2023 | Portsmouth, VA
Brian Miller | Cloudy with some sun - 22 C
Where to start! Although this post is dated 12/03, I am only now writing this (1/30/24) as it has been painful. Our trip has now been paused. There are a few reasons, but the main one is that the manager I had hired to be in the office looking after the professional services of the practice while I was travelling suddenly quit on me at the end of October. No warning, no notice, nothing. Yikes!

So, back to square one - what do we do. I can't work full time and travel on the boat making the miles we want to get to Florida and the Bahamas and back. We considered two choices - one pause the journey and turn this into a two year trip by hiring a new manager for the office. IE leave the boat in more or less where it is for Hurricane season and resume the journey in November. Option 2 - go to North Carolina for the winter and head back home in May.

Ultimately we decided to just winter in NC and return home in the spring as some additional factors have since come into play.

The end of the Chesapeake

27 October 2023 | Hampton, VA
Brian Miller | finally warm - sunny and 25 C
We have been travelling a lot lately (and I am lazy) and so no blog posts for the past while. It is now time to catch up.

We are in Hampton, VA at the bottom of the Chesapeake finally. We will be heading just down the Elizabeth River later today to Portsmouth at AICW mile marker 0. Renate and I will be flying back home on Sunday, me for one week and Renate for about three weeks as we take a pause to come home and attend to business, family and doctors' appointments.

So where have we been on our travels through the Chesapeake?

After a very nice six days in Annapolis to see the big sailboat show and visit friends we left for St. Michaels on the eastern shore. It was a reasonably short motor sail over there. It is a really nice spot, and the journey there was beautiful. After weaving our way through the crab pots coming out of Annapolis and in the shallower parts of the bay, we headed into the Miles river going into St. Michaels. It is relatively deep so not much in the way of crab pots.

The dockmaster was very helpful getting us into our slip which was a side-tie. Many of the marinas in this part of the Chesapeake do not have floating docks and the finger docks are quite short so that you usually have to back in. This is not an issue except that if we want to use the dinghy we have to find a way to get it down and out.

The marina was quite empty, hence we got a nice side tie (didn't have to back into the slip). St. Michaels is a very quaint little town with lots of nice shops and restaurants including a Rum distillery. Needless to say we picked up a few bottles of rum - very delicious!

Best of all, St. Michaels is the home of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. It is a great museum in a beautiful location. A lighthouse from the bay has been re-located here. It was built on pylons and sat in the water. The lighthouse keeper and his family lived on the lighthouse and manned it 24/7.

We stayed 3 days and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. We then left for the long journey back to the western side of the bay to Solomons - another really lovely place. It is at the confluence of several creeks so there are many places to anchor. there are several marinas as well and we stayed in one of them for a number of days waiting out some very gusty winds. This was a great marina with amazing facilities, a 5 star restaurant and a boaters lounge that was awesome. They had a shuttle which took us shopping and the staff were very friendly and accommodating.

It was finally time to head south again to Deltaville, our last stop before Hampton. It was going to be another long day so we set out to leave early - unfortunately it was quite foggy so we had to delay by an hour and then just followed the long line of boats also heading south in the fog. Once we got out into the bay the fog disappeared and Windflyer, along with the 25 other boats who left set out for Deltaville.

We were only in Deltaville for one night and then made the quick trip to Hampton where we promptly crashed our boat trying to back into our slip. Bluewater Marina is on the Hampton River and subject to significant current at times - i did not properly account for this and so we were carried into the bowsprit of an old power boat. No damage to him but we did some to Windflyer - port side aft rail, gate and life lines as well as bent bimini frame and ripped canvas. I was able to repair everything except the stern rail - that will have to wait until we get home in June to be fixed.

Vessel Name: Windflyer
Vessel Make/Model: 2005 Beneteau 423
Hailing Port: Bronte Harbour, Oakville, Canada
Crew: Brian & Renate
Windflyer's Photos - Main
9 Photos
Created 9 October 2023
First stage of the adventure
107 Photos
Created 21 August 2023
Pre-trip pictures
26 Photos
Created 12 February 2023