At the rate we had been travelling, I figured it would be another 5 days before we would arrive at our destination. That wasn't acceptable, so we rose early and headed out immediately. Surprisingly we didn't have any problems this day. It was an uneventful trip and we decided to push on. We were up the ICW a ways before I realized that there was a long stretch where there are no places to stop, so rather than stop early, we'd keep going. I figured that with 4 able bodied seamen and a radar we should be able to find our way after dark. I was right but not without some trepidation. Phil has since suggested I couldn't make up my mind whether I wanted the spot light on or off. What I wanted was the light to illuminate the signs but not to be swept across the bow, mast, rigging and sails, effectively killing my night vision and blinding me. Somehow we survived the night with out going aground, even though I bumped a couple of times trying to feel my way into small anchorages. I gave up on anchoring until we got to the anchorage in front of the fort in St. Augustine at about 0100 am Friday. We anchored on the north side of the bridge in the photo shot the next morning.
We left St. Augustine, even though I'd liked to have spent more time there. I had anticipated that this trip would include time to tour some of the sights, but that wasn't to be. This is probably the best day of the trip. At least the most uneventful. We simply motored up the ICW all day and ended up at Amelia Island where we stopped at a marina for the night. I think we stayed at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin, but I don't remember for sure and my notes are on the boat. I know it wasn't Fernandina Harbor Marina. We ran across a very nice bunch of people here, too. They have a van that they let transients use after hours. We used it to buy more beer and supplies. I can't figure out where all the beer is going . Very nice showers here.
We were up early and drifted over to the fuel dock. I don't have any fuel gauges so I don't know how much fuel I'm burning nor how much I've got, so I decided to put a bit more in just to be safe. While at the fuel dock we had the dock hand snap our picture. In the first picture, you'll find Stan and Gary in the back, with Phil and Jim in the front. We departed the marina and got about half way out to the ICW when I glanced at the temperature gauge. It was rapidly advancing to the peg so I immediately shut the engine down and we drifted to a stop. The channel was very narrow and the path back was not conducive to sailing. We put up a sail so we'd have some propulsion and steerage. Stan stuck his head in the engine room and reported that a hose clamp had abandoned its post and that we didn't have any fresh water coolant any more. I got the boat turned around and Stan jumped into the dink. We lashed the dink up to the side of the boat to act like a tug. It's not something I'd recommend doing for a long ways, especially with a dink with a motor that only runs at full choke and then only for a brief time. Eventually we made a couple of turns and pulled along side of a dock near the marina. We went in and bought some antifreeze and other supplies, including a rebuild kit for the carb. It never got put in before the OB was deep sixed by my neighbor at the dock in St. Simon Island.
So with new antifreeze and a new hose clamp, we're ready to try again. This time we made it to the ICW and turned north. It was another glorious day. One thing I'll say for the trip, we had absolutely the best weather you could have asked for. Cool enough at night to sleep well, warm enough during the day to be quite comfortable and a breeze from the right direction all the time. I just wish I wasn't so stressed to have enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to helping someone else with a delivery so I can relax.
After the overheating episode, I was keeping a close eye on the gauges. All of a sudden the voltmeter took a nosedive. I asked Stan to again visit the engine room and he came back to report that a wire had broken off of the alternator. We stopped the engine, put up the main and drifted slowly northward. We determined that the non-marine wire that had just been clamped onto a terminal had rotted off. Fortunately there was good wire left and we were able to reuse the terminal. Stan and/or Phil effected the repair and we started motoring again.
All along the way we'd been contemplating going outside for a while, but I didn't trust the boat and didn't want to get stuck out in the ocean with all of the problems we were having. At St Mary's we decided to risk it and slipped out into the great Atlantic to enjoy some real sailing. This boat came equipped with a genaker sail and since the genoa was unusable, the wind was off of our stern and the air was light, we decided to see how it worked. Boy, did it work! As you can see, it was a delightful run. We had a ball, the boat sails like a dream and we were now big time sailors! In order to get the pictures, Stan and Phil set out in our dink with the balky motor. Phil wasn't too interested but we cajoled him into it since he had the camera. After they got the pictures they tried to return to the boat. It was a bit of a struggle. I couldn't slow down much more than I was already going. It's hard to slow down with the genaker up. They were having trouble keeping the motor going, so it took a while for us to retrieve them. Once they got near the boat, poor Phil thought they were doomed when Stan turned into the boat and it looked like Wind Angel was going to run them over, but everyone made it back on board successfully. I don't think Phil realized even if there was a collision that the inflatable would have just bounced off the side.
The genaker is a beautiful sail. Both from a visual and a performance vantage. It was suprisingly easy to raise and lower. This was the fitting end to a week filled with trial and success. I never thought it would be this hard. Lesson's learned. Lighten up. Carry spare parts. Carry more tools. Live without a few things for a while. Life is short, go for it. Above all, be happy!
We finally made it into the marina at St Simons. The tide was coming in as we entered and the tides are notorious. In this area. Spring tide ranges of 9 feet and currents at flood tide of 5-6 knots. The current and wind were pushing us away from the finger dock and into the main dock. It took superhuman strength and the will of the crew to secure Wind Angel into its new berth. Three people pulling on a line wouldn't do anything except arrest the movement of the boat. I had them secure another line to the piling and I used the jib winch to drag her over. This isn't a place I'd recommend anyone keep a boat that wants to use it. It is way too difficult to get boats in or out most of the time and impossible at times. There is no way that a crew of two could ever do it without risking life, limb and other boats.