Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anatomy of a "Friendly" Boat Delivery Schedule.

St. Augustine FL
2010 10 31

Leaving Halifax on September 26  our  goal was to  get Meredith to Vero Beach without delay.

Here is a summary of how it went:

The Trip:            Halifax, NS to St. Augustine, FL
Distance Travelled:  1,250 nm 
Time taken:          33 days
Fuel Consumed:       113 gallons including fuel burned topping 
                     up batteries when at anchor
Bad Weather Layover: 5 days: 2 days in Port Washington, 
                     3 days in New Bedford
Waiting for Weather: 3 days in Beaufort
Time Lost Relaxing:  8 days: 1 day in Annapolis for boat show, 
                             4 days in Hampton VA, 
                             1 day in Elizabeth City, 
                             1 day in Charleston, 
                             1 day in Beaufort
Days on the ICW:    4 days: 3 days to circumvent Cape Hatteras & 
                            1 day from Charleston to Beaufort

There are several reasons for our decision to "run" south.  Simply put  we grow bored with the route and we were looking for better weather than we had enjoyed in our previous 3 trips.

Weather in our experience is cold and unpleasant on the waterway from Cape May to Florida anytime after October.

The waterway is demanding.  You must actively helm the boat every minute you are moving.  This becomes gruelling.  If you run offshore you are freed from the helm, a major benefit.

The waterway is silting in again.  We hear from friends that everthing from Camp Lejeune to Beaufort is dangerous.  We have reports of experienced sailors running aground in mid channel at high tide. 

Canadians must also face Homeland Security Department issues and be prepared to be boarded.  We now know a dozen Canadian boats that have been boarded, one twice.  The CBP requirement that we call in our position and report all persons on board and their passport numbers everytime we drop hook is wearing.  It is like wearing a "Star of David" armband so good citizens know we are foreign and dangerous and not to be trusted.  Any American would be outraged if treated this way in a foreign country.

The Budget Committee and I sailed Yarmouth to New Bedford, stopping for a day of rest and to wait out a forecast storm.  This storm hit and we waited 3 days for it to clear. 

Next we made for Port 'Washington on Long Island where we stayed on a mooring ball for 2 more days waiting out continuing storms.

Then we made it nonstop to Chesapeake City MD.  We had hoped to run New Jersey and continue unstopped all the way to Norfolk.  The forecast at Cape May was adverse and Utsch's Marina, while very nice, is $1.75 a foot per day.  We elected to sail up the Delaware and down the Chesapeake.  This cost nothing out of pocket.  There were boats we wanted to meet in Annapolis and a couple of things we needed at the boat show.

Annapolis was a one day event.  We pulled in Thursday evening and left Saturday at dawn.

At Norfolk we always run inside on the ICW.  The alternative is Cape Hatteras and this Cape, one of the "Three Great Capes" of the world is daunting.  To do this we run to the Dismal Swamp, spending a night at Elizabeth City continuing south past Oriental, SC and emerging at Beaufort NC.

Reaching Beaufort NC the weather window was not long term so we travelled to Charleston SC only.  Last year we made our way direct from Cape Canaveral to Beaufort NC but chose not to reverse the process this year as the forecast was full of south wind and big waves against us.

From Charleston SC we travelled inside to Beaufort, SC and waited for the south winds to clear as a cold front moved in.  Weather in place we left Beaufort SC at Port Royal Inlet and travelled south to St. Augustine FL. 

We consider ourselves arrived.  One day in St. Augustine and we leave tomorrow.  Winds are back in the North and we will be in Vero Beach in 30 hours or so.

That is it.  What we expect will be our last transit of the Seaboard.  A month from beginning to end.  Had we been on a delivery we would have been expected to make the trip in 14 days or less.  That is a lot of bad weather to travel in.  It would also be exhausting.  We are exhausted as it is.

Once we get to Vero  we rest, do boat work, meet friends and party.  Home for Christmas we leave first of the year for St. Marten/Sind Maarten. 

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