Oh yeah, Day 1…
We cast off at 0730h and reached the mouth of the Salt Ponds by 0800h. Clipping hard on a NNE heading, with a single reef in the main and the “Iron Jib” at 2500rpm, we pounded into the 4 to 5 foot chop with the lee-boards in the water for most of the day. This ride was wet, the winds ripping the tops of the waves fabric as though it had been weakened by battery acid. These white sprays traveled horizontally, and we strove hard into them. We made great time moving between 5.5 and 7 knots and lay fast in the snug little harbor of Cape Charles 4 hours after exiting the Salt Ponds jetties. I slept in a tight fetal ball for the rest of that day.
On Day 2 the winds and seas were perfect for an 8 hour beat due north from Cape Charles to Reedville, VA. The single-reefed main and full jib served us well for hours. The need to make good speed rode us as we watched the wind ease, slowing us from 5.5 to 6 knots to an average just under 4 knots. Then it died still more. This wouldn’t do, so after 4 hours of lovely sailing, we pulled in the jib and started up ol’ Iron. The main picked up the bits of breeze to add power and grace to our motion through the water. A winding route from big bay to little bay to river brought us past the menhaden ships and processor, around a tenacious, crumbling tower and to the Reedville Marina, where the marina and restaurant both are closed for the season. Just as I snapped the last button on the main sail cover I noticed the first sprinkles of snow… With that northeastern wind always comes a firece cold around these parts and this time she was carring about 4 inches of snow along. We made fast just in time to beat the weather at a nice secure dock where we are now waiting out this vile honker that’s trying to tear us away from the dock (AS I Write This).
The new heater works great!
The wind generator runs all of the on-board systems while underway, beautifully! It’s incredible, it runs the auto helm, the GPS chart-plotter and the depth sounder with 2.6 amps back to the batteries. And that’s with cloudy skies. Day one went by without me even grabbing my camera so doing data calculation in my head was my focus.
…And the bad news, the stove-feeding propane tank’s “Tighten By Hand Only” valve broke off so we can’t cook and the only place to eat in the whole town (I use that word loosely) is a REALLY (to us) expensive steak house.
And still, we’re snug and happy, watching the lines for chafe and keeping warm with both electric and propane heaters going. It would be nice to have the wind die down, but that’s out of our control. As long as we can keep lines on the pier, we’ll stick around. Of course, if the mooring lines part, we’ll be out to sea (or river, I guess).