On our last leg(s)?

This morning we headed out from Hampton to begin our last leg north to Annapolis and bid the Hampton YC adios.  Dick and I were going to stop about half way there to sleep but since it’s flat calm we decided to keep going and should arrive in Annapolis around dawn tomorrow.   I didn’t plan on yet another overnight but heck, it’s only one and I am sick of being at sea.  Besides, that means that I can probably go see Rob and his family one day earlier and on to Essex and Brenda sooner too.  Perfect.

Below is a screen shot of the course we took from Ft Pierce to Hampton. By taking this curved course to the west we were able to stay in the middle of the Gulf Stream and maintain a good turn of speed, covering about 220 miles per day over-the-bottom with a through-the-water distance of approximately 160 miles per day.  The current provided a good lift.

The overall distance over the bottom to Hampton was 685 miles and yet we clocked only about 535 miles through the water with the balance being the northward “push” of the Stream.   We were in the Gulf stream all the way from a few miles out of Ft Pierce until we rounded Cape Hatteras so the GS gave us a lift of 150 miles over the course of the trip.    To put it another way, we moved through the water at a speed of about 160 miles a day and the current pushed us an additional 75 miles per day during that same period.   We tied up at the Hampton YC yesterday for one night, in part, because we had to address the misaligned roller foil and fix the rip in the jib.  Trying to do that at anchor, with the boat swinging to the wind, would have been quite challenging.

As I suspected, the problem with the jib furler was that two set screws had backed out of one of the joints which allowed the upper foil section to ride up and pull free of the connector.   As luck (planning?) would have it, I actually had spare set screws in my toolbox so the repair was very simple.

Less simple, was fixing the jib but I was able to smooth things out and put on some temporary repair fabric that should hold for the rest of our run.  Actually, with absolutely no wind the jib will remain furled so there will be no pressure on the repair for this run.   I pains me to have such a nasty tear in my brand new jib.  So much for that “new jib glow”.  I guess it’s about the same as getting all those nasty scratches in my no-longer-new paint job. All, sort of, better now.   This should make our sail maker happy.So, here we are, motoring along in flat calm conditions, making our way north.  Pandora will be at a small marina off of Whitehall bay.  Remarkably, the cost per month is only about 2/3 of the cost of a mooring in CT.   It will be a sort of “coming home” as we kept our “old Pandora” in the same marina, the one with the two head stays in the middle of the photo, way back in 2010.  I hope you are impressed that I was able to find this photo of that spot. It’s been a long time since I’ve kept a boat in the Chesapeake and what I remember most is that it is HOT!

With that in mind, we are exploring the addition of a generator as the simple fact is that it’s just too hot to consider being aboard without a way to run the AC.

Of course, being hot was somehow acceptable back in the day when we were young.   Not so much now.  How our perspective has changed.   That reminds me of someone I spoke to years ago who famously quipped that he would “no longer crew on a boat that was shorter than his age”, another way of saying that small, hot, you name it, discomfort is fine when you are young and we aren’t.

Of course, a new generator is a lot less expensive than a “proper size boat” for my age.  As my dad used to say, “you can talk yourself into anything it you work hard enough at it”.   Dad was right.


And, speaking of hot, our run up from FL was, mostly, uneventful if you set aside the fact that we had to motor much of the way and that it was HOT, HOT, HOT.  I am always amazed by how uncomfortable it is to be aboard a boat that is all buttoned up in the GS, surrounded by 80+ degree water.

We did have wind but it was directly behind us and not quite strong enough to keep us moving so we had to keep the motor running nearly the entire way, racking up a total of over 60 hours.

When we finally rounded Hatteras, and exited the Stream, things cooled down a bit and we had some wind for at least part of the last 100 mile run to the Chesapeake and were able to sail some of the time.

But even that wind eventually died only to pick up to 20+ for the last 6 hours as we made our way past the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel and into Hampton.   By the time we passed the bridge, against a strong 2kt outbound current of course, we were motorsailing on  a close reach at 10kts so our speed over the bottom was respectable.

With a strong wind against the current, things became quite choppy and provide perfect conditions for the navy to practice maneuvers in their stealth gunboats that roared past us time after time. Of course, in the time of a pandemic, they blasted along while keeping an appropriate social distance.  I would LOVE, LOVE a chance to get a ride on one of these.  What a rush that would be…

Nearby Norfolk has a huge military presence and there was a constant parade of cool stuff in the air and on the water.  And, who doesn’t love the USCG patrol boats. They say that form should follow function and this dredge is a perfect example of that.  No way to imagine the ship being used for anything but dredging up silt and sand.  I spoke to the captain who said that they just “wanted to make the world a better place”.

If the depth of the channel is important to you than he’s doing his job.  I expect that the Navy would agree. So, about the bow of the ship.  If form follows function, I have no idea what the what the function of this form is. So, here we are, still motoring along, making our way north, the last leg of our trip, for the moment, hopefully for a more than a few moments.

For me, I’ve had about enough of passage making for a while and I do feel like I am on my last leg but hopefully, not on my last legs.

Get me home!

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