A Day of Sailing # 40

Friday, May 24

There was much excitement in the air that morning. The winds were coming from the north and we were heading out into the Atlantic to do some sailing.

We reached the ocean about noon and by 12:50 we had the sails up and the engines shut down. We were going about 5 knots. Capt. Ralph put garbage bags over the engines to protect them from the splashing water.

We decided to put up the screecher (the big light air genoa like headsail) to see if we could go even faster. We steered a heading towards Charleston, NC and were making 8 knots.

Arlene made tuna sandwiches for us.

At 1:25 we were in a close reach and we adjusted the screecher. We were right on course going 6 knots.

Winds were 12.5 knots with 17 knots apparent wind.

Stephen put out his trolling line in anticipation of catching the big one. We started going 8 knots.


At 1:40 the winds picked up and we took the. screecher down. We learned that the trick to taking down the screecher is to go until a broad reach, After its down we went back to our course, a close haul at this point.

At 1:50 we found ourselves right on course going 7 knots. This would change to a beam reach by 2:00 going right on course to Charleston at 7 knots. This would continue for the remainder of the day.

After a wonderful tuna fish sandwich lunch Franci and Arlene went down for naps so as to be rested when it came time for their watch. The naps were interrupted by lots of commotion when Stephen caught a fish. It turned out to be a black skipjack, not so good for eating but okay for baitfish. Stephen cut a few pieces off hoping to use it to lure the Mahi Mahi or tuna.

Arlene came on watch around 3 o'clock. Ralph went down for a nap. About 5:30 there was action on Stephen's line. Sure enough, it was the big one. He gave it a real good fight but, alas, the fish got away.

At 6 o'clock Franci took the helm. We were still making 7 knots and we were beginning to see the traffic going in and out of the busy Charleston harbor. We were glad to be on the other side before sunset. Stephen took the helm at 7:30 a.m.

It was shortly after this that things began to go wrong, Close to sunset Franci decided to take a photo of the sun going down across the ocean. She forgot the first rule of sailing on the ocean, “one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself”. The moment she put both hands on the camera, she went airborne. She was thrown from one side of the cockpit to other in mere moments and landed very hard against the garbage can which Ralph had installed on the left side of the companionway opening. Fortunately it stopped her from catapulting through the companionway opening into the galley below. That could have been really bad. As it was she was bruised and hurting. Shortly thereafter she had to excuse herself and go below for some rest,

Soon after that we had trouble with the auto pilot and went back on manual steering again. Nonetheless the sailing went on through the night. We were able to get the auto going again the following day. The moon was huge and it was a beautiful night to be sailing.

Unfortunately, Franci was not getting any rest down below because the pain from her tumble would not stop. At 4 a.m, she announced that she wanted to go to the emergency room to confirm that she was only bruised and that nothing was broken, Ralph and Stephen turned the boat to the right and took off for Georgia. Six and a half hours later we arrived in Thunderbolt, Georgia.

Stephen and Franci went to Memorial Hospital in the Savannah area. We report the nicest emergency care we've ever experienced, The staff was friendly, sympathetic and helpful. X-rays were taken and we were relieved to know that it was indeed only bruises, Pain medication was administered and prescribed and the day got better immediately,

Ralph and Alene, after a well deserved nap, started work on repairing the auto pilot. All of us were able to take showers and do laundry as well as pick up a few items at the store. We had a fun dinner at a local restaurant named Tubby's, one if our favorite activities, and enjoyed a restful night's sleep. Imagine our surprise when the folks at Tubby's poured Ralph and Stephen's wine in “to go” cups after the cab showed up sooner than expected. Stephen even found a great seafood restaurant and bought us boiled shrimp we would eat the next day on our journey across Georgia.

It was decided to go back into the canal again for a day or two giving Franci a little time to recover. Hopefully, we'll be back in the ocean sailing again in a few days. Our next big destination is Fort Pierce, FL where we will meet up with the parts to fix the leaky potty.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen




On to South Carolina #39

Thursday, May 23

It was raining when we left Wrightsville Beach at 5:45 a.m. We had made many preparations expecting mosquitos (put up screens), but what actually happened in the middle of the night was that it rained. We got up and scrambled to close hatches and eisenglass.

Also that morning the aroma from the potty area was getting worse and the leak in the pump would have to be addressed soon. Ralph would have the opportunity to put on his plummer's hat today.

By 7 a.m. the sun came out and began to dry things up. We entered Cape Fear River and began the day with a great breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast with oranges and tomatoes.


After breakfast Ralph refueled the engines. Stephen assisted and Arlene held down the helm. By 9 a.m. Ralph was at work dismantling the leaking pump.


Franci took of the helm and Ralph began work on the leaky pump in head.

Cape Fear River was a ship channel at this point. We saw a barge and large tanker.

We saw pelicans.

Sttephen got action on his trolling rod…..a stick fish.

Arlene helped navigate.

A 9:30 we turned out of the ship channel and into the ICW canal at Southpoint, a very charming community. We especially liked Southpoint because they had lots of sailboats in their marina, a relief after having been several days in areas where powerboats rule.


We passed under several new bridges and by another community called St James, once again with plenty of sailboats. There were still plenty of homes with private docks along the canal, but they were not as opulent as in the Wrightsville Beach area.

We were delighted to see sailboats again after several days in areas where powerboats rule.

By 11 a.m, Stephen took over the helm, Arlene was still helping to navigate. She makes a wonderful assistant. Ralph was still busy at work, by this time trying to reinstall the potty pump. He found this to be the most difficult part and he wrestled with this until noon when he finally reinstalled it in a slightly different angle. The good news was, however, that it worked. We had a head again. Thank you, Ralph.

Stephen got in a little computer time.

By then it was time for lunch…..deli style sandwiches with everything we could find in them.

We passed under the Holden Beach Bridge. We saw shrimp boats and a seafood restaurant at the Holden Beach Marina.


This one's a fixer upper for sure.

Soon we were at Little River where we left North Carolina behind. We were still seeing lots of houses and private docks along the way. We saw several under construction and were impressed with how solid they are built. The are all solid plywood underneath, made to withstand hurricanes no doubt. Three story houses are the most common, with the first floor probably being used as a buffer for storm surges.


We're not sure what these guys are catching along the banks.

In the afternoon the scenery would change a little. There were fewer houses along the canal and we began to see shores covered in shells and shores with rocks.

Arlene called this a boatel.

About 3 o'clock it began to rain again. It was still raining when we passed under the Barefoot Landing Bridge. This was once again a swing bridge but they opened for us upon request, no need to wait. Barefoot Landing is a tourist community that caters to golfers. They have a number of large hotels, at least a dozen golf courses and an area called the Golden Strand with numerous restaurants, bars, stores and live music.

By 5:30 we were racing to make the 6:15 opening if the Socasbe Bridge. After that it was only 20 minutes to our final destination, the Osprey Marina.

The Osprey Marina is a charming little marina, once again a place that Ralph knew about. He has stayed there many times. Although in the guides it says that they do not have transient docks, Ralph called ahead and and they found a spot for us at the end of one if their docks. It was pouring down rain as we docked. They were very welcoming and gave us a little goody bag with crackers, jelly, sweet rolls, pens and note paper, a keychain and a little packet with shampoo, lotion and handy wipes. Their showers had marvelous water pressure, the best shower we've experienced in years. There were two garbage cans on every dock, very convenient. There's even a nearby Italian Restaurant that will come pick you up and return you to your boat after dinner.


This night we chose to have our own Italian dinner on the boat. Arlene had already cooked us Italian sausage with tomato and pesto sauce, zuchinis and mushrooms served over noodles. It was delicious and we got to adorn it with parmesan cheese and some leaves from our pet basil plant.

In the morning there was a beautiful sunrise. Things would soon dry up.

Stephen tried a little fishing.

The Maccamaw River was deserted and peaceful. We felt like we might see Hiawatha pull up in a canoe at any moment.

Ralph tried one more idea for improving the potty repair.

Arlene cooked breakfast.

After a great oatmeal breakfast Stephen gave Arlene a few pointers on ukelele.

We were on our way to Georgetown, SC to get fuel, ice and any supplies we might want for the next couple of days. After that, back into the Atlantic Ocean for a couple of days of sailing hopefully. In a couple of days we will be somewhere in Florida. Hooray.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen