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Holding pattern…in Charleston

Our time is “up” at the Charleston City Marina – and we departed for the adjacent anchorage on the Ashley River — while we wait for the “right” weather window that will allow for northbound travels back to Baltimore, MD.Our plan, is to off shore sail / coastal hop – i.e. a series of day sails that will take us:

Day 1 – from Charleston SC to Georgetown SC
Day 2 – from Georgetown SC to Southport NC
Day 3 – from Southport NC to Wrightsville NC
Day 4 – from Wrightsville NC to Beaufort NC

Once we arrive in Beaufort, we will take the intracoastal waterway to Norfolk. Pat would prefer to sail on the “outside” …but this stretch from Beaufort to Norfolk would be approximately 220 miles — and I’m not sure my skill set is ready to captain the boat – as we each would need to take watches. Unfortunately there are no shipping inlets along this stretch — so day sails are OUT. Soooo, the compromise is to do the ICW from Beaufort to Norfolk VA.

There is one fixed bridge along this stretch of ICW that is recorded as 64′ high – so this could pose potential issues for us (our height clearance is 63.5). We will have to load up with 400 gallons of water…and top off the 90 gallon diesel tank to lower our profile…plus remove all electronics at the top of the mast — before we attempt passage.

Waiting at anchor in Charleston looks something like:
Tuesday, April 1 — Depart the Charleston City Marina. Can we say “goodbye” to boat / dock life? Cat Maudy is located on the tip of the “I” Dock…and I’ll take you thru a guided tour of getting to the boathouse and land…here goes:

A day sail in the Charleston Harbor — accompanied by sailing vessel 5-Star (Hugh & Alison) — allowing us to take pics of each other’s boat.

Wednesday, April 2 — very windy – to 30 knots….our anchor holds…tho we enjoy sleepless nights watching to make sure! Too windy (and winds in the wrong direction) to travel. We wait.

Thursday, April 3 — Up at 5 am. Spend 2 hours analyzing weather info. Light winds…too light…and from the north. We dinghy ashore to the City Marina to enjoy (a) showers and (b) I walk across the peninsula for some final sightseeing, shopping and grocery stock up and (c) a sushi dinner with friends Hugh & Alison at The Boathouse in downtown Charleston. Thinking we might depart Friday

Friday, April 4 — Up at 5am. Analyze weather info. Dense fog in the AM till 11. Very strong winds after that….from the south. Rough seas….turbulent air…strong storms rolling thru. We decide to wait another day. What’s with this weather? Either tornado style winds…or nothing at all. We stay on anchor all day. I’m getting stir crazy.

Saturday, April 5 — still feisty winds…from the south…rough seas. We analyze weather information for hours. Aiii…we’ll keep waiting. Maybe tomorrow we can depart. We dingy to shore for (a) showers and (b) supplies. I head off walking across town to re-stock up on grapefruit, apples and dried fruit. Strong storms approaching.

The dingy motor won’t start. Pat tries a zillion ways to get the motor to start…but nada. She needs service. Oh boy. The Charleston City Marina calls TowBoat US for us…but TowBoat US doesn’t answer the phone. Fortunately, someone at the City Marina had a cell phone# for the local operator of TowBoat US….and we made contact. Kindof odd that they don’t respond to VHF calls or phone calls eh?

Anyway, a TowBoat US captain arrives in 45 minutes– and they tow us about 200 yards to anchored Cat Maudy. The TowBoat US captain tells us a story about how earlier in the day a sailing vessel lost engine power near the jetty entrance to the Charleston Harbor. He said that he refused to help the guy cuz he had already worked 5 hours that day. Hmmm….I try to imagine myself in a dicey situation…and TowBoat US refuses to help you (or answer VHF or phone). Glad to have TowBoat US arrive to tow us to our dinghy…but Yup…I’m a bit conflicted about TowBoat US at the moment.

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