1 sailboat, 8 days, 3 crew, 868 nm ... Whew! What a Delivery!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

S/V Barefoot Helm Station

S/V Barefoot
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help deliver "Barefoot," a 1994 45' Morgan Catalina Capri from Islamorada, Fl to River Dunes, North Carolina. The boat had once belonged to a Captain friend who had recently lost his battle with cancer and was being delivered to another good friend up North.
1st nights sunset, northern Key Largo.
Our journey started out smooth sailing.... broad reach, with almost flat waters, less then 5 knots of wind.... keeping us at a steady 6 knots as we motor-sailed our way north. Two days later, being underway around the clock keeping a rotation of "captaining" 3 hours on, 6 hours off, we made our way to Cape Canaveral where we refueled, topped off our water, and had a hot breakfast ashore. We pulled into the fuel dock at 2am and had to wait until morning when the fuel attendant arrived / fuel dock opened at 8am.
Dredging operation at 2am we passed in the channel going into Cape Canaveral.

Cruise ship docked at Cape Canaveral.

We were once again underway, with the hopes of heading north, going off shore by about 85 nm to catch a ride on the gulf stream to increase our speed so we would arrive in North Carolina within the next 3 days...... as soon as we cleared the channel and were in open waters, raised the main sail, and *whoosh* main sail down. 

Mainsail head webbing broke loose while undersail
Our mainsail had an in-mast furling system, and the head of the sail had eventually worked itself loose, where it had cut the webbing over time. We decided to head back to shore to take a chance at getting the sail fixed even though we planned to motor / motor sail most of the way north to make good time, wanted a backup to be able to use all of our sails if necessary......... $100.00 and 8 hours later we were once again underway, leaving the dock at 8pm to continue on our journey. 
View from my offshore 4am shift.

In the middle of our offshore sailing, the weather shifted unpredictably out of the north. It created an extremely rough ride that cut our speed down to less then 2 knots (north flowing gulf stream + north wind = horrible waves in opposition). At one point we calculated an 18 foot roller that went by us. With that we decided to head straight west towards the nearest shore, our fuel consumption was starting to get too close for comfort. Our nearest entrance ended up being Cape Fear in South Carolina, that of course, we had to hit at night (2am) due to our "awesome" timing. We had all hands on deck with gps, charts, and binoculars galore!

Waves starting to pick up with the sunrise.
After heading towards shore, we continued our trip North in the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway). With this we could avoid the bad weather while still making fairly good time. The only hassles were the waits for bridge openings and finding anchorages at night. There were too many obstacles (floating debris, small personal vessels, etc to be able to safely travel at night.
Passing through a bridge in the Carolina's.
Overall it took us 8 days to travel 868 nm towards North Carolina. It was a lot of fun, a lot of lack of sleep, cold at times, and an overall great experience. It was the farthest I had sailed in a single trip and has given me the bug to hurry up the work on my own little boat to go cruising just for fun / exploring the ICW up north.

S/V Barefoot docked at River Dunes, NC.

S/V Barefoot entering the Harbor at River Dunes.

River Dunes.

Meet the Delivery Crew: Capt. Jon, Wayne, and Capt. Stephanie.

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