Saturday, January 13, 2007

Charleston to South Edisto River, SC

31.6 nm
Wind: SE 5-10 knots
Maximum speed: 6.8 knots (with current)
Average speed: 4.4 knots
Latitude: 32°33.39’N
Longitude: 080°25.05’W

We spent this evening planning our route to the Bahamas and beyond. I think we might be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, but it’s too tempting. We have brand spanking new guidebooks, and they just sit on the shelf until we peruse them and make plans for months from now, when we all know that the worst thing the two of us are good at is planning.

It is a little frustrating, though, because already I feel the time crunch of hurricane season. Hurricane season starts in June, and we’re supposed to be in Trinidad by then, right on the edge of Venezuela. The Bahamas alone are 700 miles long, and I have no idea how long the rest of the string of islands are. Long. We have to have money and weather to get all the way down there, and the whole way is to windward, directly in the face of the Caribbean trade winds.

And we have friends in Florida we have to visit, which will probably take us weeks. My parents are supposed to come for a visit at some point, and my brother and sister might fly to the Bahamas to visit. I feel like I’m on the trail again, with this October 15 deadline hanging over my head. I hate deadlines. I hate them. I want to explore every little last island that we’re within a hundred miles of. What happened to nothing in the world but love and time? Nothing in the world but love and time and hurricanes, I guess.

To make matters worse, we’ve been attacked by mosquitoes the last two nights. Mosquitoes? In January? It makes no sense. Still, last night, after watching the sunset, when we turned the lights on the ceiling of the boat looked like something from a horror movie, a mosquito breeding ground. The white was polka-dotted with mosquitoes. It was like that scene from Alien. Tonight, when we anchored, they started swarming again, and even though it’s a gorgeous night we’ve had the boat completely sealed up since about five.

I shouldn’t complain. I know. Everything’s beautiful. We’re at a gorgeous anchorage, with no civilization in sight, egrets and pelicans in the water, if only I could see any of it. I just have to keep reminding myself of our original goal—to get to Connecticut, and then we’d see from there. So now, our goal is—get to Georgia, and then we’ll see from there. If we have to haul the boat and get jobs somewhere during hurricane season, I guess we’ll just do what we have to.


Anonymous said...

Hey there guys.
So glad to know that you're both doing fine..been wondering about you a little, checking in on your blog daily to see where you are..and up until today there wasnt' any sign of you. But by the way things sound it seems that you're both doing great. I do hope that you make it to the Bahamas before June. I don't think that you'll have to worry about that, once you start "sailing" I think that you'll be Bahama bound. Keep your eye on the prize so to speak and you'll make your goal in no time.
Hope to talk to you later. Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

M and K

As a fellow R-33 owner I have been watching your progress. I have even charted your progress on my garmin charts for the East Coast. I live on the opposite side of the country, Washington so this has been an extremely informative session on the ICW. I sure would like to hear more about the places you visit/pass thru.

I would also like to hear about your stores and storage plan. How did you lose all your rice to weevils? What could have prevented that stroke of bad fortune? How about some pics of the interior. Would like to see how you have managed the space, galley, nav station and quarter berth.

On another note, you need to figure out how to get that main reefed in 5 minutes, in the dark. Don't worry about the mid boom lashings. Just get the forward reef point tied down to the goose neck and then get the leech reef point tied down to the boom. those are the most important. You can worry about the rest after the boat is under conrtol. A lot of boats with jiffy reefing sail for hours with just those 2 points secure. I take it you havn't figured out jiffy reefing yet. If you could post some pics of your deck and the goose neck I could give you some pointers. It looks like you have 3 clutches on the port side of the cabin top. How many do you have on the starboard side. What are they used for. My guess is that if you have a couple of halyards and an outhaul and cunningham, you may have an extra or two for at least a first jiffy reefing line. How many sets of reef points do you have. I hope you have at least 2.

It's too bad you stayted in port when you had a 15 knot downwind leg. What an absoutely wonderful sail you would have had. you couldnt ask for better conditions to try out your sailing skills. If it gets uncomfortable, drop the main and sail under jib alone, furl it in out out based on your level of comfort.

Any way hope I can help you. good luck in your travels, and fair winds on your quarter.


LeeAnne said...

happy travels, guys!! Glad to know you're still moving.

Love, Knuckles and Underhill

Melissa said...

Thanks for all the comments--I was beginning to feel like I was pouring my heart out into the void. Glad to hear from all of you.

It's great to get pointers from fellow R-33 owners. We basically don't have a very good storage plan for our dry goods. I have staples--flour, yeast, sugar, salt--in glass, but the rice was just in individual pound plastic packages. I think the weevils were already in the brown rice--that's all I can think. I think we've isolated the problem, hopefully it won't spread, but I know that weevils are a fact of life in the tropics.

We're going to try to pick up one-gallon glass jars and try to keep all of our dry goods in glass as much as possible.

We also need to get the reefing down pat. That's not my strong suit, as you know if you've been reading, and though I try to coax Karl into getting it figured out with his more intuitive intelligence, I'm not sure we've made it a high enough priority. I know it has definitely kept us from sailing on more than one occasion. We have the tall-rigged R33, which means our mainsail is enormous and easily overpowers the boat.

We have figured out the jiffy reefing, more or less--we found an alternate line that works. But it's really just a matter of practice. Our boat was set up for single-handed racing, so we have three clutches on the starboard side too (one broken), and we do have a cunningham.

Anyway, thanks for the tips. I have a bunch of pictures to post, but blogger is really not very good for picture posting, so I'm trying to get a Flickr account set up. It's hard when internet access is spotty! But I'll make an effort to get some pictures of the interior set up.

Thanks again,

PS. Good to hear from old AT friends, too! Hi Knuckles and Underhill!

Dave P. said...

Karl and Melissa,

There are many here on the Cape following your journey. Sounds like you are doing great, you must be in Fla. by now. Are you headed for the Keys?

Dave P.

"A tourist remains an outsider throughout his vist; but a sailor is part of the local scene the moment he arrives."

Anonymous said...

Hey Melissa and Karl,

I'm finally home. I can't wait to talk with you on the phone. The sailing comments by Dave were really interesting. What's a Cunningham?

Call when you have a chance,


Anonymous said...

If anyone speaks to M and K would you let them know that the phone is three days out of warranty as of 1/26/07 but if they get to a verizon service center asap they still might get service .

thanks ' Sam T

Anonymous said...

M & K

Sorry, but I couldn’t help my self here is my take

Jiffy reefing in a jiffy

I still am not sure how sailboat savvy you are so forgive me if I seem a little redundant here. It’s important that you get this right.

The best arrangement is to have two sets of reef points rigged with lines that loop from the boom, up thru the aft-most reef points, back to a block on the boom directly below or slightly aft of the reef point in the reefed configuration. You want some aftward tension to keep the sail flat when reefed. (I have mine rigged like this with first reef line on the starboard side of the boom and the second on the port side.) These lines are then lead forward along the boom thru a couple of pad eyes to another block on the boom near the mast, to a block on the mast, directly down to a block on the deck, thru a deck organizer and back to the clutch. Use adjacent clutches for reef 1 and reef 2. Now take your Cunningham line and re-reoute it thru the first reef point closest to the mast.and back to the Cunningham clutch. Bingo, you now have jiffy reefing for the first reef. Second reef only requires a change in the old Cunningham line from the first to the second reef eye.

Now the process:
As the wind velocity increases you want to gradually flatten the main. Use the out haul. As the wind picks up more, move the traveler to the high side of the boat, sheet the main in until it isn’t being luffed by the jib. With the traveler to the high side this puts a lot of twist in the top of the sail, which as you get strong wind puffs will twist off even more and spill from the top of the sail, which is exactly what you want, keep the center of effort of the main as low as possible. Keep checking the outhaul, if you are getting lots of weather helm (boat rounds up into the wind in the puffs), or you have to constantly steer downwind to maintain course make sure the main is as flat as you can get it.

Furl the jib to about 100 or 110%. Roughly even with the mast. (A 100% jib has a foot dimension equal to the disrance from the forestay to the mast.)

Next step is to put the first reef in the main
Steer away from the wind a little, 5 or 10 degrees will be plenty. Re-trim the jib, you want to keep it driving so you have good steerage way and steady boat motion..
Now slack the main until it luffs.
Drop the halyard until the forward reef point is down to the boom,
Cinch the Cunningham and tie it off or close the clutch.

Cinch the aft reef point. If you don’t have it rigged back to the cabin top, hang a piece of line from the eye that is long enough to reach from the cockpit.. Then cinch it down and tie it off.


Use square knots not grannys or they will come loose.
(left over right under and thru, right over left under and thru.)_

Now that you have the reef points on both ends of the sail tied down, Double check that the cunningham is secure, you will really load it up when you hoist the main.
Now hoist the halyard up until the luff (leading edge) of the main is tight..

Steer to the original course and re-trim the Jib first and then the main.

Once the boat is back on course and has a greatly reduced angle of heel it will be easier and safer to tie down the rest of the reef points. You will not have to reach out over the water to get them tied off.

One thing you must never forget. Always have one hand on the boat. You never know when the next rouge wave will hit.

Remember this really easy method of trimming the sails. If this is old news then I apologize but I want you to be successful and enjoy sailing, even when the wind picks up.

Let the jib out until it luffs, sheet in slightly, do the same with the main. Now you look like sailors. If you have tell tales that makes it even easier, when the tell tale on the back of the sail isn’t straight back, you can head up into the wind more. If the tell tale on the inside isn’t straight, fall off or head away from the wind.

Just in case you are wondering, I have been sailing since I was a kid. I have sailed and raced everything from dinghies, to day sailors to windsurfers to blue water racing on a 70 foot ULDB (Ultra light displacement boat). I have raced too Hawaii from San Francisco twice on a 43 footer. Our boat was first in class both times.

Both my wife and I are enjoying your adventure especially since we will be joining the cruising ranks in a couple of years.

Cheers and may you always have favorable winds on your quarter.