Thursday, January 11, 2007

Inlet Creek to Charleston, SC

13.3 nm
Wind: NE 15-20 knots
Seas: One-foot chop in harbor
Maximum speed: 6.2 knots
Average speed: 4.3 knots
Latitude: 32°45.50’N
Longitude: 080°00.57’W

It was a very disappointing day today. We didn’t go outside, even though the forecast was for no more than fifteen knots behind us the whole way. That’s been our rubric for weather, no more than fifteen knots, so when I checked the weather this morning I thought we were in the clear.

But when we got outside into the big-ship channel, leading out to the Atlantic, the wind seemed like it was blowing hard, harder than the twelve knots it was supposed to be blowing inside, and the ten it was supposed to be blowing offshore.

It’s at times like that that I really wish we had a wind-meter, so we’d actually know how fast the wind was blowing, rather than just how it feels. We were both nervous, and I don’t know if nervousness is anything to base a decision on. If we had a wind-meter, we’d be able to compare actual wind speeds rather than our perceptions of wind speed.

I know, though, that it’s important to learn to gauge the wind by how it feels, and I also know that we need to trust our instincts. We didn’t feel comfortable—it just didn’t feel right—so we turned around right in the channel and fought the fair tide that we had planned to ride out into the ocean. We’re anchored just past Charleston tonight, in a river that leads to the ocean through a non-Class A inlet, and Karl’s trying to convince me to give it another go tomorrow.

I just don’t know what would be different. How do we know the wind wouldn’t feel as strong? Fifteen knots is what we’re supposed to be comfortable in. I don’t even know how to listen for a weather window anymore. And the thought of running aground in shifting shoals, a hundred feet from breakers, is not a pleasant one. I’m sick of motoring again, as usual, though. I want to put our sails up, see some open water, and feel those miles click by. Florida’s so close.

Still. We’ll probably just motor to Beaufort, SC, and then maybe give it another try. It’s so frustrating and disappointing. We’re comforting ourselves as best we can tonight, with crab bisque made from our leftover crab, which only tastes a little bit like fish-head chowder, and music. There are dolphins frisking around in the harbor near us, and a gorgeous beat-up catamaran, aluminum maybe, that Karl wants to trade Secret in for. I’m not at all convinced, as usual, but it’s still fun looking around this anchorage or mooring field, whatever it is, where we are tonight, and talking boats and plans and schemes.

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