Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beaufort, NC to Charleston, SC a tale of dolphins and spinnakers.

Sailing is a rollercoaster. You can be scared, bored, happy, seasick, amazed and disappointed all within a 30ft space over the course of only a few hours. Allyson and I have been wanting to do a longer passage for awhile and we felt the weather was right to sail from Beaufort, NC to Charleston, SC about 200nm. Light winds were forecast for 3 days out of the north and southeast so we decided to go for it. We spent a lot of time putting the spinnaker up and taking it down, watching the sails flap with not enough wind to fill them, starting the engine, motorsailing, turning off the motor and raising the spinnaker again. Overall we probably motored 50% of the time and sailed the other half (about 20hrs of each). Highlights of the passage were looking into crystal clear blue water, jumping off of the bow while the boat was moving at a blistering 2 kts and picking up the lifesling we had cleated off at the stern. Watching dolphins swim at our bow. Getting a constant 8 hours of wind when we were able to let the windvane steer us through the night while we did watches. Lowlights were mostly associated watching the wind die out and turning on the engine for hours at a time. Overall we were pleased with the passage and will do another one again... hopefully with a little more wind.
We were going so slow the dolphins needed to make things more interesting by thrashing around at the bow splashing the anchor. 
Taking a short break from the thrashing
...and back at it again
The first pod of dolphins had some playful youngsters who were entertained by the cedar plug we were trolling behind us. Two of them decided to rocket out of the water about 15ft above the lure while laughing at our attempts to attract dinner to our boat. I didn't get a shot of that, but it was cool enough that had went down to wake Allyson up... of course the dolphins took off as soon as she came up on deck. 
Glassy seas at dawn, very calm except for the thumpthumpthumpthump of the engine
The color of the water was an unbelievable blue... note the spinnaker in the reflection, happily filled at this moment.

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