22 November 2011

Now That's More Like it

Low on water, concerned about fuel, turning our consumables into recyclables (for which we have extremely limited and awkward space) at an alarming rate, we had only one thought: Beaufort by the end of the day--a very long day with only one engine.  50 (statute) miles with one engine meant about a 10+ hour day.  We questioned whether the marina where we planned to stay would even be open by the time we got there.  There was one possible solution.  A last ditch effort, you might say.  The kind of stunt you only pull when you're desperate, which we were.  If it worked, we stood a good chance of making it to Beaufort in time.  If not, there might be yelling and screaming and hurt feelings all around.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Should we choose to take it, an opportunity would present itself when we reached the Neuse River.  We knew it was then or not at all.

"This is why we wanted this boat," I said to Jane.

She agreed.  It was time.

Our approach into the Neuse River put us nose to the wind, so our plan would have to wait until we made the first change in course, about a half-hour away.  I used the time to make the necessary preparations.  Finally, we were headed in the right direction.  Jane, on the helm, turned Joy straight into the wind and we did what we had intended to put off until the last leg of the journey, across the Atlantic to The Bahamas: we put up the sails.  The main got fouled briefly on a lazy bag line but I lowered enough to get clear, Jane turned a few degrees to starboard, I jumped again and up she went.  I loosened the topping lift, then while Jane kept tension on the furling line, I pulled out the genoa.  It worked!  We were sailing (well, motor sailing, anyway)!  The wind was fair.  We went from 5.4 knots by engine alone to 6.4, 6.8, 7.4, 7.5 knots.  We were flying!

Joy's sails up
The next change in course put the wind nearly on the nose again.  We saw a sailboat ahead of on the same bearing bring down its sails.  We thought to do likewise, but we were having fun.  "We could overshoot this turn and stay on this course until the next turn," Jane suggested.  It's longer, but we'll go faster.  I'm just not sure if it'll be a net gain or loss timewise."

"Let's stay on this course for a little while longer." I said.

We did, for a bit, but we were afraid we were losing all the time we'd gained, so we brought in the genoa, took down the mainsail and went back to our somewhat improved because the current was with us, 5.5 knots.  But we'd done it.  Another item to tick off on our "Things You Should Know Before You Go" list.  Hey, better late than never.

Note the palm trees
in front of the white house

The rest of the day was a wonderful series of firsts.  First palm tree sighting, first ever (for me) porpoise sighting in the wild.  Apparently, Taylor Creek on which the marina sits is a favorite haunt of theirs.  And as we were docking, Jane spotted an enormous pink jelly floated lazily by.  Last, but by no means least, my first conch fritter sighting.  Located at the tiki bar at another marina a dinghy ride away, my new mission is to get some before we leave.

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