We tied up to the
dock in Urbanna Harbor, VA at 2230 last night from Ft Lauderdale.
It was quite a trip. As always things happened we didn't expect,
but that's why we go on these adventures.
After working three days on Davids new purchase of his 1977 Cal
47 foot ketch, we thought we were sea ready. We noticed a smell
like hot anti-freeze as we motored the hour long ride down the
river to the ocean. We noticed the heat gage a bit hot but figured
it would calm down, after all the engine hadn't run in three years
and we thought after pulling the needed maintenance it just needed
to run for awhile.
As soon as we got to sea we raised sail and cut the engine, headed
north at 6 knots in a 10 knot breeze, The boat handle very well
and we were all very pleased.
As we got into the Gulf Stream our speed picked up to 8 knots.
After my watch I hit the sack and when I woke up we were becalmed
and some how got east of the Gulf Stream. We started the engine
and it instantly over heated. There we sat for the next seven
hours waiting for any kind of breeze. We also found we were in
some wierd current pushing us out to sea and in behind the Bahamas.
By noon a small breeze blowing from the south started up and we
were back heading north. We weren't to far off our rhumline but
weren't in the Gulf Steam only doing 4 or 5 knots. We started
sailing westerly looking for the Gulf Stream. With no engine this
could take awhile. We finally hit the Gulf Stream sometime the
next afternoon and the wind also freashened from the south to
about 35 knots. We were moving North at 11 to 12 knots. We were
way over powered so tried to get the main down and sail on mizzen
and head sail only. Main got stuck. No matter what we tried we
couldn't get it down. We doused the head sail, sailing on Main
and mizzen but was difficult to steer, seas were getting very
rough plus it was dark and the spreader lights weren't working.
After about two hours working in the dark, we finally figured
one of the lazy jacks got caught in the track and was jambing
the main. We had to really yard on the lazy jack to get it free,
when we did the main came right down and we re-set the headsail
and off we went.
Me with the Cal 47
The next morning as we were hauling
at 11-12 knots, when we found we were out of fresh water. The
fresh water tank had some kind of leak and it went into the bilge
and got pumped out. We had three one gallon jugs of water that
was rationed to four guys that had to last three days until we
got to the Chesepeake.
The next night we must of been on the edge of the Gulf Stream
as we got caught in some very confused seas cause by contrary
eddies. Four and five foot seas were just coming and going from
no where. It was very rough and confused, took us about an hour
to sail through it.
Next day forecast called for heavy thunderstorms and Northeast
winds at Cape Hatteras. That's right where we were going to be
so the Captain changed course for Morehead City. Captain didn't
want to try and get around Hatteras in rough seas with no engine.
Took us all day to sail there from the Gulf Steam and as we got
close we had to call Seatow to meet us at the entrance and they
towed us to the municiple dock at Beaufort NC. We all took showers
and went out to dinner, felt really great after almost four days
The next day it was determined that the problem was a faulty radiator
cap. We got a new one, fixed the water tank and started up the
intercoastal. Didn't get far when the engine overheated again.
Pulled into Jarret's Marina. Two days there while we found that
the heat exchanger was shot. Had to find a new one and change
it. Off again, the temp held for awhile but over heated again
by the time we got to the Pamlico Sound. We sailed through Pamlico
Sound and when we got to Bay River to anchor for the night the
engine overheated agian as we anchored. We checked the water pump
to find the empeller was ground up to little pieces. We were now
in the middle of now where, we were all tired so hit the sack,
figured we come up with a plan in the morning.
Next morning, first light, we hailed a waterman pulling crab pots.
He came over and we told him our problem. He was a goodman and
told us to go up river about three miles to the R.E Mayo fish
plant and they could probably help us. He said he would tow us
later when he got finished pulling his pots. We told him no problem
we had our dingy. We launched the dingy from the davits with the
8 HP yamaha and took off up river. The Mayo fish plant was pretty
run down and very backwoods North Carolina. When we got to the
office, there were four ol' boys sitting in their rocking chairs
swapping stories. We told them our problem and at frist they said
they didn't know what they could do for us. Then one got up and
said he thought he had an old empeller in the back room. He came
out and said he didn't but got on the phone to Ray's Marine in
Bayboro, about 18 miles up the road. Rays Marine said he had one.
We asked if there was a taxi service so we could get there and
they said no there wasn't. Then one of the other ol' boys suggested
we just take the company truck. The others said sure and off we
went. We bought two empellers and hurried back to the fish plant.
When we got there we thanked them and asked if we could pay them
for their kindness and the use of their truck. They said no, they
were just glad to be able to help us. I was really touched by
those ol' boys, they made me proud to be an American.
We got back to the boat and put
in the new empeller. Ran the engine for quite awhile and took
off only to discover an exhaust leak. We tied off to the R.E Mayo
docks to fix that. As we left the dingy on the davits got caught
on a pielling and we tore a hole in the starboard pontoon and
ripped it from the davit. Jury rigged the dingy to the davit and
carried on. The Captain was really upset he tore up his brand
The rest of the day was fairly uneventfull. We made our way to
Alligator River where we anchored for the night. Got up early
the next morning and sailed across Albemarle Sound. Wind was really
kicking up and the weather was turning foul. We tied up at a small
Marina at Coinjock to have lunch at a resturant we stopped off
last year. After lunch we heard the weather report. We were going
to try and make it to Norfolk, VA by night fall and sail the rest
of the way to Urbanna that night but we were in a tornando warning
area with thunderstorms of 70 mph gust and two inch hail. We stayed
right there for the rest of the afternoon and night playing blackjack.
Got up at first light, motored across Currituck Sound, up the
Chesepeake Albemarle Canal into the Elizebeth River. Motored through
the Norfolk Naval Yard, set sail and sailed all the way to the
Rappahanock river. When we got to the Rappannock the wind was
blowing 25 right down the river. It was freezing cold at 65 degrees.
We motored the last 16 miles to Urbanna freezing our balls off
and tied up to Davids slip at 2230 last night.
It was a great trip and I'm glad I went even with all problems.
They only added to the adventure.