Just sailed in from Ft Lauderdale
by Bob Means

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 at sea.

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 new dingy.

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.

Semper Fi,