Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jacksonville Trip Update

Sorry I have not posted much lately, but work responsibilities have been brutal. Here is the latest and (not so) greatest updates...
As of today the sail is still not repaired, so I am going to have to push the date of departure to the week of June 7th. Along with the repair, I have had an unforeseen work commitment pop up that cannot be moved, so this delay is a definite at this point. Needless to say, I am quite disappointed, but there is nothing that can be done. The good news is the winds have been turning to a more consistent northerly direction which will help our cause greatly. In general though, the weather really hasn't been very good with rain and winds daily up to 25 to 30 mph, a big reason why the sail is not done. Still very unpredictable, but it is getting better. It's only a matter of time now, but it seems like six months since the first leg and not just a little over one.

Some stats on the leg from Beaufort to the Jacksonville Inlet. From inlet to inlet, we are looking at 352 miles. If we get the weather window we are hoping for, we could make that in just under 3 days at an average of 5 knots. I feel pretty comfortable with that number as we were actually averaging around 6 knots with a 15knot breeze on leg one, so I think that's a safe estimate. We will be no more than 40 miles off shore at the furthest point, but closer to 20 once we hit Charleston, SC the rest of the way down. I have a screenshot of the trip route taken from SeaClear. The red line shows the way.

From the mouth of the Jacksonville Inlet, it is 32 miles down the river to Skylark's new home. That will take about 8 hours or so to do. Fortunately, the vertical clearance necessary to get under all the bridges is 60 feet, so with skylark being only 46 feet off the water, it's a clear shot all the way. Now, lets just hope hurricane season doesn't start early this year.

Oh, and if anyone would be interested to take part in this leg, let me know. I can work with the dates a bit, but I am figuring on the later part of the June 7th week for now. Certainly would not mind an extra hand or two, so give me a shout if its a possibility.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 28th

So May 28th is the start date we have set for the second leg of the trip. I cannot believe the weather the last few weeks and truly hope we get some of the westerly winds we are looking for. Regardless, I am ready to go. To be honest, and to some folks surprise, I have been ready to go since the day we got back from leg one. :)

Since we have been waiting anyway, I had decided to get some restitching done on the head sail as some of the UV cover had pulled away in the last storm along with a 6 inch tear along a seam that got caught on the spreaders. I spoke with Paul today, the rigger from the sail loft doing the repairs and they still have not been able to get the sail down due to the weather. As most of you with a boat know, it's really tricky trying to pull a large genoa off a roller furler in 25 knt winds. For those of you who don't have a boat, to get a sail down from a  roller furler, the thingy that rolls the sail up at the front of the boat, you have to "pull out" or unroll the entire sail before pulling it down the forstay track. This causes a big problem in heavy winds and is basically impossible for one person to do by themselves. Tomorrow though looks promising in the early morning. With Morehead City being so close to the ocean, the sea breeze tends to kick up in the afternoon and stays pretty consistent through the night. Again, fingers crossed on this as we are running out of time.

Got an update on the winch. It is officially shot and the parts are near impossible to find. I will have to do some searching for a replacement when we get down to FL. In the meantime, we will use the winch that's there, it will just require a little more effort occasionally. Since leg two consists mostly of off-shore sailing, we won't have to, hopefully anyway, tack that often, so we should be ok.

I will have more updates to follow as the weekend gets closer.

Monday, May 3, 2010

That Time Again

Depending on weather, which by the way has been very difficult to predict in April, I am looking to see if we can start Leg 2 to Jacksonville on or around May 21st or 28th. We are estimating about 4 days from dock to dock if we get the right conditions. I am hoping once we start getting into May, the winds swing a little bit more to the west. The winds have been either SW or SSW for weeks now, directly in the direction we want to go. Will have to keep checking with, but for the next 10 days or so, we are looking at SSW winds the whole time.

In the mean time, I am having someone down to look at the port winch that broke on our last leg. Hopefully these guys will have the right parts for a 42 year old winch as a new one is a cost prohibitive at this point. It still works, but we lost the ratcheting functionality, the basic principal behind how it keeps the sheets from spinning the winch freely and injuring the the crew. Hoping to hear back from them this week. Fingers crossed.

I was in Jacksonville last weekend visiting family and stopped by the new marina to check out the pool they just put in. We lucked out as they were having a grand opening party with barbecue, some cocktails and some good folks. Really looking forward to getting down there and enjoying the summer. The marina and the pool looks great and will be a great place to keep Skylark.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And now for Something Completely Different...

Amy and I decided to get back to the water this weekend, but in a different sort of way. We packed a few breakfast bars, some dried fruit, bananas and a jug of water and headed out to Brevard, NC, about 45 minutes from Asheville to do some waterfall hunting. Fortunately, we found our prey easily in DuPont State Park, home to 5 great falls in easy hiking distance. The weather was iffy, but we timed it perfectly only getting drizzled on for a minute or two. The cold front that moved through kept us cool and out of the sun, a perfect day for a hike.

After we finished the hike, we went into down town Brevard for some lunch. The beer was cold and the food was excellent at a place called the Square Root. If ever in the area, check it out.

Have some pics, enjoy...

The falls. They were running fast this time.

Looking forward to some swimming in the river at the bottom

We had some problems with the woodland creatures and our only way out was for Amy to get all street on their ass.

I had to calm down a bit after the ordeal was over.

As we climbed out of the river basin, the trees tried to pull us in with an all out root attack.

Again, Amy had to come to the rescue using her Wonder Twin powers to save us.

I was a heck of a trip, but we made it home unscathed.