Saturday, April 25, 2015

Not as bad as it sounds ...

As Deb has mentioned, Kintala's Deck Monkey is operating at far less than 100%. A full day's rest in Styron Creek helped, but impending weather made getting a move-on imperative. A second day's rest was not to be. The anchor was weighed and Kintala set forth, but the weight of said weighing did me in. For the rest of the day just moving brought a gasp and a wince, though by day's end I could stand at the helm to help un-weigh the anchor just north of the Alligator River Swing Bridge, at a place called "Sandy Point".

The holding at Sandy Point is pretty good, the only good thing about the place. It is completely exposed in every direction, a deficiency exacerbated by it being nearly completely choked off with crab pots. We had followed a power cruiser in. Both boats spent much time sniffing around for a spot free enough to swing. We each found one, which pretty much used up all the space left by the crabbers. (We also found pots strewn haphazardly across the ICW in the Albermarle, black ones nearly impossible to see – I would like to meet the idiot who thinks that is a good idea. Indeed, crabbers are falling way down my list of watermen to be respected. I'm not asking that the whole ocean be a crab-pot free zone, just enough of it so the rest of us can still find it useful, and find a place to stop for the night.)

Come this morning we really needed to make our escape. Forecasts had the impending weather really, well, impending. The choice was to go back to a marina several miles in the wrong direction, or on to Coinjock, thirty miles in the direction we needed to go. Our take on the weather had going to Coinjock as the better option.

Coinjock lay on the other side of the Albermarle Sound from Sandy Point. The Albermarle has a bit of a reputation among those who sail the ICW. Compared to places like The Dismal Swamp, the Albermarle is a big body of water nearly open to the Atlantic, shallow, and prone to throwing steep and closely-spaced pounding waves at the incautious or unlucky. It was pond quiet and sunny when we motored across it back in 2013, with several people telling us how lucky we had been. There was little hope that it would be the same today.

The first task to going was that whole “weighing the anchor” thing, something well beyond my poorly functioning self. The best I could do was stand at the helm and hope Deb wouldn't get hurt trying to get the Mantus on board. Silly me. First the chain came aboard an easy armful at a time as she had me move the boat this way and that to stay over the rode. She got the anchor off the bottom and to the surface, but couldn't get it lifted onto the roller. I feared that would be the case. It is often all I can do to get it there myself. I was sure we would have to drift among the crab pots so I could go forward and add my manly efforts to help the Lady make the lift.

Silly me.

Deb shushed me back behind the helm where I could actually be of some use. Going to the mast she freed the spinnaker halyard, moved forward, clipped it to the anchor chain. Back at the mast a wrap or two went around the winch and, with the aid of the small winch handle, she cranked the anchor up onto the roller without a strain. Anchor secure, deck cleared, everything stowed, we went about crossing the Albermarle.

Somewhat chagrined at my obvious status of being redundant equipment, I insisted on staying at the wheel. Actually, the nature of my hurt is such that standing slightly hunched over, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, is one of the more comfortable positions I can find. If one is familiar with Kintala's cockpit layout, one knows that it is also the exact position someone who stands about six feet tall must assume when standing behind the helm.

Winds in the Albermarle, forecast to be five knots or less out of the west, were 15 to 18 due out of the east. The waves were lumped up and close together, the Beast laboring to keep five knots of SOG. Kintala shook a bit, giving me a look that said, “Well, could we get ON with it please?”

We spun out the little head sail, pushing the speed closer to six knots and giving the boat the muscle needed to ignore the waves. I got another look of, “PLEASE would you GET WITH IT?” We added the big jib, cranked both sails in tight. Kintala leaned over, SOG went to 7+ in the higher gusts, spray flew and children all over the world smiled. (Okay, I made that last bit up.)

Flying both head sails without the main is a strange combination. It only works when the Beast is in the mix with the apparent wind well forward of the beam. But when it works, it works really, really well. (For those who might wonder we set both the running back stays when we load the rig this way.) A cold, wet, gray, lumpy Albermarle was just a dance floor for a salt stained Kintala. Hours ahead of plan we were tied up to the dock in Coinjock, taking on fuel, making use of the pump-out, and topping off the water. Later I stood in the very nice, very hot shower long after the motion activated, timed lights went out. I'm still far short of 100%, but we are within a day's reach of mile Zero of the ICW, living on our boat, doing what we need to do when we need to do it to get to the things we need to get to.

It isn't always comfortable, but it isn't a bad way to live either.

(Ed note: sorry no pictures. When it wasn't raining I was too busy to take them and then it rained.)

1 comment:

Latitude 43 said...

Albemarle Sound. It's on our shit list with Deleware Bay, Mosquito Lagoon and Oneida Lake in NY. The Albermarle kicked our ass once. The only good thing about it was it gave us a chance to pass the damn circus boat that was blocking us most of the trip. I laughed knowing all those acrobats, Jesters, jugglers and clowns were hurling all over the boat as that big piece of crap rolled from side to side.

Blowing stink here in Eluethera. Safe travels.