When I left off in the last post, the team and I on Isbjorn were preparing for the start of the RORC 600 offshore race in the Eastern Caribbean.
On the Saturday before the start of the race, the crew arrived and we went out for the first of two days of practicing. In Antigua, and really all the Eastern Caribbean Islands, the ocean is only a 10-minute boat ride away, unlike my native Chesapeake Bay where it’s 100 miles or more to find the open ocean. This was the first time I had been in the ocean since our ... Read More
Here I sit typing words into the internet while 37,000ft over the Caribbean sea, winging my way towards Antigua. What an amazing age we live in! Internet connectivity while going this fast over such a lonely stretch of the planet still blows my mind.
I’m on my way to Antigua to help out on Isbjorn, a Swan 48 that is being campaigned by my good friend Andy Schell. I’m to be a cook on the race, keeping one half of our 12 person crew fed and happy. The race we will be sailing in is the RORC 600. It’s a 600 mile ... Read More
Sometime on a pitch-black night off the New Jersey coast this past November, I was having serious reservations about cruising under sail. The promised 15-20 knot northerly had morphed into a 20-25 knot easterly with prolonged gusts in the low 30s, and the sea state was, to put it charitably, confused—“a cement mixer,” as one of the cruisers who followed us into Atlantic City later that day described it. I’ve sat out 50-knot blows in the Gulf Stream that were a hayride by comparison. In those long hours between 0200 and dawn, I would have given almost anything to be ... Read More
Ahoy! Readers of this blog will have almost certainly noticed a slight gap in posts as of late. The news is that while living on the boat in Baltimore last summer and fall we were also hard at work rebuilding a home on the foothills of the Appalachian outside of Baltimore/Washington, D.C. After being on the water for two-plus years we decided it was time to head inland and live in the shadows of oak and poplar trees that adorn our patch of earth.
In the same way that rebuilding a boat demands almost a singular focus, the home build took all of our ... Read More
Larry Cheek’s essay on not giving up sailing will strike a chord with any of us who are looking back at 60. Like it or not, there comes a time when, as Leonard Cohen put it, you “ache in the places where you used to play.” That’s no reason to quit, though. Sailboats, no matter their size, have never been easier to handle than they are now. Spars are lighter than ever and with modern fibers, so are ropes. Sails roll away in minutes. Sheets can be trimmed at the press of a button. Ground tackle that would give a ... Read More
Photo courtesy of Rozalia Project
Not so long ago, if ever I wanted to feel depressed all I had to do was leaf through my collection of boatyard bills. Now all I have to do is look over the side and count the bits of plastic floating by. Like a constantly unfolding traffic wreck, I can’t take my eyes off it: a plastic bag here, a drink bottle, a candy wrapper there. There is no end to it. Walk along the shore and even in a pristine New England town the highwater line is speckled with pieces of plastic.
Not ... Read More
For the past 5 years I have been monitoring the ICW. My drive is largely enlightened self-interest. We transit the ICW route every year. Over time, we have developed a small group of like minded travelers with whom we have shared notes and observations. The sources I have come to rely on are the USCG Districts 5 and 7 weekly Notice to Mariners, and the USACE Wilmington NC and Charleston SC, district web pages. I also have learned a lot from, and shared content with Hank Pomeranz of Southport SC, Bob Sherer (AKA bob423 and a small fleet of experienced ... Read More
ATTENTION: The posts regarding the post hurricane inlet crossing have used the USACE surveys layered on NOAA charts. The USACE surveys indicate the locations of the ATONS at the time of the survey. In many cases the USACE ATON placement does not agree with the NOAA charts, because the USACE ATON placement is more recent than any other chart system. When viewing the charts posted, please note that the way points are specific points placed near the USACE ATONS wherever I can, to make the transit easier. But the ATONS may indeed not be where your charts show them ... Read More
October 6, 2018
Now that all the historically problematic NC inlet crossings have been surveyed by the USACE post Florence, the ICW run south is starting to look passable for most boats. (NOTE: the Socastee Swing Bridge will not be operable for a couple of weeks.) Managing the tide will be important. In Lockwoods Folly, the surveys indicate that you might see as little as 4 feet of water at MLLW. You want to be crossing Lockwoods on a rising tide due to the 4′ shoal between R46 and G47. At high tide you have an extra 4-5 feet of ... Read More
With these latest surveys by the USACE, Wilmington District all of the previously known ICW inlet crossings shoal areas in North Carolina have now been surveyed post Florence. While there are some changes in several of the inlet crossings, they are all passable if you follow the ATONs. Proceed on a rising tide and with caution.
Between Georgetown and Charleston the previously noted shoals are still present. Between Charleston and Beaufort, we have reports of recent dredging, but there are no surveys from the USACE Charleston District. Assume the previous shoal areas are still present until you can verify that