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  1. Roger Long

    Roger Long

    Joined Nov 22, 2008
    3,563 posts, 8 likes
    Endeavour 32
    US Portland, Maine
    The end of cruising sometimes sneaks up on you. Little by little, the sense of timeless freedom leaks away back in your mind and you suddenly realize one day that progress has become again the measure of the days. So it was with us.

    I’m sure that, if time stretched before us without commitments, we could happily keep poking around into the nooks and hidden places of the lowlands for days, weeks, or months more. However, Dreameagle has to return home to begin giving her annual workshops by the twenty fourth of the month. There is something about a date which changes everything when it approaches.

    Our goal now is to try and make Elizabeth City. I’m willing to put up with being farther north and colder in return for the company on the long legs through North Carolina. The long range forecast looks as good as it could be for the next 225 miles until I become a singlehander for the long legs back up to the headwaters of the Hudson.

    We’re still having a great time though. Long time readers know that I like the feeling of accomplishment of long day’s runs and need little excuse to cover the miles.
    We left Walberg Creek the morning after my last post and had a nice run up to anchor off the oceanographic institute on Skidaway Island, one of the few such places where I can’t look at a research vessel I designed. That day featured a long stop for lunch in wild and remote Cane Creek to wait for tide in Hell Gate. The dolphins put on a nice show but we didn’t see any pigs or raccoons.

    The next day took us up into Port Royal Sound, doing something rare in recent cruising, coming to anchor in the dark. We woke up the next morning to dense fog that made this Mainer feel right at home. We ran around into Beaufort and tied up at the town dock for lunch and a walk around town before heading over to Ladies Island Marina where we spent quite a bit longer than planned.

    Ladies Island Marina is unquestionably the most enjoyable marina experience for either of us. The relief dockmaster makes sure everyone has a good time and the live aboard residents tell us the regular one is as good or better. We rented a car for a day in Savannah and explored the nearby islands in between parties and oyster roasts.

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    If not for the April teaching and other commitments, we could easily still be there. Some of the boats there sailed in months ago thinking it was only for the day…

    Reluctantly, we cast off the lines. TJ, the dockmaster took this photo as we left.

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    The next day was a long run against the tide up to Church Creek which divides Wadmalaw and Johns Islands at the head of the North Edisto River. Johnathan, a long time ICW cruiser who I often cross paths with in the spring since he also usually heads north early called us on the radio as we departed Beaufort and said he had just sighted us ahead. We stopped and anchored in the Wadmalaw for a couple hours to change the oil and wait for a fair current so he passed and was anchored in Church Creek when we arrived and we agreed after a visit to meet up in Georgetown.

    The next day’s run was the longest this year, nearly sixty nm. It was a bright but cold day with a low point when my Raymarine autopilot died. I can’t complain. The unit is a tiller pilot which probably has a design life of a couple hundred hours since it is intended only to steer a small daysailer. Mine doesn’t steer the boat directly but simply tweaks the windvane linkage. Even though it thus runs at pretty light load, it has still been on the boat for at least 15,000 miles of which it was probably working 90% of the time. Conservatively, that is at least 2500 hours of operation. We did more hand steering from there to Georgetown than on the entire trip so far. The long day ended at anchor in the South Santee River for an incredible evening of sunset and dolphins.

    The run up to Georgetown was fortunately short at fifteen miles. After lunch ashore, I turned to the autopilot repair with some help from Jonathan. I’ve carried a spare unit all these mile after burning up three of them during the first week of operation. The reason the last one worked as long as it did was my installation of a limit switch module, these switches inexplicably being left out of the original design.

    Full story here: http://www.cruisingonstrider.us/ST1000mods.htm

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    The repair consisted of simply swapping my homebrew module from one unit to the other. I heartily congratulated myself on my forethought in installing the switches in a drop in unit that only required drilling two small holes in the case to secure

    We left Georgetown early the next morning to get ahead of rising wind. It was a cold and blustery day during which the calendar began to intrude into my consciousness and we decided to push on 56 nm all the way to the Calabash River anchorage on the NC/SC line.

    The long day ended with the very exciting passing of a dredge, work barge, and football field string of pipe. We were hugging the side of the channel watching the depth sounder anxiously with all this heavy equipment less than a boat length away.

    Yesterday’s run brought us to Southport on a day that somehow seemed longer at 29 miles than the previous days even though the weather was quite present. The pressure of time is beginning to make itself felt. We were lucky to find the free 48 hour dock open and tied up for the two nights while we wait for this rain to blow through. It will be an early start tomorrow to see if we can make Dreameagle’s date with the airline.
     



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