Feb. 1-2, 2017: Beaufort, SC, to Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA –or- We Got the Beat

We had a great offshore journey from Beaufort, SC, to Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA.  We left the mooring field in Beaufort at 7:45 AM to good weather.  The winds were S/SW at 10-15 knots, gusting to 20 knots, and the seas were 2-3 feet.  The wind was right on the nose, and wave period was pretty short (3-4 seconds), which added up to our usual beat.  We motorsailed with one reef in the main and the genoa out, and as the day went on, we shook out the reef, pulled in the genoa, and went to the staysail.  We kept that sail plan until we reached our anchorage.

We ended up doing about an hour’s worth of long tacks in the wee hours in order to make some headway; the wind and waves conspired to drop us to 1.5-2 knots, and that just wasn’t going to work for us.  But finally the wind moved westward, the seas dropped, and the winds dropped, all of which gave us some great sailing.  Night sailing is incredible when all of the pieces fall into place.

The St. Mary’s inlet is wide and well-marked, which is always a treat when it’s a place we haven’t been before.  As we entered, we saw six Coast Guard boats milling about the channel, two of which had .50 caliber guns on their bows.  We later figured that a submarine was probably coming into the submarine base near the island, and they were there for an escort.

As we rounded Cumberland Island, we saw two wild ponies trotting along the beach, which was almost as cool as seeing dolphin.  We dropped anchor near the Sea Camp ferry dock, all alone and in total silence.  Bliss.

This trip was 29 hours for 103.2 nm (108.8 statute miles).