With all due respect to North Carolina, it was time to go. The new engine is purring like a kitten and passed her 50-hour break-in period with no problems. The boat was fully stocked with water, diesel, propane, and all of the specialty foods that we enjoy. Laundry was done, the float plan was filed with family, and the InReach was activated. On November 9, we tossed off the docklines and headed out on a two-night offshore passage to Charleston, SC.
We spent the first five hours of the journey going through the ICW from Oriental to Beaufort Inlet. It was a constant stream of boats heading south. Winds were blowing 20-25 knots and gusting to 30, but we felt very little of that while in the ICW. But once we hit Beaufort Inlet and entered the ocean, it was on! The wind and waves were primarily on the stern or quarter, so we were doing the hula pretty much all day and night. Going below meant having a handhold at all times, and cooking required pot arms and the galley belt so that neither the pots nor I went flying.
We ran our usual two hour watch schedule running from 6 PM to 6 AM. Overnight the temperatures dropped to the 40s, so we bundled up in winter clothes. The enclosure kept the wind and spray off, and it again proved to be one of the most valuable items on board. We had a nice bright moon, and all in all it was a nice motorsail with the staysail up as a steadying sail.
The next day was gorgeously sunny with a blue sky. The wind seas finally laid down in the afternoon, and the Captain put two cans of diesel in the tank.
We kept our watch schedule loose so that whoever was tired could sleep when they wanted to. As the day wore into night, the seas got calmer and calmer until they were glassy. We had a full moon shining that night, and the night passage was about as easy as it got.
On November 11, we arrived in Charleston. The Captain had timed our journey so that we would arrive at Charleston City Marina at slack; we know from previous stays that the current at the dock can be very strong, and to that we say no thanks. On the way in the Charleston Harbor Inlet there was a strong ebb current, but it was worth it to arrive at the dock when things were calm.
We docked with no fanfare and immediately saw to the boat, refueling and filling diesel jugs.
This trip was 52 ¼ hours for 236.9 nm. We went slower than normal (4-4.5 knots) in order to time our arrival at the dock at slack. We’re feeling pretty smug because our goal was to leave Oriental, travel two days, and arrive at Charleston City Marina at 1:30 PM. And when did we arrive? You guessed it, 1:30 PM *buffs fingernails on shirt*.