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Old 07-02-2015, 06:17 AM   #1
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Delivery from LaBelle, FL to Solomons, MD

A summary of the delivery trip:

Starting with a crew of 4.

20 June, Day 1 underway. Start: LaBelle, FL. Transit the Caloosahatchee Canal through the Moore Haven Lock, right turn into the Rim Canal, left turn at Clewiston to enter Lake Okeechobee through the Okeechobee Waterway, across Lake Okeechobee to Indiantown, FL. Stop: Spend the night at Indiantown Marina because we couldn’t make the St. Lucie Lock before it closed.

After mooring at Indiantown Marina, we discovered a major fluid leak from the steering system slave cylinder which completely drained the steering system and rendered it inoperable. While this was very discouraging, if we had to have a total steering system failure during the trip, this was the perfect time to have it. The thought of what might have happened had it had occurred while we were offshore is not pleasant.

21 June - 22 June: Await parts and repairs at Indiantown Marina.

23 June - 26 June, Days 2 - 5 underway. Start: Indiantown, FL. Underway 1330 after repairs were complete, through the St. Lucie Lock to Stuart, north on the ICW to Fort Pierce, transition to offshore through the Fort Pierce inlet after sunset. Staying within 50 NM of the coast line, transit to Beaufort, NC. Weather and sea state offshore were very mild and comfortable until rounding Frying Pan Shoals early the last day. The direction of the weather changed to a quartering to beam sea, and it was uncomfortable the rest of the day. While we were in a rhythm and might have kept going, the stress of the weather forced us to take a break to get a good night’s sleep. Stop: Beaufort, NC, at 1600, mooring at Beaufort Docks Marina. We left a crew member at Beaufort, leaving 3 to continue the trip.

27 June, Day 6 underway. Start: Beaufort, NC. Underway shortly after first light with the intention of following Adams Creek to the Neuse River, up the Pamlico River to Pungo River, through the ICW to an anchorage in the Alligator River. Unfortunately, the wind was so fierce while traveling the Pungo River that we stopped at Belhaven, NC, to wait until the next day when the winds were forecast to diminish. Stopping at Belhaven caused us to lose ~6 hours underway. We left a crew member at Belhaven, leaving 2 to complete the trip. Stop: Belhaven, NC, River Forest Manor Marina.

28 June, Day 7 underway. Start: Belhaven, NC. We left at first light with the intention of making Coinjock, NC, or a nearby suitable anchorage. After the high winds of the previous day, there was concern about crossing the Albermarle Sound which is widely reported to become nasty with the any significant wind. Pungo River through the ICW to Alligator River, across Albermarle Sound, up the North River to the ICW to Coinjock. While there was 12 - 15 knots of wind crossing the Albermarle Sound, the resulting 2 - 3 foot waves from the port beam were tolerable for the 2 hours it took to cross. Stop: Coinjock, NC, at Coinjock Marina.

29 June, Day 8 underway. Start Coinjock, NC. We left at first light with the intention of making the furthest point beyond Norfolk, VA, while there was still light to negotiate a possibly unfamiliar marina or anchorage. The goal for the stopping point was to leave the last day as short as possible so that we could easily complete the trip to Solomons, MD, arriving as early as possible. Continued up the ICW past Currituck, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Hampton. Stop: Salt Ponds Marina Resort, Hampton, VA.

30 June, Day 9 underway. Start Hampton, VA. Underway at 0530, 1:15 hours after high tide so that we’d leave with deeper water than we experienced on our arrival the night before which occurred just after a low tide. We expected the trip up the bay to Solomons to take about 10-11 hours, and we tied up at the slip at 1600, 10.5 hours after departure.

Seasickness: All 4 crewman experienced varying degrees of stomach discomfort, but nobody was retching or incapacitated. I expected the offshore portion to be the leg that caused the most sickness, but offshore weather was mostly mild and from the stern. I personally felt worse during the rolling caused by relatively shallow beam seas in the Pungo River.

Food: I tried to buy enough food for 4 people for 9 days. I might have been successful, because we had way too much food left over in Solomons. Except for the offshore portion when all meals were eaten on board, we ate dinner out all but one night that we stayed at a marina. Breakfasts and lunches were all eaten aboard.

Fuel: I knew how much fuel was in the boat when we started, and I refilled 2 of the four tanks at Beaufort. The calculated fuel usage based on the engines hours using the 2 tanks that were refilled was less than the original owner reported, so I’m not confident that I can draw any conclusions from what I currently know. I will refill the boat completely and will then be able to make better calculations based on the total engine hours and the total fuel used.

Overall, the weather was remarkable, the crew performed very well throughout the trip, and the boat was all I’d hoped she’d be.

Greg Brannon
Branwen
Solomons, MD

Safe in the slip in Solomons, MD:
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:53 AM   #2
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Good write up Greg! Thanks for sharing. I'm a little curious though, why did you keep losing crew members? Was that planned? Good Karma on your steering going out while you were at a marina.
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:15 AM   #3
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I should have explained. All of the crew were volunteers, taking time off from their regular lives to help me get the boat home. Scheduling the delivery accommodated the crew member's schedules as best I could, but we got a later start than originally planned by about a week due to some repairs that took longer to complete than originally estimated. Two of the crew were limited by their job or existing family plans. I was lucky to have them for the time they were able. I wouldn't have wanted to do the offshore portion with fewer than 4. It would have been possible but a lot harder.

We knew the crew might shrink, but the two of us with more time were committed to continuing the trip along the inside route as far as we could, prepared to leave the boat short of the intended destination if we had to. We needed to be home no later than sunset on Thursday, July 2nd, and we made it with two days to spare.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:10 AM   #4
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Greg:


You implied that you might have kept going around Hatteras but decided to take a break in Beaufort and continue up the ICW thereafter. Good move. I don't believe that any trawler short of a Nordhavn or similar should go around Hatteras. I did it once in a 48' sailboat and it was a little rough but we were fine. Hatteras didn't get its reputation for nothing.


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Old 07-02-2015, 09:13 AM   #5
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Good deal on the 2 days, and the crew loss was kinda what I figured. Sounds like overall, you had a good trip.
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