Mystic’s Leg 3 Brunswick to Annapolis

When I work, I work very hard. When I don’t work, I have to do something where my endeavor can totally take me off what I do professionally, like sailing. It takes all your attention. Helmut Jahn (he’s a Chicagoan, you know)

Don here: (A couple of weeks late!) April 22…Mystic’s ready. Shiny brightwork, gleaming topsides and deck, engine purring, tanks full….

Crew arrived yesterday…Bob Smith salty from years at sea; Tim McKenna, getting salty, but that’s hard to do in Lake Michigan; and Mike Geitner, former foredeck crew on Cruachan (NY36) in Chicago, who with Katrina, his wife, just bought their own boat ( a Jeanneau)  in Milwaukee! Great sailors all!

The weather forecast, however, was iffy…nice winds out of the South for a couple of days but switching to a gale out of the North by early in the week. So prudence prevailed and we chose to try the Intracoastal  sailing up to Winyah, SC and headed for Georgetown, SC.

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 Early History of the Intracoastal

The concept for an Intracoastal Waterway dates back to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, who in 1808 proposed a system of canals that would link Boston Harbor with Brownsville Harbor. Congress rejected the full plan, but throughout the following decades, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers carried out a series of surveys, and construction began on various sections. Private investment also played its part.

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According to Florida historian William Crawford, construction of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway can be traced back to 1885, when the Florida Canal Co. began to dredge a canal between Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River. Robert L. Lippson and Alice Jane Lippson, authors of “Life Along the Inner Coast,” suggest the origin of the waterway dates back earlier to 1805, when a shallow canal was dug linking Deep Creek near Norfolk with the Pasquotank River.

Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway officially begins at Mile Marker Zero at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, between the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth. The first section follows two routes across Virginia and North Carolina to Albemarle Sound. The Dismal Swamp Canal navigates the eastern boundary of the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge, while the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal travels through Currituck Sound and into Albemarle Sound. The entire journey south to Florida is a distance of 1,090 miles, viewed as a single north-south aquatic interstate. But the waterway features many tributaries and diversions along the way. The historic town of Beaufort, home to Blackbeard’s shipwreck, marks the start of a 1912 proposal by the Corps of Engineers for a 10-foot-deep waterway extending 925 miles south to Key West. In the event, the waterway was constructed in fits and starts. It encompasses such bodies of water as the Harlowe Canal in North Carolina and the estuary of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina. Crossing into Florida, it hugs the Atlantic seaboard through Cape Canaveral, Palm Beach and on to Miami. 

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Back to the Trip. It was an easy passage! Most bridges had 65 feet of clearance, although a few let us through by lifting, or turning. From Georgetown, to Myrtle Beach (dropped Mike off) and on to Mason Borough inlet and up Beouford for the night. Then on to Adams Creek where the engine quit! Called Boats US and got towed to Oriental, where two mechanics found nothing wrong. So next morning, we did a 100 miles (motorsailing) day to Alligator River Marina & Truck stop.

Have to note here, there is a vast amount of water inland in Georga and North Carolina, and flying fish, dolphins, and bald eagles, deer, turtles, hawks, flies, and zero alligators. Although we had a chance to sample alligator bits, we passed.

Winds have been strong, so we’ve been sailing up the “ditch” at up to 7 knots a times. Other times it’s just a long straight channel through cyprus swamps. All in all, hours of boredom and moments of interest, But the “super crew” makes all the difference. 

Today, we’ll make the Virginia Border (out here is the marsh lands!) and stop in Norfolk to let Tim catch a flight back to Chicago (something about work) and Bob and I will go on on to Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay. Much to my surprise, it takes over two days (with stops over night) to motor-sail from Norfolk to Annapolis.

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Navy ships to the right of us, Navy ships to the left of us…one would think this was a military base! Even targets out in the Bay…just for practice. In the next issue, Bob Smith is going to share his log of our remarkable journey.

Hang in there…We’ll be back!

Now, Bob Smith (yes “The Bob Smith,” now one of the Bob Smith candidates for President)  You can tell he was a Navy Pilot! 

Mystic Log May 2016
4/22/16 0710 Underway from Brunswick Ga, approx ICW mile marker (MM) 680. Clear skies, 1kt flood, winds SSE 10
1000 St Simons Sound entrance R4. Altered heading for Cape Fear, making 7.9 kts motorsailing with M&G. Winds SSE 12, seas 2’. Cape Fear 051M/423km.
1400 Reefed main (had to rerun reefing lines), replaced Genoa w/Yankee to balance boat.
1800 31-48.2N/080-28.5W. Heading 054M/7.2 kts. Mostly cloudy, wind SSE 15, seas 3’.
1900 Thunderstorms, gusts to 30k. Took 2nd reef in main, reefed Yankee.
4/23/16 0300 32-25.7N/079-38.4W. Heading 048M/5.5 kts. Winds L/V, seas 3’.
0900 32-55.3N/079-08.0W. Heading 052M, 6.2 kts. Beautiful morning, winds NW 8, motorsailing with full main & genoa. Decision made to head into Winyah Bay and up ICW instead of continuing to Cape Fear to avoid getting into Cape Fear at midnight.
1300 33-11.6N/079-08.2W (Sea bouy to Winyah Bay). Winds N7, seas 1’. Beautiful weather, but strong ebb current, only making 5 kts SOG. Essentially rejoining ICW at MM 415; by going offshore and bypassing Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston, we saved 3 days compared to staying on ICW.
1640 Docked at Georgetown Landing Marina, ICW MM 402 (made 278 SM in 2 days). Took on 37 gal diesel.
4/24/16 0730 Underway up Waccamaw River. Beautiful, sunny, winds NE10.
1445 Docked Barefoot Landing Resort Marina, Myrtle Beach SC, MM 353 (49 SM day). Sunny, winds NW10.
4/25/16 0705 Underway without Mike, who was out of time and had to fly home. Sunny, winds L/V.
0755 Little River Bridge, MM 347.
1130 Lockwoods Folly inlet.
1315 Southport, entered Cape Fear River. Motorsailing 6 kts with M&G.
1510 Snows Cut, MM 295.
1700 Left ICW at MM 285 to hop offshore via Masonborough inlet (essentially a 68 SM day). Winds SSW 10-12, heading 078m under Yankee. ETA Beaufort NC (MM205) 0700.
4/26/16 0800 Entering Beaufort ship channel, winds L/V.
0915 Engine quit just north of Core Creek bridge (MM 194) after shifting from Stbd to port fuel tank. Would restart, but quit within a minute. Rolled out Yankee to maintain steerage in tight channel.
1120 Adams Creek R8 (MM 187) Taken under tow by BoatUS (Captain Ralph) towards Oriental. Managed to sail down Adams Creek for 7 miles under yankee while waiting for tow.
1230 Docked at Deatons on Whittaker Creek, Oriental (MM 182) for fuel/engine repair. Essentially 23 SM day.
4/27/16 0700 Underway, winds 230/12, seas 2’. Partly Cloudy.
1000 Hobocken Bridge, made good time motorsailing with Genoa or yankee most of the morning.
1200 Pungo River G3 (MM 143). Winds W12, motorsailing with Genoa.
1430 MM 125, just past Wilkerson Bridge on Alligator-Pungo Canal. Winds E5
1710 MM 105, entering Alligator River at R54.
2000 MM 84, Docked Alligator River Marina.. Had a great motorsail with genoa down Alligator Pungo Canal and Alligator River at up to 7.3 kts until wind shifted from S10 to NNE 15 around 1900. This was a 98 SM day!
4/28/16 0800 Underway in rainshowers, winds W/SW 5 entering Albemarle Sound
1040 MM 66, entering North Landing River. Winds NE 10-12
1310 MM 50, Coinjock NC
1545 Just short of Pungo Ferry, engine started making a very loud clattering with increased exhaust smoke. Discussion & phone calls resulted in guess it was sticking injector and to continue on.
1900 MM 12, docked at Atlantic Yacht Service in Chesapeake Va (Great Bridge). 72 SM day. Took on xxx gal diesel. Tim left for Norfolk airport after dinner to fly home, he too out of time.
4/29/16 0830 Underway aftr mech looked at engine and found nothing amiss…..sounds normal. Overcast, winds L/V.
0900 Great Bridge lock.
1300 Crossed over Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel into Chesapeake Bay. Winds N 5-10, seas 2’. Decided to head across bay to Cape Charles since we couldn’t make it up bay to Deltaville before dark.
1655 Docked Cape Charles Town Marina. Nobody home.
4/30/16 0640 Underway, winds NE 5. Winds and bay flat calm by mouth of Potomac.
1900 Docked Zahnizers Marina, Solomons MD.
5/1/16 0730 Underway in moderate rain, winds SE 10-12. Vis < 1 mile.
1400 Docked Annapolis Landing Marina, Eastport MD.

Bob: Fun trip, fun experience……thanks to all.

Don: What a difference a good crew makes!  I’m grateful to you all!


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