Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!
We arrived in Deltaville, VA on Wednesday and have been prepping the boat for our trip to Ft. Lauderdale. We had expected to depart on Saturday, but the high winds that have been pinning us against the dock. The marina has been filled with boats who are stuck here waiting for the winds to subside. The winds have been blowing 20-30 kts with gusts to 40 kts. If you haven't been in a marina when the winds have been howling, but it's an impressive sound. The winds moan as they whip through the rigging and the lines often bang against the masts, creating quite the cacophony. The winds are nice and light tonight, so we should be able to depart tomorrow. The photo below was taken from the top of the mast just after the front went through and before the winds arrived. Literally minutes after I came down the winds increased to a point where I wouldn't have wanted to have gone up.
We hoped to be able to sail off-shore from Norfolk, VA to somewhere down the NC coast. However the winds are going to be from the SW and guess what direction we have to go? If you guessed either S or W or SW then you're a winner. Unfortunately that pretty much means that we can't sail. As a result we're going to head down "the ditch" aka the Inter-Coastal Waterway or ICW for short. The problem with doing this is that you have to steer non-stop through what can be tight channels while power boats blow by throwing up big wakes. On top of that there are bridges that only open on certain schedules and there are also locks. This just makes for slow going. This compares to setting sail and letting the autopilot steer. It'll take about 4 days to go through the ICW as compared to 1 overnight sail outside. But we need to get moving, so we're headed down the ICW. Tomorrow we're headed to Norfolk, VA and then the next day we'll start our trip down the ICW.
We can't say enough about the wonderful work that we had done while the boat was in Deltaville. The interior cushions were redone by Bay Canvas and turned out great. We had a new jib cover and Mack-Pack (Stack-Pack knock-off) made by Ullman Sails and they did a wonderful job. We had a new bimini constructed by the Ship's Tailor and they did a masterful job. I can't speak highly enough about the professionalism and quality product that they produced.
While we were waiting for the weather to improve, I installed a cool piece of electronics known as an AIS receiver. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. All ships greater than 300 tons are required to have AIS transmitters and regularly transmit information about their position, course, speed, destination and lots of other information. What's very nice about this system is that you can see ships further away than your radar can see and the electronics can calculate how close your vessels will approach one another. This is much more accurate than you can calculate via radar alone. Once prices drop on AIS transmitters I plan to install one on BlueJacket so ships can see us as well as we'll be able to see them.
Have a great week and I'm sure that you'll be getting updates as we proceed! :-)
-- Geoff & Sue
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