Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Easy ride down the Florida coast

Equinox had good weather the remainder of the trip, following the coast down from Charleston and fishing all the way south to Stuart, FL. The fish are still winning, getting away more often than they are landed. However, they've had a few fillets for dinner, so it's not all in vain! In Stuart, they pulled in for a night’s rest at our old stomping grounds, the Hutchinson Island Marriott Marina. Ron was delighted to see everyone again, and they all were asking about Ally and me. Definitely good to be in port! Of course, Ron had to take Kerry and Karen to Conky Joe’s, for a bit of old time Florida fun. There is one weather window opening on Thursday, so they'll make the crossing then. Let's hope the forecast holds!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Safe in port at Charleston, SC

Equinox is now ensconced in Charleston, SC. They made it back last night to about 3 miles offshore where the conditions were calmer with the wind out of the west; instead of going at Cape Fear in the dark (nothing like an unknown port at night), they opted to follow the coast until Charleston, where they entered the river in the morning. They plan on resting a couple of days, and are getting an marine electrician in to replace the GFI outlet and double check the wiring for safety. Thank goodness, for I can’t believe how relieved I am to hear that they are safe!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caught in the washing machine....

...of heavy weather off Hatteras. I received an unexpected sat phone call from Ron at 1315 local, with their current position of 33.040N 77.152W, course of 321 degrees, and speed at 7.7 kts in confused, horrible seas. Waves of 15’ or more, wind gusts to 45 kts, they’ve made no headway south and are heading to Cape Fear. They've endured a few rolls of 40 degrees, which is rather exciting to say the least. (Ok, hearing that, I'm grateful I'm not along.)They've had an issue with some water getting in one of the forward portholes, and the water shorted out one of the outlets in our cabin (causing a lot of smoke and excitement aboard, apparently.) I can live without any more such excitement, personally.

Back on track, but weather looming

Well, in Beaufort, NC, thermostats were changed, plugs tightened and all repairs inspected by a mechanic, and thus, they were underway again by evening. They were aiming south once more, straight for the Bahamas, with a forecast of NE winds at 15-20 kts, and 6-8’ seas, but forecast to diminish to 2-4’ as winds died off. Not the best forecast right out of the gate, but if it followed true, conditions would improve. It was a restless night for me, imagining the seas and winds, and early this morning, much to my dismay, the forecasts had not improved. If anything, the conditions were worsening, and I feared for their comfort and safety. Pouring over the NOAA sites, seeing the blunt warnings of “GALE FORCE WINDS EXPECTED SAT” did nothing to ease my fears.

The 0830 sat phone call came, and Ron sounded tired. Indeed, the conditions were worse than they anticipated, and at 32.405’N, 76.491’W, but they were going forward. They are slogging along, having to slow down in the 10’ seas and not making good speed in the pounding conditions. Hearing that the weather was to turn even worse with the impending low-pressure system bearing down in 48 hours, Ron reported that they were altering course to head more westerly to hopefully find calmer waters. The next 24 hours are going to be ugly, no doubt about it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Engine trouble off Hatteras

My heart sank this morning, for I awoke to a text message from Ron, saying they had an engine overheating, as well as one electronics issue with the port helm monitor. Currently they were limping back into Beaufort, NC. on one engine. While they think it is a thermostat issue, it could be much worse...but we will find out when they have a chance to get a mechanic to look at it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November: Heading South!!

Equinox is heading south, and I'm not aboard. Ally's school schedule dictated our remaining behind, while Ron and another couple, Kerry and Karen Moser, took the boat south. I’ve got to admit, NOT going along on this trip was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ron and I are a team, so not going was excruciating -- we keep each other in balance, so without my (ahem) cautious voice of reason in his ear, how was this trip going to go? Yep, I'm worried!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Human vented pressure valve

Murphy's Law....just when you think you have things under control, there's always something that goes awry. Take, for example the dinghy davit. It was on the list of things to inspect prior to our leaving, We were on our way to Hartge's for all the inspection and punch list items, but during our last night in Annapolis, the davit hydraulic unit pump decided to bleed out. It just sounded different as we were about to put the dinghy up in its davit, so I went down in the engine room to find out what was happening, and found it was spewing hyrdaulic oil into the pan beneath it.

Of course, the location of said unit is outboard of the 20Kw genset and aft of the starboard engine, and the way to reach it was by slithering over the engine exhaust elbow, if you were small enough. That would be me. I checked where the oil was coming from, and lo and behold, part of the vented oil cap came off in my hand! Argh! How would we get the dinghy up now? (We could always tow it to the West River, but...not the remainder of the way south!) It definitely needed attention. Using the walkie-talkies, Ron and I discovered that if I pressed my hand over the broken cap in its hole, it would provide enough pressure to enable the davit to work. We used it in small spurts to bring the dinghy to its cradle.

Meedless to say, it's on the top of the list for Hartge's to inspect and fix when we get there. Can't go to the islands without a dinghy!