Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catamaran Harmony Mutiny

We are now at the docks in Charleston. Well right across the harbor on the East side. We tried to find a sheltered anchorage on the ICW but there were whitecaps in the "most protected" one and the wind seemed to be building. Very low country with no trees nearby, just lots of tall grass. Turned around and made the last bridge just in time. All on one engine as the port one was not putting out any water. In Charleston we docked and I spent about an hour testing the water system. Turns out the belt was loose and not turning the pump. When I tightened the belt, all worked. That is until we went to make dinner. The propane ran out so we switched to a new tank. Nothing! No pressure, no solenoid. I was too tired to want to go out to eat so we tried the MREs. For those who don't know, MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat and are what is given to the troops in the field. They are a step above C rations and some camp meals I have had. They have there own heating unit when a slight bit of water is added to a pouch. All in all, it made us appreciate Al's cooking even more. Some talk of mutiny if these were the only choices on the trip.

This morning we moved to a better dock while there was only some current. It really flows through the marina. Better being no birds and guano on the dock and closer to the facilities. Sitting around having breakfast and planning the day when BAM. A 50+/- blue boat had banged into the 75 foot catamaran just in front of us. Broke its rail and it is scheduled for a charter today. That will get the juices going.

Also this morning, I got up and made some coffee on the 110V system. I turned around and noticed that the light for the stove solenoid was on. Tried to light the stove...Nothing. Turned on the valve at the propane tank and it worked. Overnight the gremlins took pity and fixed the propane system. I wrote an email to the manufacturer of the solenoid and have not heard from them yet. The whole thing makes no sense to me unless there is a loose connection somewhere.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Catamaran Harmony at anchor

33 11.524N 79 16.734 A very strange anchorage. Wind from NE current from SW and the boat wants to head one direction with the anchor going straight back so we used two anchors, one astern and the other ahead. About 2 AM the chain started making noises. I looked out of the hatch and the shore appeared to be about 5 feet from the boat and sliding by at a nice pace. Time for "anchor alarm practice". ( next time maybe I will get dressed first) According to the GPS we were making circles in out track of about 100 feet and the anchor was not dragging. Watched for awhile and sure enough it was happening. The debth remained about 12 feet throughout the circle. Shortened up the bow anchor and it seemed to stop the chain noises so back to sleep. At 6:30 we were in the same spot. It is now 11:30 and we are running on a single engine and headed for Charleston. We will probably anchor out in the ICW tonight and then go to the town docks for a couple of days. It looks like the storm is blowing out to sea and there may be a good weather window coming.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Catamaran Harmony to Myrtle Beach

OUCH! For the first time on the trip and maybe since May I had to put on socks for warmth. Long pants and a jacket. We motored all day to the town docks at Bearfoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. The guidebooks say it is free but we were greeted with "you know, we now charge 1.50 per foot." It turns out the really nice docks across the channel are also 1.50/ft. But of course by then we had already paid and tied up to some stairs as the dock where we were had no cleats. There are lots of shops here but no showers or grocery stores . Asked in a store and the lady said, "There is a convenient store across the highway". "What highway" I asked. "Its the only road here", she said in a haughty voice like I was some stupid Yankee. "I arrived by boat", I explained which cracked her up.
So now it is the next morning and it is 50 degrees out according to the little thermometer. Sweats and an omelet for breakfast. There is a storm, Noel, which is predicted to go out but... So far it looks like a short weather window might happen on Tues or Wed but needs to be monitored. If not, Charleston isn't too bad a place to hang out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catamaron Harmony in the rain

Last night was 34 24.243N 77 35.432W in a little side creek After a day of fairly moderate rain with a few clearings we anchored for the night. Made about 60 miles from Beaufort to just south of Surf City, NC. In the middle of the night it started blowing with heavy rain. Got up several times and we seemed all right. Checked again about 6:45 and we had dragged and were aground. Luckily pulling up on the anchor chain cleared us and we decided to leave early. Going along fine on one engine then I put the port one on as we came up to pass another sailboat. Not pumping water and started to steam so I throttled down and heard a clunk. Immediately shut it down and checked fluids. Needed some water but otherwise OK. Since it wasn't pumping water checked what I could, cleaned the strainer and all was ok. Tried it again and it was fine. I think the steam was from a lack of antifreeze coolant for the heat exchanger and the clunk was from going into neutral too fast with too many RPM at the time. We have been using the port engine only when we need maneuvering Tonight we are heading for Southport. DR wants to revisit the scene where she was taken to fix her boat from her trip North on the ICW.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Catamaran Harmony still in Beaufort

We are still here. Crew has arrived (Al and Donna). The fridge guy was here but, even with the help of the Sea Frost tech in NH, it is still an ice box. Mechanic said he would be here this morning to fix the lift pump gaskets, which arrived yesterday thanks to the Wilmington office. Not here yet. Luckily, we could leave without him and be careful about oil levels. Weather forcasts suck with small craft advisory and rain until Monday but then the wind turns NE and again starts to kick up. NOAA says Tues will be 30 to 35 from the north with 7 foot waves on the outside. It doesn’t seem to matter when we leave, it will be the ICW rather than outside. Hopefully the winds will be less inland as bridges don’t have to open if the wind is 35 or more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Catamaran Harmony in Beaufort

It is very frustrating trying to get things done. We need 2 gaskets for lift pumps. They cost less than $2 apiece. However, they are Yanmar parts and guess where the main factory is. New Jersey! So I call and they will sell only to authorized dealers. I call the Charleston Boat Works and am told that the computer only shows 2 and they are in NJ and would take at least a week to get to me. They wouldn't overnight them. What a pain. I make several other calls and people tell me they will try to find some and call me back or That person is not available right now and they will call me. So now it is the next day and no calls. AARRGGHH.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Catamaran Harmony: Cobbs to Beaufort

I am afraid it has been awhile. Lets see. My brother, Em, and his daughter, Linda, joined as intrepid crew. We finally left Cobbs, after a wonderful man, Simon from his Blue Water Marine, got the water pump working in the starboard engine. Of course he found something else, a leaky hose in the fresh water heater. No parts but a little ingenuity and imagination got a new hose in and off we went. Well almost. IMPORTANT lesson: Make sure the electrical hookup is off before you leave the dock.! After some quick action on the helm and Em jumping off and retrieving it, we set off. Came down the ICW to mile 0 and then noticed that the bridges were all closed in Norolk from 3:30 to 6:00. A quick u-turn and found an anchorage. Picture a checker board with the red squares being the boats and the black squares being crab pots and you got it. The next morning everyone took off. By the first bridge we were 17 sailboats and 12 motorboats. Timing the bridges we arrived at the lock in the middle of the pack. Not everyone made it into the lock and we haven’t seen any of the others for the rest of the trip. Everything went well until Pungo Ferry Marina where we stopped for fuel. We left and went under the bridge marked as 60 ft. when it happened. Someone tried to use some water and there was none in the tanks. As it turned out, it was all in the Port engine room. Quickly spun around and, with Em bailing by the bucket and me on the bilge pump we got it back to the marina. What had happened was that the hose for the fresh water heater had come off emptying the tanks and flooding the compartment. Amazing that the engine still worked at all. After getting all the water out and adding a second clamp to the hose and getting more water, we took off again. I only ran the starboard engine until I really checked out the port one. We had gotten water into the transmission and the oil was all cloudy. Over the next day, I did “oil changes” with short bursts of using the transmission until all the cloudiness has disappeared. We only made it to Coinjock (mile 50) that night.
Next morning we left and only used the Starboard engine. We were able to run at 6.9 knots without any sign of overheating. At 7 we got a little steam so we kept it down. Got to mile 105 where the Alligator River narrows and the canal begins. A lovely little spot. Next morning we tried out the transmission for awhile and it seemed fine. Using both engines we got to a lovely spot just past mile 175 on the South River just across the Neuse River from Oriental. Next morning we were in Beaufort, at the docks where the current runs incredibly fast. A lovely dinner, Thank you again Linda, and a front was supposed to come through. Apparently NJ got more weather than we did. It is now about 80 degrees and no clouds in the sky. A wonderful time to head south but that will have to wait for more crew on the 25th.
Em and Linda went to the airport about 11 this morning and I miss them already. It was a good trip even though…but that is Linda’s story.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lamy Marine avoid at all costs

This is a warning about Lamy Marine. Never use them. I am not saying Lamy Marine Lied but they said one thing and then did another. I am not saying Lamy Marine is incompetent but they couldn't fix the fridge and blamed it on water for the condenser even when there was water to be had. They said they would be back then went to the next city and would not answer their phone. Enough said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Cobbs Marina, in Little Creek just north of the bridge tunnel in Norflok is the most professional and friendly working marina we have ever seen. Homespun, yet they know what they are doing. You can let them do the work or you can do it yourself. Since I want the bottom done right, I will let them do it. The lift had about 3 inch clearance on each side but we are succesfully "on the hard".
Florrie has gone home, via Baltimore, while I take care of business here. Emory (my brother) will be coming here on the 15th with his daughter, Linda. Hopefully the bottom will be painted, the SSB installed, the fridge repaired, the batteries working well, the solar panels working, the engines given a "spring Tuneup" with lots of preventive maintenance, the rigging checked out with a working anchor light and whatever else I can think of.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Just north of Norfolk

We are now sitting at Blue Water Marina in Hampton, VA. No room yet at Cobbs. This is the place where the 1500 starts and a few are in already. Last night was Mobjack Bay just down from the fish stakes. A strange place. As we came in it was like being at war. About 100 pelicans decided to come down the bay in a straffing formation at about 15 foot elevation. ```````````````````````` Thankfully they split and went around us at the last minute. Then, this morning, Dolphins feeding and lots of them. Very little wind and temperatures in the 80s. What a strange October.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pelicans in the Chesapeake

Yep! Just north of the Potomic River were about 14 brown pelicans. And people question global warming. Present postion is 38 03.049N, 76 20.478W after a full day of 80 degrees, sunny (after the fog burnt off) and little wind.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Boat Show

There is something very wierd about a bunch of individualists being packed together like sheep. Got what I needed and left. Florrie went to galleries instead. Only went on one boat..Gunboat 48. So much for wishes. Then we went to the Caribbean 1500 party and caught up with some old friends and met some new ones. Dinner at Charthouse for a splurge with 1500 friends from the 2000 ralley. If you are considering going to the Caribbean for the winter, check out I went once on my Pearson 40 and crewed for others 5 times. A lot of fun.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Somehow a group of ducks claimed the area of our boat at about 5 this morning. It must be a high rent district as others decided they also wanted to move in causing a loud discussion. We are now at Mears Yacht Harbor in Oxford MD (38 41.680N 76 10.074W) near, what else, Chambridge MD. Yesterday was at one of Florrie's favorite spots; Boby Owl Cove. Best crab cake Florrie ever had was in Oxford yesterday.
Refridgeration is still not working despite shorting the thermastat. Calls for the compressor but does not cool the plate despite the freezer working fine so it can’t be the compressor or coolant. Anyone with any ideas?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007