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Southbound 2017: We Set Another Record

A normal trip takes 9 days, weather permitting. The plan is to depart Hingham at 7:00 AM, cruise non-stop for three and a half days to Morehead City where we refuel, hopefully in two hours or less. Then it’s back on the road for three more days with a …

Southbound 2017: What a Difference a Day Makes

This is the first in a series of articles chronicling our annual trip south to our Sarasota winter haven. It starts with weather, most important consideration.
A little background. The United States Weather Service (www.weather.gov) only provides weather forecasts for 6 days out.  Hence, a week before our official November 1 departure, I start to focus intently on conditions. At that point, the only useful data is for October 31, and that data is highly subject to change. NOAA does a great job and over the years their forecasts have become more and more reliable. The science seems to be improving.

This year, the forecast did not look good. There was a tropical depression in Central America that was predicted to become a tropical storm and perhaps a hurricane. The predicted track, after the storm moved offshore, took it over Cuba and then south Florida. That track increased the potential that the storm might follow the coast to New England, and at one point, NOAA had the storm pointed directly at Massachusetts. Not good.

NOAA overview page showing dismal East Coast weather

From there the weather story gets worse. As the week leading to departure progressed, NOAA was predicting a very deep (i.e., tropical storm deep) low forming southeast of New York. That low was predicted to track north slowly into northern New England and then into Canada. Powerful 25 to 30 knot southeast winds with gusts to 60 were forecasted for Sunday at Hingham. 

Monday’s forecast called for a frontal passage in the morning with strong sustained winds out of the west, with again, 60 knot gusts. Forecast for the coastal waters south of Buzzards Bay along the south shore of Long Island were for 15 to 20 foot seas. Additionally, high winds were predicted for Tuesday with high seas along our route diminishing toward evening. This did not bode well for a Wednesday 6:00 AM departure even though NOAA was predicting calm winds.

NOAA got it right, literally to the hour. Sunday we saw sustained southeast winds as predicted and gusts to 40 knots. Monday saw the frontal passage at 10:00 AM with 50 knot gusts and a 12 degree temperature drop.  Tuesday was breezy. Then we woke up Wednesday to calm winds and flat seas.

Now to the tropical depression lingering on the east coast of Central America. It freed itself from the mountains, accelerated to 40 knots and became tropical Phillipe. It then tracked north to Cuba and then out to the Bahamas and finally out to sea just south of Florida, where it died. Threat eliminated.

With the deep low far north and Tropical Storm Phillipe no longer a factor, a weather window opened up along the entire east coast. We departed Hingham at 5:42 AM on Wednesday, hit the Cape Cod Canal at 11:09 AM with a favorable 4 knot current, and then reached Wings Neck at the west end of Buzzards Bay at 2:40 PM. A glorious cruise on flat water.

Decision time. Should we proceed south along the coast to our Morehead City destination, some 643 nautical miles south, or take a straight shot from Wings Neck to Cape Hatteras’ Diamond Shoal, a distance of 431 nautical miles and then another straight shot to Cape Lookout and then on into Morehead City? Drawing the straight lines knocks approximately 6 hours off the trip. That represents approximately 50 nautical miles and 54 gallons of fuel saved.

The direct line option takes us over 100 miles off the coast for over two days. This option requires a favorable offshore forecast, the right equipment, a well maintained boat and a crew comfortable with an element of calculated risk. Those of you who follow this blog know that equipment and maintenance are not an issue. So now it come down to weather and crew.

This year’s crew consists of Captain Guy Aries and my friend Jim Eisenhauer. Guy has made three trips with me (Nov 2015, Nov 2016 and May 2017). He’s experienced the full range of cruising situations from calm seas to raging storms. Jim is new to the experience but a fast learner. Again, as readers know, I fully discuss weather considerations and associated risks and make go/no-go decisions democratically.

Jim grabbing a sunrise photo
One of 5 spectacular sunrises

The weather forecast for the offshore waters between Montauk Point (Long Island New York) and Cape Hatteras showed 2 to 4 foot seas with a worst case of 3 to 5 footers and winds from a low to 5 knots to a high of 20 knots. Most important, no storms were in the forecast through Monday. Given that we would reach Morehead City on Saturday morning we had a two day margin of error. Our decision. Let’s go for it.

Again NOAA’s forecast was dead-on accurate.  On Wednesday night we saw seas reach four feet and then subside on Thursday afternoon.  The result was smoothest ride I’ve ever experienced in the four years and seven runs up and down the east coast.  We witnessed beautiful sunsets and sunrises and mostly smooth seas.  What a pleasure.

Before Sunrise on Wednesday morning
Sunrise
We pass Minot’s Light, Cohasset, Massachusetts.
Minot’s sits in open water
Speeding through the Cape Cod Canal on a favorable current (4 knots at times) 

We arrived at Cape Hatteras’ Diamond Shoal on flat water at 4:56 PM on Friday. That is a rare occurrence.

Direct Cape Hatteras
Notice that we are off the continental shelf (deep water)

All is not gold that glitters. The time savings had a consequence. It resulted in our arriving into Morehead City at 3:00 AM. Fuel docks usually open at 8:00 AM. Hence, we would have “blown” our entire time savings sitting on their dock. Not efficient.

Decision time again. Do we sit at the Morehead City dock or continue further south? For me this is always an easy decision. Why waste good weather sitting at a dock? You know that eventually it will change for the worst.

This time the decision was easy. We already had a forecasted two day favorable weather margin and that situation had not changed. NOAA was now predicting northeast winds with 3 to 5 foot seas all the way to Florida. That that translated for us into a following sea with a tail wind.

We also had more than enough fuel. On Friday afternoon I had transferred 248 gallons to the main tanks. Adding that to the fuel remaining resulted in 735 gallons of fuel on board, with better than 95% usable (based on actual experience during the record 2017 run north in May) we easily had 695 gallons of usable fuel.

Next concern. Where to get fuel? This is actually a tricky question. Yes, there are plenty of fuel stops on the way to Florida but some, like Georgetown, where fuel is incredibly cheap, are way off the beaten path (i.e., add 2 hours of travel time to reach the marina, 2 hours to fuel and 2 hours to return to our course). Others are eliminated by time. We have to arrive during business hours if we want fuel. And, finally, there is the fuel cost consideration. Some marinas think their fuel is very valuable and charge accordingly. For example, I saved over $1,300 this June between the price at Rose Marine and the local marinas in Hingham ($2.00 versus $3.29 per gallon).

Fernandina Beach Florida to the rescue. Its 400 nautical miles from Cape Hatteras, well within our remaining usable fuel range (including generator use), easy in and easy out, and its fuel is reasonably priced.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The weather window to the north had already closed when we reached Cape Hatteras.

Before I continue, let me briefly highlight our incredible 5.5 day journey (using military time):
  • Wednesday 05:41 depart Hingham
  • Wednesday 11:09 arrive at the Cape Cod Canal – zip through canal at 12 knots
  • Wednesday 14:40 arrive west end of Buzzards Bay – straight line to Cape Hatteras
  • Friday 16:56 arrive at Cape Hatteras’s diamond Shoal – straight line to Cape Lookout
  • Saturday 00:36 arrive at Cape Lookout – straight line to Cape Fear
  • Saturday 09:49 arrive at Cape fear – straight line to Fernandina Beach
  • Sunday 12:46 arrive at Fernandina Beach Inlet – straight line to St John’s River Inlet
We make a straight line down the coast. A first
Approaching St Mary’s Inlet and the Fernandina Beach Municipal Marina

At 12:46 PM we turned southwest into the St Mary’s River and called the Fernandina Beach Municipal Marina to alert them of our intention to take on fuel and our arrival time. Oops. Big Surprise! The dockmaster informed me that they had “still” no fuel thanks to Hurricane Matthew (September 2016).   The dockmaster stated that Port Consolidated had fuel but they were closed on Sunday. When I asked if we could stay the night he informed me the Matthew had destroyed their face dock and that besides being “no room at the inn” there was not enough depth for the 63’s five foot draft.

This posed a bit of a problem. A quick check of the site glass on our tanks showed fuel remaining of 290 gallons, with 250 usable based on experience. That translates into an absolute range of 250 nautical miles. So while the situation is not desperate, it did suggest that we find fuel close by or anchor out at Fernandina.

Fortunately, the St John’s river approach to Jacksonville was 20 nautical miles south and there are several marina’s just west of the inlet (read as easy in easy out) and, most important, Morningstar Marina, the first one we called, had fuel and dock space. Time for a course change.

We pulled into Morningstar Marina – Mayport at 3:46 PM, took on 1,105 gallons of fuel at $2.79 per gallon ($3097.71), and in two hours we were back on the road.

This trip set new records:

Longest distance: 936 nautical miles (previous 766 NM – Spring 2017)

Fastest average speed: 8.8 knots

Longest passage: 5.5 days and 4 nights (previous 4 days and 3 nights – Spring 2017)

Longest passage without rough weather

Longest running time: 107 continuous hours

Distance from shore: Over 100 miles

Time without phone or internet connectivity (Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon)

1
Factors that contributed to the unusually fast average speed of 8.8 knots
1) The Labrador Current (track from Buzzards Bay to Cape Hatteras
2) We close to the coast and west of the Gulf Stream’
3) A low pressure trough east of Florida and parallel to the coast set up the northeast winds

All trips should be so easy.

Stay tuned. We’re about to break another record.

PS. Yes, we had some adventures and those will be the subject of the next few articles.

Written by Les.

The Randy Boatshu: The Story Continues

This is a story that is actually hard to write. Why you ask? Well, it’s long and complicated to fully appreciate it you have to have read several articles that were written at different times. Below are the articles for those of you who want the f…

On The Hard Again: Getting it Straight – The Fix

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On the Hard Again: Dealing with a Challenging Mechanical Problem – Part I

This is going to be a long story.The story starts in May of 2016 while en-route run from Sarasota to Hingham. During a routine engine check, I discovered black dust on the absorbent pad underneath the port side transmission coupling The pad was absolut…

On The Hard Again: Getting Hauled Without Getting Hosed

As mentioned in the first “On the Hard Again” article, there are three major projects for this round of maintenance and repair:Normal maintenance of the engines, transmissions and generatorsCorrection of an oil leak on the port engine that manifested i…

On the Hard Again: Gloucester Cruise & Accommodations

The 63’s need for maintenance and repairs has us in Gloucester again. The projects for this round fall into three categories:Normal maintenance of the engines, transmissions and generatorsCorrection of an oil leak on the port engine that manifested its…

Streaming North: Cruising Off the Continental Shelf

Article started on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Georgetown, SC to Hingham, MA Direct
Overview:

The two day weather layover in Georgetown allowed a massive low pressure system to work its way north and east. As it did, widespread high pressure from the Midwest took its place. The forecasts for our proposed route at departure from Georgetown on Sunday at 6:30 AM indicated 15 to 20 knot winds, mostly out of the southwest and west, with following seas 3 to 5 feet from Georgetown all the way to Cape Hatteras, some 213 nautical miles to the east northeast. For the rest of the 600 nautical miles to Massachusetts, the forecast called for diminishing winds and seas around 2 feet.  
The deep low working its way north

We are now predicting arrival in Hingham at 6:00 AM on Thursday morning May 11th using existing programmed routes.  If the forecast holds, we will cover a record 813 nautical miles and, for the second time this voyage, run continuously for four days and three nights. This is truly exciting.

Underway:

We departed Georgetown’s Harborwalk Marina at 6:51 AM and headed 13 NMs south down Winyah Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Our departure at close to slack tide put us in position for a favorable current.

At 8:44 AM we cleared the Winyah Bay Inlet with an average speed of 8.5 knots and, with full consideration for the forecasted winds and seas, programmed a 220 nautical mile route from that took us direct to Cape Hatteras via Cape Fear (Southport NC) and Cape Lookout (Beaufort NC).


Explanatory Note: This route requires rounding three shoals, Frying Pan at Southport, Cape Lookout at Beaufort and Diamond at Hatteras.  This route can be run close to the coast or offshore. Going close to shore significantly increases the distance traveled as the capes protrude out many miles (11, 12 and 8 NMs respectively). The near shore route is approximately 268 nautical miles as compared to 220 if run in a straight line.  Those 48 NMs translate into 6 additional hours of travel (and 52 gallons of fuel).

At 5:00 PM on Sunday we crossed the Frying Pan Shoal Slue, a marked shortcut through the shoal with at least 20 feet of water. We noted a following sea, a smooth ride and conditions favorable for continuing to Cape Hatteras offshore in a straight line.

We rounded Cape Lookout Shoals at 3:00 AM on Monday noting a following sea and west northwest winds of 18 to 22 knots and headed direct to Cape Hatteras some 68 nautical miles ahead. We had traveled 167 NMs since leaving Georgetown.

Here’s a question to ponder with regard to the name “Cape Lookout.” Did this cape get its name because it was a good place to “lookout” over the ocean or was the name trying to convey a message – “lookout!!!” The folks who named Cape Fear seemed to be very clear with their message – this is a bad spot. Of course the naming system breaks down at Cape Hatteras, which is without question the most dangerous spot on the Eastern Seaboard. If I were given the naming task I’d call it “Cape Hell,” which it has been on three of our north/south voyages.

Calm waters

 

Guy at the wheel

Good view of our pilot house instruments

At 11:03 AM on Monday Cape Hatteras was “Cape Easy” with north winds at 10 knots and 2 to 3 foot head seas. Our speed had also picked up slightly owing to the Gulf Stream and our distance off shore. We noted in the log that the head sea we were experience might be standing wave action resulting from the opposing forces of the north wind fighting the Gulf’s northerly flow. Fortunately, the low 10 knot wind velocity only resulted in slight pitching. A stronger wind would have resulted in more violent pitching. We think the lesson is stay out of the Gulf Stream in a northerly wind.

Current sea conditions as we make our decision to go direct Buzzards Bay

Current location of fronts and pressure as we are make our decision to bot direct Buzzards Bay

Conditions 24 hours later. We have a weather window

Decision Time: Earlier this morning Bob, Guy and myself performed our morning weather review. The forecast noted in the overview (above) for 3 to 5 foot waves at Cape Hatteras with an improving trend to two footers both near shore and offshore as we progressed north was still valid.  The forecast for calm seas stretch several days.  We had a weather window. This resulted in yet another strategic route decision and another all-time first. We decided to head direct to Buzzards Bay Massachusetts from the tip of Diamond Shoal at Cape Hatteras North Carolina (429 NMs).  This route takes us 85 miles offshore when we are adjacent to the New York Harbor. By taking this route we shave off 71 nautical miles and 90 gallons of fuel.

Bob and Guy 

The combined saving in distance, fuel and time from going in a straight line from Georgetown to Cape Hatteras and then to Buzzards Bay is 135 miles, 142 gallons and 16 hours.  The distance from Cape Hatteras to Buzzards Bay is 429 nautical miles.  At 8.4 knots we will cover the distance in approximately 51 hours.

A flying fish landed on the flybridge

At 2:45 PM on Monday we were abreast of Oregon Inlet (just north of Cape Hatteras) running 24 miles from shore. While on this segment the winds became light and variable for almost two hours and the seas calmed to a 2 to 3 foot swell. Time to estimate some arrival times based on the GPS indicating 396 NMs to the beginning of Buzzards Bay. 
Estimate to:

  • ·         the entrance to Buzzards Bay: 3:00 PM on Wednesday
  • ·         the south end  Cape Cod Canal: 5:00 PM on Wednesday
  • ·         Hingham Shipyard Marina: 1:00 AM on Thursday.

We also noted that the current in the Cape Cod Canal will become favorable at 4:30 PM. It will be fun to see how these estimates play out.

Meanwhile, back to the voyage.

On Monday at 8:35 PM we were 76 NMs east southeast of Cape Henry (Virginia Beach) maintaining an average speed of 8.5 knots thanks to the Gulf Stream. Winds were east northeast at 10 knots. That gave us a 2 to 3 foot quartering head sea and a smooth ride. We were now outside the continental shelf in over 3,000 (three thousand) feet of water.

This photo shows we are outside of the Continental Shelf

As we progressed further north into the evening and early morning on Tuesday the winds and seas decreased to the point where we riding on a beautiful calm sea.  When I took 1 to 4 watch there was very little to do but enjoy the serenity of a moonlit night and listen to James Taylor. Most important, the marine forecasts for our route continued to predict optimum conditions.

Calm waters way offshore

At 4:00 AM, when my watch ended, we were 106 NMs south southeast of Cape May New Jersey (at the north side of the Delaware Bay) and 100 NMs east of Cape Henry (at the south side of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay) in placid waters with no traffic within 24 NMs (according to the radar).

Explanatory Note: Running almost 100 miles from shore and more than 100 miles from a navigable inlet and shelter of a marina or anchorage is serious business. One should not undertake such a voyage without a weather window that covers the enroute period and even beyond. A “surprise” change in the weather does not leave many options when your boat’s cruising speed is 8.4 knots and its top speed is 13 knots with a 50 GPH fuel burn. Heading for shore/shelter is an 8 hour 400 gallon proposition at top speed (assuming you have enough fuel). Bottom line. A trawler like the 63 cannot out-run the weather. The “good news” (sort of) is that the 63 is rated “Ocean A – Unlimited.” She can handle anything – but why.  The other consideration is mechanical reliability. Alongside of aggressive maintenance, we visit the engine room every 4 to 6 hours to verify the working of our machinery.

We had several visits from dolphins

Dolphins swimming in the bow wave

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, when my 1 to 4 watch began, we were 90 NMs southeast of New York City and 119 NMs from the entrance to Buzzards Bay. Still way offshore in perfect conditions. Our ETA to Buzzards Bay was now 4:25 PM (Wednesday). When my watch ended at 4 AM it had improved further to 3:41 AM.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon (15:10 log entry) our speed continued to decrease. We noted a current speed of 7.0 knots, a drop of 1.4 knots from our 8.4 average (which is also the 63s optimum cruise speed). Sirius’ water temperature chart (called “Fishing”) showed us in cold water off the continental shelf. We hypothesized that we were running against the Labrador Current that comes down from the North Atlantic and which causes the Gulf Stream to veer east northeast past Cape Hatteras. Whether that is true or not, it did not alter the fact that we would not achieve our 3:00 PM ETA to the beginning of Buzzards Bay or the favorable push through the Cape Cod Canal that begins at 4:30 PM.

This caused us to consider the impact of the speed decrease in relation to the current at Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal. Basically, we would reach Buzzards after the current began to flow south, which would result in an average 3.0 knot speed reduction over the 25 NMs to the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. We pondered an immediate increase to our speed. To counter the lost 1.4 knots we would have to increase RPMs to 1700 (9.9 knots). However, the fuel burn at 16 gallons an hour shot that idea down as it almost doubled fuel consumption. 24 hours are needed to cover the 194 NMs to reach Buzzards at 3:00 PM. This would result in an additional fuel burn of 216 gallons (over $500). We concluded that it did not make sense given our projected arrival in Hingham in the early morning hours and the fact that we were not up against a deadline. Further, we again hypothesized that our speed might just increase as we crossed over the Continental Shelf and returned to shallower water.

So back to 4:00 AM and the end of my watch. Our ETA was now 3:41 AM. Was our hypothesis correct? Who knows. But the result is the same. As of this moment, we traverse Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal on a favorable tide.

We made our first landfall in days when we visually spotted the wind farm off Block Island at 10:35 AM. It was 19 NMs west of our position.  At 12:30 PM we were adjacent to Block Island, 11 NMs to the NW. Winds were west at 10 knots and seas were less than 2 feet.

Bob watching a pusher tow overtake Guided Discovery

As we approached Buzzards Bay we began seeing fishing buoys and lobster pots. We used these “obstacles” as an opportunity to practice spotting and dodging small objects with our FLIR night vision. Great fun – kind of like a video game.
At 3:51 PM on Wednesday we reached the the entrance to Buzzards Bay and the beginning of the home stretch.  Best of all we arrived just as the tide turned to a northerly flow giving us an increase in speed.

Tide Turning Positive just as we enter Buzzards Bay 

By 6:40 we had reached the Hogs Island Channel, which mareks the beginning of the Cape Cod Canal. We saw a 4 knot increase in speed  to 12.5 knots and a top speed of 13.5. Note: The 63 can barely reach 13 knots and when it does it is burning 50 gallons an hour. The current was pushing us at our top speed while are fule burn remained 9.1 GPH. Life is good.

Railroad lift bridge at south end of the Cape Cod Canal

12.8 knots current speed and 13.4 top speed in the Cape Cod Canal

3.2 knot current at the Sagamore Bridge
Current moving toward 92 degrees (a northerly flow)
The Sagamore Bridge as viewed on FLIR night vision

At the east end of the Cape Cod Canal we turned north and headed for Hingham. Five and a half hours later at 1:00 AM on Thursday Guided Discovery was sitting at the dock. We had hit the predicted arrival time that we predicted three days earlier to the minute.

Heading north from the east end of the Cape Cod Canal to Hingham
Moon rising over Cape Cod Bay 
This amazing voyage was over but, clearly, it was one for the record books. 
Segment Statistics:
  • Total Segment Distance: 745 NMs
  • Average Speed: 8.4 Knots
  • Top Speed: 13.5 Knots        
  • Engine Hours: 91
  • Engine Fuel Consumed: 872 gallons
  • Fuel Efficiency: .85 GPNM
  • Generator Fuel Consumed: 93 Gallons
  • Total Fuel Consumed: 964 Gallons
  • Fuel Remaining: 336 Gallons (186 usable)

Trip Totals

  • Total Distance: 1,513 NMs     
  • Engine Hours: 174
  • Engine Fuel Consumed: 1,667 Gallons
  • Overall Engine Fuel Efficiency: .91 GPNM
  • Generator Fuel Consumed: 211 Gallons
  • Total Fuel Consumed: 1,878 Gallons
Written by Les.

Streaming North: Downtime in Downtown Georgetown

PLACEHOLDER – STAY TUNEDWell it’s the Great Loop all over again. Well, at least in terms of activity. During our Great Loop adventure we visited 135 cities as part of the experience. Our visit to Georgetown on this trip was necessitated by the need to …

Streaming North: Confidently Cutting Close on Fuel

So it’s 1:00 AM on Thursday morning and were headed for Charleston as I take over the 1 to 4 watch from Bob. We had been watching the weather closely throughout the trip and suspected that we may run into stormy weather as we headed north. After making the 1:00 AM log entry and performing an engine room check, I focused on the weather for Cape Hatteras, the most challenging stretch of water on the entire 1600 NM voyage. Below is what a saw:


The forecast for Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke Inlet showed that starting on Thursday night wind and seas would continue to increase pretty dramatically. This was due to the formation of a deep low pressure system over Alabama and a high pressure over New York that was drifting east slowly into the Atlantic.  This combination coupled with a frontal passage at Cape Hatteras foretold extremely rough seas over a wide area.

Deep low pressure over Alabama drifting east with high pressure over New York slowly lifting into the Atlantic
Cold front approaching the coast in 48 hour

As noted in the forecast photos above, the conditions at Cape Hatteras would not improve until late Sunday. Monday’s forecast called 2 to 4 foot seas, which is great for traversing Cape Hatteras. Stopping and waiting for the weather to clear was clearly in the cards,
Explanatory Note: My decision to head further north on minimal fuel reserves is based on three years of experience with the 63. That experience includes two ECU adjustment by Caterpillar to correct a discrepancy that showed fuel consumption reading below the actual amount of fuel consumed. It also includes fill-ups after runs in excess of 600 miles where I was able to predict the amount of fuel added with 20 gallons in each 500 gallon tank (A .4% error rate).

Decision Time: At 9:25 AM on Thursday, Bob and I (yes, again, Guy was sleeping) made a decision to head for Georgetown South Carolina where we planned to lay over for at least two days waiting for the weather to improve. This decision, which put us at or below the 10% fuel reserve, had several major components:
  1. At 9:22 AM we were sitting on 220 gallons of fuel as measured by the site glasses on the fuel tanks. The tank tender’s “worst case” measurement was 126 gallons (see Explanatory Note below).
  2. The additional distance to Georgetown was 65 nautical miles. That translates into approximately 75 more gallons of fuel consumption.
  3. A forecast for 4 to 6 foot seas in the late afternoon between Charleston and Georgetown.
  4. Current wind conditions were southeast at 22 knots. This would produce a sea on the starboard forward quarter and a relatively stable ride owing to the stabilizers.
  5. The 13 NM run up Winyah Bay would be on calm water reducing the risk of an engine stoppage from unporting a fuel line
  6. The marinas in Georgetown are in protected waters – critical as storms were approcing from the west.
  7. Heading to Charleston City Marina (aka the Mega Dock) would add 13 nautical miles from our arrival point at the inlet (and another 13 nautical miles to return to sea)
  8. Diesel fuel price at Georgetown was $2.27 versus Charleston at $2.74. 

At 9:50 AM we changed course for Georgetown just south of Charleston channel. We had covered 705 nautical miles since leaving Sarasota four days earlier. Our current speed was 8.0 knots (as we were out of the Gulf Stream). The engine monitors showed 720 gallons of fuel consumed. Add to that approximately 72 gallons of generator use and we have a total fuel burn of 794 gallons.

Five hours later, we arrived at the Winyah Bay inlet and headed north up the bay to Georgetown. 


Approaching Harborwalk Marine in Georgetown
You ban barely see the Phillips 66 sign

Finally, at 5:23 PM we arrived at the Harborwalk Marina fuel dock. We were greeted by Larry and promptly started the process of refueling. Note: Larry gave me a $2.17 fuel price based on an expectation of over 1,000 gallons.


Guided Discovery at Harborwalk Marina


Summary: This trip established a many new records: 

  • The longest distance traveled (766 nautical miles)
  • The first trip around the Florida keys (with the 63)
  • The most fuel purchased at any one time (1,205 gallons) 
  • A fuel price within 4 cents of the lowest price we’ve paid since acquiring the 63.
  • The first “ride” in the Gulf Stream
  • The fastest enroute speeds
  • The shortest time enroute. We were 19 hours ahead of schedule when we arrived at Georgetown inlet.
  • The first trip in three years with with down time (2 days) due to weather

Statistics:

Total Distance: 766.1 nautical miles (740 since the Venice Inlet)

Average Speed: 9.4 knots
Maximum Speed: 14.9 knots
Engine Hours: 83
Engine Fuel Burned: 795 gallons
Generator Fuel Burned: 100 gallons
Total Fuel Burned:  895 gallons
Fuel Needed: 1,164 gallons (895 + 269 gallons to fill the auxilliary tanks)
Fuel Purchased: 1,205 gallons
Fuel Cost (at $2.17 per gallon): $2,614.85

Written by Les.