Vero Equals Friends

Good friends from our home marina, Kathy and Gary
of Sabre 42 GATSBY, made a delicious dinner on board….

We feel at home in Vero Beach City Marina because we always see so many cruising friends here. The city has created one of the best cruising stops on the entire east coast. There are plenty of mooring balls with a great marina, fuel dock and a nice laundry and bathhouse. The boaters’ lounge has a TV, computer desk and book exchange, plus the city provides free bus service every hour to and from town! The ocean beach is only 4 blocks to the east and there are bike and walking paths throughout the parks, marinas and town. What is there not to like about a stop in Vero Beach City Marina? NOTHING!

Our raft of three on mooring ball #24

This place has a nickname among the boating community and that is “Velcro Beach” because we all tend to pull in here for a day or two and then we stay and some never leave. They get stuck, if you call this stuck. We happily spent the winter of 2007-08 here on our boat while working on new Masters’ degrees in Education from Drexel University. We set up a Verizon Broadband network and two laptops and processed 45 graduate credits from the boat! That was exciting and very challenging. So, returning here year after year is wonderful. We really like Vero Beach!

Here are some photos of the good friends and the good life at Vero…

Vero Beach City Marina to the East of the AICW
The Merrill Barbor Bridge, Welcome to Vero Beach
Boats are rafted three per mooring ball

Wendy and Craig were vacationing in Cocoa Beach, FL, so they come to visit us

Wendy and Radeen by the banyan tree

Craig and Hayden
Radeen posted a sign….why not have happy hour on a Monday?
There is one every Thursday, too.

Craig played and sang; he is the Team Island Spirit band 

John of ISLAND GYPSY played along on his harmonic

All the ladies love Steve of IP38 SLOW FLIGHT,
including Radeen and Michele of IP35 SIMPLE LIFE

Radeen, Craig, Wendy and Hayden after dinner at TooJay’s 

The view over our bow in the mooring field

IP38 ALPENGLOW with Tim and Susan are ahead of us

The north mooring field at Vero Beach

ISLAND SPIRIT rafted to SLOW FLIGHT, with the south mooring field in the distance
Breakfast with Radeen’s homemade coffee cake
Thank you, Steve, for the Champagne for mimosas….
we are roughing it with Laurie and Jim of IP350 KISMET

As it seems now, with the us needing to fly to AZ for our family Thanksgiving, we too will get stay here and not press on to Miami. Oh well, we cannot think of a better place to be. Vero has got us again, and so it truly is VELCRO BEACH……

Offshore 300nm leg SC-FL

Sunsets at sea are so special…

Spending nights at sea on a sailboat is a special aspect of cruising. It is also challenging, exciting, boring, beautiful, and very tiring. So why do it? We set sail for sea to cover longer distances in shorter periods of time. Then again, there are some trips where you must spend nights at sea. Running the East Coast to the Caribbean can take 10 to 15 days and nights!  Cape May NJ to Block Island is a 36 hour run that takes one overnight. That is a summer trip we have made  ten times. Sailing from Acadia Maine to the Cape Cod Canal is also one overnight trip. So, we do it because we want to get to the destination. We do it because we have a lot of confidence in our boat systems, fuel system and engine. If it breaks or stops running offshore, then we have to fix it. Lucky for us, our brand new engine, with 100 hours, ran perfectly. Hand built by a Bavarian, we now call it Yannie-New BMW, and it runs like one too. What a great engine. Thank you, Alfred, of Schooner Bay Marina, Wisconsin!

Radeen harnessed in

We try to run watches at night so that we are each on in two hour shifts. That way the one off watch can catch some sleep. Sometimes we extend this to 3 hours, but we find we are so exhausted and tired that the one on night watch usually needs relived in two hours. Hayden usually does not sleep well and in this 52 hour trip, he only had 4-5 hours of sleep. While on watch, the person at the helm needs to be harnessed onto the boat so that they can not be lost overboard while the other person is asleep. No one is allowed to go onto deck unless the other person is up. No sail changes alone. If anything is not clear, like a ship crossing or a navigation issue, then get the other person up to help. Keep the boat moving, push 5-6 knots of speed with sail, or sail and motor to keep it going. We are not out here to extend the trip, we want to make a safe and speedy passage. Usually this means that if the wind is over 15 knots then we can use sails only. If it is 15 knots or less, then we add some engine to keep the speed up. This trip was forecast to have 10-15 knots NW, but we had 0-10 SW winds. (See previous post for weather map proof!) On a course of 195 degrees, this required sails and engine at 2,000 to 2,300 rpms. On day two, the winds came in as planned and we had 15-20 NW. We finally killed the engine and sailed the final 9 hours!

So here we are in FLORIDA. We are 964 nautical miles from Rock Hall, MD where we departed on October 8 for the Annapolis Boat Show, the beginning of our Fall 2014 cruise.

Check out these ocean sunrise and sunset photos

Ship crossing in the AM sunlight

Here comes the sun

Sunrise off Cape Canaveral, FL

I love to take these sunrises at sea

A focus on the ocean waves. This is a calm sea, 30 miles offshore

Radeen, the librarian, reading and happy
Her book? Seven Wonders by Ben Mezrich, author of
:Breaking Vegas (made into the movie Bringing Down the House)
and The Accidental Billionaires (made into the movie Social Network)

Ship on the horizon under the jib

The blue sky, clouds and sunset
The moon over our mast, but look at out worn out mainsail..ugh

Good Morning sunrise as we sail SOUTH

The sunrise is always exciting and wakes you up

This is a CALM inlet as the 3 knot flood current pushed us into the inlet

We always have sails up in inlets in case our engine stops!

Fort Pierce over the rock jetty

Bell Buoy with a wake, 3 knot flood current taking us in

This is WHY we fear SHIPS….look at this 34-40 sailboat and a 1,000 foot ship

Another view of the same sailboat and this 1,000 foot ship!
They run at 15-20 knots of speed

We are so grateful to be on anchor, safe and secure in Fort Pierce. Now we can enjoy the Farmers’ Market and then move up to Vero Beach to see good friends and boat buddies.

Beaufort SC to Fort Pierce FL Plan

Ocean, SC to Florida…

We will head to sea today, Nov 12, taking the ebb tide 22 nm out to the sea buoy from the wonderful town of Beaufort, SC. Again, that is Beuuuuuuuuuu-FORT, SC, not Bowwwwwwww-Fort, NC! We waited out the last north winds due to high and confused seas. Now, the low has pulled offshore and the waves are calming down to 2-4 feet from their 4-6-8 feet level over the past few days. Of course, there is now less wind and it looks like it will be a motor sail for much of the leg.

We are pressing on as we need to store the boat near Miami so we can fly to AZ for our family Thanksgiving. This leg will be a 300 nm trip, if all goes as planned. As Captain Ron famously said, “We must be close, because we had just enough fuel to make it and we just ran out of fuel!” Our motoring range is about 350 nm and this trip is 300 nm, so we better be able to sail some of this or else it will be a Captain Ron event as we near Fort Pierce! (Just kidding!)

North winds 10-15 knots off our stern

If you are interested in planning ocean routes and looking at sea state, pressure and winds, then we direct you to study up at We find it very helpful to learn what we can expect when we get to sea.

Here are the planning photos…

Low pressure moving out
Marry Poppins Winds, North Winds, here we go
Ocean waves in meters. The arrows point down wave
Sunset Ashepoo Coosaw River, our anchorage before Beaufort

Arriving Lady’s Island Swing Bridge…ahhh, Beaufort SC
We enjoyed our 24 hours here…drinks with Jeff & Marjorie of IP 45
Far Niente on the deck at Luther’s and an amazing dinner at the Old Bull Tavern

The waterfront park of Beaufort is beautiful
22 nm to sea from Beaufort

A direct route would be 50 nm offshore,
we may curve toward land to stay away from the Gulf Stream

The Fort Pierce FL inlet, where we will arrive Friday late afternoon

Thanks for following along. We will be pressing our SPOT at noon, 6pm and midnight and 6 am. This will show up on our SPOT maps HERE.

Charleston Friends

Radeen and Captain Bill IP 380 Tamarack, our good friend from Rock Hall, MD
We enjoyed low country lunch alfresco at Amen Street on East Bay. Cheers!
Our days at Charleston South Carolina have drawn to a close, as our extended dockage stay ends today, Monday. We enjoyed our Rock Hall IP fleet buddies catchin up to us and they now have passed us as Captain Bill pushed on to Beaufort SC. While here, we enjoyed our time together with IP 31 Propromenon, IP 380 Blue Skies and IP 380 Tamarack and walks around town with these good friends.
Our next plan is to get to Florida ASAP and that was to include heading out the inlet today, but with high waves, 5-6 feet, and a building low pressure with 25 knot winds gusting to 30, we will move down to Beaufort SC and head to sea from there.
Here are a few more photos to our time in Charleston, SC

Our MD-SC team:
Reuben, Nina, Bob and Hayden touring Fort Sumter
Our Buddies from our Home Dosck
Hayden, Radeen, Bob, Carol, Bill, Cherie, Ken and Dave
Cherie and Dave, IP380 Blue Skies

A must stop, the pecan praline candy shop

Longtime good friend Janet stopped in for a  lively visit

Saturday Date Night with Radeen

Hayden and Radeen, on our way to dinner at Toast with Rock Hall friends

Annual HOSPICE memorial with one umbrella for each who passed this year

Circular Congregational United Church of Christ

Beautiful restored Johnson’s Row
And this is great wind for sailing south…..but…
The waves are building to 2-3 meters!

So, down the ICW to Beaufort, SC, that is pronounced Beauuuuuuu-Fort, SC, not to be confused with Beaufort, NC or Bowwwwwww-Fort.

Charleston explorations

Brrr, departing Georgetown for sea…

Charleston, South Carolina is always one of our most favorite stops on the AICW. This time, for the first time, we departed Georgetown, SC, at high tide and ran the current out to sea. Exiting Winyah Bay between the submerged jetties with a 3 knot outflow against a 15 knot wind made steep 4 foot waves! Our boat was going vertical, then diving under waves like a submarine, then driving skyward like a rocket. Holding onto the wheel was a task and, lucky for us, it only lasted for a mile or two. Once past the jetty, we turned south and headed out to the 30 foot deep water where the waves subsided and we could motor sail south to Charleston 68 nm miles away.

Sunrise heading to sea, so calm…just wait

At one point we were asking ourselves….WHAT THE HECK are WE DOING?… we did not foresee the current against wind situation. Our buddy Reuben aboard svPRIORITY, single handing, was harnessed in and hanging on and so was IP38 MOONDANCE. After a great ocean run, we turned into the Charleston Harbor and up to our favorite little spot, the Maritime Center at 10 Wharf Street. This location is so good because it is right off East Bay Street and very close to the Harris Teeter grocery store.

REUBEN did it! 630 nm single handing to Charleston, SC
L-R Reuben, Bob, Nina, Radeen and Hayden

With our team safely docked in Charleston, it was time to celebrate, as this was the first time Reuben on Buddy Boat IP380 PRIORITY had single handed such a long trip. Three weeks ago exactly, Reuben departed Baltimore by himself and ran with us for 630 nm to Charleston, SC! WOW, that is truly amazing and we are so proud of his accomplishment. Reuben is a fantastic man and we really enjoyed our time together. This was truly a time to celebrate with a bottle of Champagne and good snacks. Cruising is such a great life – it is more about the friends than the destinations that you reach. We really have great friends and we enjoy sharing this life together. From here, the team may be going in separate ways and at different times. Reuben will be having crew arriving Tuesday, Bruce Gregory of IP32 Morning Star. Moondance will be making a direct ocean run for Fort Pierce. Team Island Spirit extended our dockage until Monday as we have some other jobs to work on. For now, we will simply walk the town, enjoy the services, and tour the historic sites. There is nothing on the East Coast like Charleston, South Carolina. To arrive from sea makes it that much better.

Here are some photos

Nighttime photo of the Ravenel Bridge and Island Spirit

Auto Carrier GRAVITY HIGHWAY arrives to offload Korean cars

Gravity Highway auto carrier close to the docks in Charleston, SC

One tug boat docking the Gravity Highway

The Old and the New, Gravity Highway and the schooner Pride

Hampton and Connie of mvSNARK, good friends and former IP32 owners

Fine dining at Oak Steak House with our team, Radeen, Bob and Nina

Our good friend Reuben with Hayden

Fine dining for steaks and good red wine. Thank you, Reuben!
Reuben, Hayden, Radeen, Bob, Nina

The Arthur J.Ravenel, Jr, Bridge opened in July 2005.

Charleston is a major shipping port, this is another Auto Carrier
The car lot offloaded and the train cars ready to load,

Sunset on the Ravenel Bridge with the Charleston Harbor Resort Marina

A tour of Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired
Fort Sumter has an impressive display of cannons from all eras

Fort Sumter

Walking the Straw Market Place of Charleston, SC
Cooking Shrimp and Cheese Grits for the team’s farewell dinner

City Hall, Charleston, SC and the First Bank

Charleston has the most beautiful historic buildings

Sunrise over one of the many churches of the “Holy City”

The manager and horse trainer for Old South Carriage Tours

The HUNLEY was a Civil War submarine with a torpedo pole bomb!
Human powered

Mrs. Charleston, Radeen, in front the replica of the Hunley

To the left is the MEGA dock, to the right is MARITIME Center
The action, East Bay Street is to the right.

We are so drawn to cities and we really enjoy spending time in this one. For us, there is something interesting and unique about arriving at a city via boat. We are living this simple boating life style yet we have the conveniences of a city. For us, it really adds to the boating life.

Wrightsville to Georgetown

It takes 3 days to move 140 miles….

Three days of traveling 7 to 8 hours each day, covering only 40-50 miles a day, but moving each day and touring the towns, really does take up your time. It is amazing how busy we all are doing nothing but driving a sailboat south on the Intracoastal waterway. It is really fun, very easy, usually calm, and there is so much diverse beauty along the way that it is never boring. Just when you think it is all looking the same, up comes a bridge or a beautiful curve with interesting trees or the chaos of Myrtle Beach. Diversity is the key word that describes the AICW for us, and that is why we find it so interesting.

This section is 3 days of the USA East Coast

Yes, it takes 30+ days of moving from Annapolis, MD to Miami, FL, but just imagine the variety we see along the coast. There are so many great waterfront towns and harbors that we are often sad to leave. But if we stay at every place we like, we will never reach Florida! The last three days cover from Wrightsville Beach, NC to SouthPort, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC to Georgetown, SC. Within this section there are beautiful beaches, fantastic seaport villages and chaotic Myrtle Beach with its mega houses on the waterway, mobile homes and billboards. South of Myrtle Beach is the most beautiful section, the Waccamaw River where there are Spanish moss laden trees, no developments and pristine waterways.

The high winds we are waiting out

   The Waccamaw River is a place we have enjoyed anchoring before to take in the beauty, but this time we needed to push on to Georgetown, SC. A full Atlantic Gale and storm was coming and we had reserved dock space for safety. One of our favorite highlights in SC is a visit with Debbie and John. We love to catch up on their family and adventures. Thank you for taking time again to connect with Team Island Spirit as we “fly by.”

Photos of the past three days.
(I shot 180 photos with two cameras. These are the best 30 photos.)

Sunrise at Wrightsville Beach, NC

— Depart Wrightsville Beach for Southport —

Google Map: Wrightsville Beach to Southport
Anchored in Southport’s small harbor, room for 2-3 boats
Anchored in Southport, a bustling town with a great toy shop

Nina and Radeen at the Yacht Provisioning Company restaurant in Southport

Hayden, Bob and Reuben dining al fresco in Southport
— Depart Southport for Myrtle Beach, SC —
This stretch is due WEST all day long!

Look at the beauty of this TRUMPY yacht

You don’t see many of these, a TRUMPY yacht, built in Annapolis, MD

 “Annabelle” heading south from Islaboro, Maine
Docked at Barefoot Landing Marina, North Myrtle Beach, SC
John, Radeen, Debbie and Hayden, met at The Flying Fish

— Depart Myrtle Beach for Georgetown, SC —
Google Map of Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC

One of many waterway homes south of Myrtle Beach on the AICW

Look at that stature of three dolphins in front of an infinity pool and waterfall
Another amazing Myrtle Beach waterway home

This home covers three terraced waterfront lots

 Building more new homes in Myrtle Beach

Oh, just what dolphins want….jet skis chasing them!
Traditional AICW waterfront home in Myrtle Beach, before they build a mega home
—- Exit Myrtle Beach Area, Enter the Waccamaw River —
Exiting Myrtle Beach is my favorite bridge: Socastee Swing Bridge
Socastee Bridge entering the Waccamaw River
IP38 Moondance rounding a bend on the Waccamaw River
IP38 Moondance passes a dead head log

The Waccamaw is so beautiful

IP380 Priority following IP38 Moondance
Spanish Moss, Waccamaw River
My favorite tree near Georgetown, SC

— Arrive Georgetown, SC, Dock for the high winds —–

Docked at Harborwalk Marina. Waiting out gale force winds, Fri/Sat/Sun?

— This is our overall plan —

1. Leave Chesapeake Bay
2. Get the boat to Florida
3. Fly out of Miami to Phoenix for a fun Family Thanksgiving

Then, return to Florida for the Keys and West Coast in
December/ January, Miami in February,
 March/April in the Abacos,
and May back to Chesapeake Bay.