South Florida

I continued south the past couple weeks, mostly on the ICW, and passed through or by Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, Jacksonville, FL, and St, Augustine. Here is a bridge I passed by in Charleston Harbor.

I stayed on the ICW because for several days I was getting warnings from the Coast Guard on my VHF saying that hurricane Teddy was causing high winds, up to 40 knots and heavy seas, up to 25 feet offshore. So I played it safe and stayed inside.

I did some research and found that a 10 foot wave on my beam could roll my boat over so I do not want to take a chance. By the way in very heavy seas the boat can pitchpole which is if the wave is coming at your stern or bow and is so steep the boat is flipped from end to end. This is what happened to the fishing boat in the movie The Perfect Storm. This is rare but can occur in very heavy seas. Much more common is waves at your side, or beam. As I said apparently only 10 foot waves can roll my boat. The good thing about sailboats, though, is that they have a heavy keel on the bottom so staying upside down is unstable. If a wave rolls a sailboat, more than likely it will just pop back upright, assuming there is no other damage. But the cabin inside is likely to be a total mess, as well as possible damage to your mast, rigging and sails.

Then there was a period of calm after Teddy passed by. You’ve got to take advantage of these “weather windows” when they appear. Forecast was 1-2 foot seas, winds 10 knots or less, so I headed out into the ocean on a planned 80 mile, 24 hour passage from Charleston, SC to St. Catherine’s Sound, GA.

The ocean was quiet, some swells but nothing serious. But also no wind. I put up the sails anyway and tried to catch some wind while motoring at 3 knots to save fuel. It stayed like that petty much all night. I crossed the Savannah shipping lanes at 2 am and a container ship hailed me asking if I could go around his stern since we were on a collision course. I finally dozed off at 3 am and slept in 30 minute intervals until sunrise at 7 am.

Here’s a short video of that evening in the ocean.
Ocean Evening

I was rewarded with a magical sunrise. This is the actual photo. No digital editing. What’s the saying? Red sky in morning sailors take warning?

I did another outside run from Brunswick, GA to St. Augustine, FL, about 60 miles. Not too bad, a little rolly and some rain. On the way I passed the M/V Golden Ray, a cargo ship that capsized On Saturday, September 8, 2019, in St. Simon’s Sound, near Brunswick, GA.

The Golden Ray measures 656 feet in length and is 83 feet wide, which is roughly the height of a 7 story building. It was carrying 4,200 Kia and Hyundai vehicles at the time of the accident. The investigation is ongoing but shifting cargo and improper ballast are suspected. The ship was leaving the sound and entered into a narrow channel. Another cargo ship was entering at the same time, so the Golden Ray moved to the edge of the channel. It may have turned too fast, forcing the ship to list, which in turn shifted the cargo to the point of instability. All 23 crewmembers were rescued unharmed.

In October 2019 the ship was declared a total loss and it now being prepared to be cut up into 8 sections, each weighing 4000 tons, to be sold as scrap. What a disaster.

Here is an internet photo of the vessel shorly after it capsized.

I’ve been plagued by gnats for the past few months. I’ve tried everything from flypaper to spray to mothballs to UV lights to vinegar traps. Can’t seem to get rid of them. Anyone have a solution?

Besides the gnat problem my only other issue was that my engine cooling water pump started leaking. I checked it out and it is most likely a worn seal. I have ordered a replacement and will effect repairs at the soonest opportunity.

Continuing down the ICW, I saw several sunken vessels. Here’s another one with a Biden flag stuck onto it. Haha.

One thing I have been doing is baking bread. It is super easy and tastes delicious fresh. I have a propane gas powered stove and oven so it’s easy to do this, provided the seas aren’t too rough.

Another great sunset along the ICW.

Well I guess that’s it for now. I am currently just north of Jupiter, FL, headed to Ft. Lauderdale and then the Florida Keys or the Bahamas. Depends on hurricanes. Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “South Florida

  1. Greg Snell October 4, 2020 / 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the update and the video. So if you started thinking about around the world trip? How long before you’re ready for that?

    • Kevin Koski October 5, 2020 / 8:24 pm

      Greg, I am a long way from that. This boat is not made for ocean crossings for one thing. Plus, I need a lot more experience before I tackle that. No, my plan is to sail around the Caribbean for a couple years. Maybe then I will be ready to tackle an ocean crossing.

  2. Deirdre ? Brownlow October 4, 2020 / 8:57 pm

    You’ve continued to impress me and also give me an appreciation for sailing (I’ve done some). The Atlantic side sure sounds stormy. Beautiful sunsets!

    • Kevin Koski October 5, 2020 / 8:28 pm

      Hey Deirdre, I have a new respect for the ocean. When things are calm and smooth it is nice but when the waves and storms pick up I must admit, I am terrified. Especially being alone, you know there’s no help if things go wrong. I just hope I don’t do anything stupid. HAHA.

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