Murphy’s Law/ Myers Law/ God’s Timing~
Maybe I should just learn that my timing and urgency isn’t necessarily the Ultimate Plan. Maybe, I need to learn patience and not to rush my plan. I’m guessing this is the lesson. On Saturday at about noon, we threw off the dock lines and headed for the fuel dock on our way out of Brunswick. After fueling up and dumping the head, we departed. ONE mile and just across the bridge we encountered the first problem. While checking the engine, Mike found that the front of the engine was streaming antifreeze and steaming. Mike had replaced all the hoses on the engine, except one that wasn’t included in the hose kit from American Diesel. The piece of hose (an old rubber cap) that wasn’t replaced cracked and antifreeze was streaming out of the engine. So, Mike and Dad devised a plug and got her rigged so we could make it to an anchorage. We were by now about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule.
The channel leaving Brunswick has markers 8 miles into the sea. Therefore we have to motor or sail that far out before turning south. We opted to cruise out of the ICW because it gets a little hairy behind Jekyl Island and we weren’t wanting to risk running aground. However, we got out to the last marker and the seas were pretty rolly. It wasn’t scary and the wind was only 9-11 knots from the NE, but it wasn’t comfortable. We had 3-6 foot seas coming from what seemed like every direction, but was mainly the north. We got our cutter sail up and headed south. The temp was in the 60’s and the breeze was brisk. (Side note; I’ve been wearing my North Face coat most days since leaving SD. Not something I thought would happen. Funny how one climatizes so quickly.) Mike was pretty seasick after he went below deck checking the engine. Matthew had a bit of a meltdown, then decided that he was comfortable on the floor of the aft cabin wrapped in his blanket.
We had by now decided we weren’t going to make it to our original destination of St Marys river at the southern end of Cumberland Island. We chose the northern end in the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway AKA The Ditch) to anchor for the night. This took several hours to reach and was after dark as we came in to St Andrews Sound. We were praying the GPS was accurate as this was new territory for us and there are shallows several miles into the Ocean. At our first marker approaching the sound, we hit 9′ depths. Our draw is 5’4″, thankfully, but that was a little uncomfortable. With Mike and Dad both watching for the markers, we made it safely to our anchorage and dropped the hook. We then made supper and settled in for the night.
Awaking to an amazing sunrise, we broke our fast and headed down the Ditch for St Marys. On our way, we had a few other very shallow areas (6-7′ in one place) and passed a Navy Submarine Base. This was very cool. There is a large “degaussing” station in the channel to navigate around. Apparently some cruisers have been witness to subs coming into the base. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be for us. We made it to the mouth of the North River, where we would approach the boat yard to haul out to paint the bottom. We anchored for about an hour and made lunch and waited for high tide. The approach is a narrow river that is shallow at low tide. We followed succinct directions that are provided by the yard and made it without problem. About 3/4 in we had a dolphin escort, which was fun. We had seen a few along the way, as well- it’s always exciting.
When we arrived we were pulled into the lift backwards. We hadn’t hauled out before, so this was all new to us. These men are skilled, let me tell ya. I had minimal maneuvering to do, as they guided us and pulled on Voyager with gaffs. As soon as we were in the sling, they assisted us off the boat. I walked the dogs and tried to keep the peace between our dogs and the yard dogs. I soon saw Mike approaching with a not so happy look on his face. It seems that one of the crew noticed “oil canning” on our starboard side. This is basically a deformation of the hull- it looks like dents. This is caused by a weakness in the deck with the knee, hull and deck beginning to separate. Not good news for us! If we hadn’t hauled out to paint the bottom at Mike’s insistence it could have been detrimental for us. The rigging attaches to the chain plate. The chain plate attaches to the knee. The knee is supported by the hull and the deck. In a strong wind or rocky sea, this could lead to a de-masting of our boat. (A few years ago we had experienced a de-masting on our MacGregor 25- that was traumatic enough- nothing compared to what this would have been.) We discovered the deck was weak from previous water damage and had bulged upward 3/8 of an inch. The tabbing on the hull that attaches the knee to the hull had separated 1/4 of an inch. When will I learn to listen when Mike is feeling particularly led to do something?
So- that night, Sunday, we painted the bottom of the boat with 3 coats. Voyager remained in the sling and we discussed and prayed about the situation. We were happy to find that a boat builder and rigger were both available for consultation as well as the many other “experts” who live or hanging around the yard.
The next morning after all the opinions were made, it was decided we have at least 1, maybe 2 or 3 weeks of work to do. Voyager was presently unsafe and needed to be dealt with. After coming out of the sling and put on stands, the hull shape improved, minimally. Where the deck was raising at the placement of the chain plates, weight was applied. That also helped, minimally. Mike began ripping into the interior cabinets on the starboard side. He found the interior woodwork was rotten and easy to remove. Thankfully, he didn’t feel he needed to dismantle the fronts, where the stained glass doors and beautiful teak wood work are appealing to look at. An assessment and more conversations, now also including the man who conducted our survey, showed where the fiberglass on the hull was separating from the knee. More bad news.
Now, Mike has rigged a frame inside the boat that stabilizes the hull and it has regained the shape. When he did this, our aft cabin door began closing easily. We had thought humidity was to blame for the difficulty in closing it the last few days. So, with that sorted, a plan for restructuring and reinforcing was made. Ron, the boat builder and John, the rigger have made several stops to see how she’s looking and make suggestions and guide Mike through the process. This week, beginning tomorrow, we will move into a motel while the fiberglass work is done. The dust and fumes will make it necessary. This is absolutely not what we had planned on happening and are pretty disappointed. However, since it has happened, we are grateful that it was found here. This is a one-of-a- kind place with helpful, friendly people and great service. We aren’t wonting for much.
Sean flew in to Sanford/Orlando Friday night. I went to pick him up and we returned to the boat at 0200. He and dad will fly back to South Dakota Monday. The boat is going to feel so lonely! My mother’s heart has been so happy to have Sean here and Dad has been with us for nearly a month. I’ll miss the company and old stories.
Yesterday, we explored St Marys a little. Unfortunately, due to the government shutdown, the Cumberland Island museum and all services are closed. We had fun, anyway. We have also discovered a fantastic dog park and spend time there, everyday. We have met other dog owners there and enjoy visiting with them. We woke up today to a calendar notification on my phone telling us it’s our anniversary! After 11 years, I finally have a reminder that we notice. Mike and I are neither one good at remembering this, for some reason. Maybe we will get a lunch out as a reward- haha!
Right- so I think I’ll sign off, here. There is much work to be done and writing this blog post has been a process- it’s been lost and revamped and I’ve been trying for awhile to attach photos. The Wifi is sketchy and Mike likes to review the details of what’s happened to be honest and precise. Here’s a couple provisioning pictures (remember how much I was dreading that task), the second also shows the cabinetry I was hoping to save.
So- with that said-