Just as the sailing season began winding down, opportunities for boat deliveries turned up. The first was a short run, with owner on board, from Sandy Hook, NJ to Annapolis, MD – a simple 3 day run. What started as such, turned into something of an adventure.
With good weather forecast with favorable winds all the way, we departed Atlantic Highland yacht basin early morning, October 19th. The boat was a beautiful Gozzard 36 in great condition, and a very comfortable sailing boat.
The run out of the harbor was uneventful on flat water and light winds ……
Rounding Sandy Hook we had a distant view of the NYC skyline ….
Winds began to pick up and we got sails up for the expected skate down the Jersey coast to Cape May and the Delaware Bay.
As with so many good plans, conditions changed. Turning south we found head winds and moderate chop. We were forced to tack well off shore, and made several such tacks working our way down the coast. It was a moonless night with limited visibility, but clear and cold. In the middle of the night we picked up the lights of Atlantic City about the time the engine rpms fluctuated, dropped and died…….. With only one other boat in sight, it was easy to sail on, if slow, and progressively further off shore while we sorted out the engine issue. Turns out it was water in the fuel, and cleaning the racor filter got us back motor-sailing more directly toward our destination. The sun came up to another pleasant day, if still a bit choppy..
A few more hours and we turned into Cape May.
Adventure two was just around the corner. Having had fuel issues, we decided it prudent to fill the tank, so headed into the marina. As we turned the corner in the channel and slowed engine speed to idle, the overheating alarm sounded – shut down and coasted up to the outer pilings to assess the problem. After exhausting our ideas and talking with the marina staff, we restarted and made a quick run into the marina fuel slip. An hour or so of further assessment, and consulting calls to my service tech gave us confidence to continue on with the caution to keep the rpms up to where the engine temp stayed in normal range. So on up Delaware Bay. Not much wind help, but incoming tided helped us along as the sun set on day two……
As night descended, we were making good progress and expected to arrive in Annapolis the next morning. It was an uneventful trip though the C&D canal despite a scolding from a tug captain who thought we were in his way as we entered the canal. While well lit, it is still a dark ride.
The dark calls for caution when passing on-coming traffic including the large Cargo ship Bess – sorry, no pix, we were busy. As we approached the west end of the canal, lightning lit up the sky, and soon the rain began. Exiting the canal put us in heavy rain and 15-20kt winds and chop. Visibility was down to maybe 100 yds. Following the chartplotter, we made it around to the Sassafras River and dropped anchor near what appeared to be a shore-based light. A spot light from there tagged us, and after assuring good holding, we went below for some much needed sleep.
The morning found us anchored about 150yds from a large motor yacht – guess we misjudged the shore line!
The run down the Bay was quite a ride. Winds were on the stern quarter blowing 15-25kts. Seas gradually built from 2-3ft waves to 5-7 feet, short period. Our speed over ground, motor sailing with genoa and stay sail was 7-11kts – the 11 came when surfing down the 7ft waves. Once under the Bay Bridge, conditions improved and we pulled into Jabin’s Yacht Yard right on schedule after a quick stop for Fuel and pump out.
Good company, a variety of sailing conditions and minor emergencies made for an interesting three days!