Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Way Down in Virginny Town

Well, here I am aboard a 65' Outer Reef on a delivery to Florida. My friends Cory and Kevin are involved in this thing (Cory's the Captain, Kevin and I are the crew). This is an expedition trawler. Quite a lovely boat, actually.

We're tied up at a really nice marina, the Atlantic Yacht Basin, just south of the lock in the ICW south of Norfolk, Va.

We left a couple of days ago and a series of lows came across the mid-Atlantic states making the outside really, really uncomfortable with spray over the pilothouse and 8-10 foot waves. Sure, the boat has stabilizers, but there's a limit. Also, since we're running someone else's boat, we came inside at Cape May and up the Delaware to the C & D Canal, and down the Chesapeake. We're running 24 hours a day when outside on 3 hours on watch, 6 off.

Although this is a paid position it's still fun. Let's face it, you can crew on an old, beat to crap sailboat or a modern motor yacht and I'm telling you that unless you're a glutton for punishment, you'll go for the motor yacht. Heat, A/C, long showers (because of a water maker), full galley, stabilizers so the boat doesn't roll (it still pitches and yaws), and some very nice living arrangements makes the trip quite nice even if it's not my very own boat.

On the ICW we only run dawn to dusk. You can run at night but it's not really recommended. It's very nervous making and with a 2.5 million dollar yacht at your command and you'd better think twice before taking the risk.

There are a bunch of lows marching across the US as is normal for this time of year so every day we have to decide daily whether to go outside or not. For the next couple of days we'll be inside bypassing Cape Hatteras and if possible we'll leave from Beaufort, NC to go outside. More on that later in another blog.

So after a rough night outside the coast of New Jersey and a moderately tense night down the Chesapeake, we're here.

Getting from Mile Marker 1 in Norfolk to Old Bridge which should take 45 minutes took almost 4 hours today. Jeez, what a pain. We had 30 boats or so trying to get through bridges that only open on the hour or a lock that fills and empties at the speed of the boaters involved. It was nice to see some professionalism in the boaters (and some not). Only one boat ran aground and only one person ended up in the water - trying to get his inflatable out from under his self steering gear.

Tomorrow we'll be heading to Beaufort, NC, as I mentioned. The ICW can be very beautiful so I'm looking forward to the trip.

Will write more when I can - I hope to see you on the water!

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