Chris here! We're still here in Beaufort, NC. It's a very nice town with a big main street with lots of little shops to peruse. We took advantage of this and did a lot of our Christmas shopping while art the town docks.
Sail Magazine rated Beaufort General Store's as the nicest laundry on the ICW, and so far I'd have to agree. It's not all that exciting to most people with washers and dryers at home, but having new machines, and lots of them, is a very cool thing! The past few places we've been have one, maybe two, machines that are ancient. Here, they have a dozen washers and over a dozen dryers! OK... I just realized what I wrote. I can't believe we've only been out here for 3 weeks and already I'm getting excited over laundry!
The best thing that's happened to us since arriving in Beaufort is that we've met another cruising family - one with kids the same age as Casey and Kaitlin! We were just getting off Pelican to head into town when they walked up and asked if we were living aboard. It turns out that they are from s/v/ Evolution, a wonderful 53' Roberts designed cutter built of steel. Their girl, Marit, is 9 and their younger son, Olaf, is 12. They have an older 15 year old son, Lars. They are from Holland but have lived in the states for a few years, and left New Jersey at approximately the same time we left Annapolis, but they plan to circumnavigate.
We've been hanging out with them every day, and it's fascinating to talk to them about the differences between our culture and theirs. The kids get along great, and are planning to have a sleepover in the next couple of nights - Kaitlin and Marit on Pelican and Casey and Olaf on Evolution (sidenote: I'm not sure how we won having the two girls).
Yesterday we moved from the town docks to an anchorage on the other side of town. We were paying $100 a night for a slip, and while we enjoyed having shore power, fresh water, showers and being tied up to a slip, we can't justify staying there. I've updated our location to show the exact position of our anchorage. The move was straightforward, except our starting battery has pretty much died - we couldn't start the engine, so we had to start the generator to start the engine. I guess it's time for me to take the new starting battery I have sitting on the floor next to me and actually install it.
Anchoring is fairly new to us, but, knock on wood, we're not dragging. It was 35 degrees and windy when we moved yesterday, and the first time we dropped the hook Kristen forgot to count how much we were putting out.
There's a formula to how much chain and rode you put out. You figure out what the water depth is (with your depth sounder). You add the distance from your bow to the water and add that to it. Then you figure out the tidal variation and add that to the figure. The rule of thumb is that you want to put out a 5:1 scope, or 5 times the total figure you come up with, in normal winds. In heavy winds or storms you want to put out 7:1 or even 10:1. We're sitting in 12 feet of water, have two feet to the water and a 2 foot tidal variation, so the minimum rode we should have out is 80 feet at 5:1. If you don't follow the "rules", there's a good chance you'll drag your anchor and end up grounding or hitting someone else's boat.
Since Kristen forgot to count, we had to haul the anchor back in and reset it. With the cold and the wind, and the fact that we have a manual windlass, it wasn't fun but we did it. She still refuses to let me get an electric windlass that would just haul the anchor up by hitting a switch. Grrr! Perhaps a few more times of hauling and resetting, or anchoring in nasty conditions, will change her mind. Don't tell her I said that!
Our plan for the moment is to spend Christmas Day here in Beaufort and then leave for Charleston on Friday. The winds are looking OK so far, but we're keeping a careful eye on the forecast. For Christmas, we have a leg of lamb, stuffing (yeah - no turkey since it won't fit in our oven, but we have to have stuffing!) and a whole ton of other food. Our friends from Evolution will be joining us. This will probably be the last time we see them since they plan to head directly to the Bahamas from here, but I'm sure we'll meet plenty of other wonderful people along the way!
Here's an "it's a small world" story for you. Our old autopilot broke on the way down from Connecticut to Annapolis, so I took the part that still worked to Bacon's, a sailing consignment shop in Annapolis. The day I took it there, someone posted, on a message board I frequent, that they needed the exact part I took to Bacon's. I pointed them in the right direction, and less than 24 hours after I brought the unit there it was sold. Fast forward to this week. On a different message board I posted a question about our trip to Charleston. A member of the board said that their kids were about a week ahead of us and that I could call them if I had any questions. They reached out to their kids to let them know that we may be calling them, and it turns out that they were the ones that bought our old autopilot! What are the odds?
Anyway, I'm off to do, well, stuff. We'll talk to y'all soon!