|Heading North in 2010|
|By the summer of 2010 I had spent nearly a year
at the Bridgepointe Marina in New Bern, NC. I hadn't
planned it that way, it just happened. I stopped there in
June, 2009 to take a break before continuing north. I
liked the area and decided to spend the rest of the summer there
before heading back south in the fall. Then a sailing
friend offered me a berth on her boat for a passage from the Med
to the Caribbean. I signed on and extended my slip in New
Bern to the spring of 2010.
The night before I was to fly from New Bern to Gibraltar I developed a severe tooth ache. It was clear this was a seriously infected tooth and I would not be able to make those flights. With the help of some serious pain medication I was able to survive for a little over a week until I could get an appointement with a periodontist and have the pleasure of a root canal treatment on the tooth. By this time I was out the cost of the tickets I had purchased to Gib plus the cost of a root canal. I'd paid for the slip for another 6 months so I was kinda stuck in New Bern until the spring.
|The next spring I had Sarah hauled and the bottom cleaned and painted in anticipation of continuing north to the Chesapeake Bay. Then I got an email from an old crewmate from previous races on the Chesapeake Bay and the Annapolis to Bermuda Race. He was looking for crew for the delivery of a Bertram 54 Sport Fisherman from Orange Beach, AL to Belfast, ME. This was a paid position, so I immediately accepted the offer. The money from this delivery covered the cost of replacing the Walter RV20 V-Drive with a new RV26.|
|By the time I was back in New Bern from the delivery it was early August. I decided to push north and test the V-Drive for a short visit back to the Chesapeake Bay.|
|I was in a hurry to get north and pushed it hard to get back to the Chesapeake in a little over 4 days. On the way north, a wound on my ankle, from repeated bashings on the delivery, began to fester. A large blister formed over the wound, which then burst a few days later. I cleaned and disinfected the wound and covered it with a bandage. However, my ankle began to swell and discolor. Clearly I had a problem.|
|The other problem was Hurricane Earl, which was heading for the Mid-Atlantic coast. I needed to get to a secure berth as quickly as possible and then to a medical facility.|
|I made great time from the anchorage at the head of the
Pungo River to Coinjock, NC. Then from Coinjock to
Norfolk, VA. I hit all of the bridges from Coinjock to
Chesapeake, VA within 10 minutes of their scheduled openning.
The final bride was the Gilmerton, which opens on demand.
I figured I would have no more issues with bridge opennings.
Boy, was I wrong.
Gilmerton Bridge, Chesapeake, VA
Large Coal Carrier in the Gilmerton Bridge
|As soon as I had the bridge in sight I
contacted the bridge tender to ask for an openning. She
responded I need to talk to the vessel Dove, which was preparing
to transit bridge. That didn't make sense as there is
plenty of room for yachts to pass within the span of the bridge.
I contacted the Dove, and the pilot said they would need all of
the bridge span to complete their transit.
Only then did I look across the bridge and see that the Dove was in fact a very large coal carrier.
|It took almost
an hour for the Dove to transit the bridge with the help of two
tugs, and then be secured to the coal terminal.
Finally the bridge was clear, but the bridge tender would not open it for another half hour to let the backed up traffic clear.
I had hoped to be able to find an anchorage in the lower Chesapeake Bay that evening, but the delay at the Gilmerton Bridge caused me to stop for the night in Willoughby Bay before entering the Chesapeake.
The Dove being berthed at the Coal Terminal
|Even that stop was not without incident as I
ran aground on a falling tide at the entrance to Willoughby Bay.
I was hard aground and unable to get free, so after an hour of
trying, I used my unlimited towing from Boat/US to get Sarah
pulled off the shoal and finally anchored for the night.
The next day I motored up the bay in a calm to the Great Wicomico River, and then the following day tied Sarah to friends' dock on the Patuxent River. By this time Hurricane Earl was no longer a major threat, but my ankle was a real problem.
|That evening my friends drove me to the local
clinic to have my wound examined. The doctor said I had a
badly infected wound and it needed to be treated immediately,
something the clinic could not do. They did give me a
prescription for pain management and an anti-biotic.
The next day my friends drove me to the Wound Center at the Calvert Memorial Hospital in Prince Frederick, MD. The wound center gave me an appointment to return for treatment in a few days. Then the torture began. The doctor cut out the infected tissue with scapel, and then inserted sterile tape saturated with medication that would disovle the remaining infected tissue into the hole she had cut. This is apparently the modern version of using maggots to remove the infected tissue.
|I'm not sure I wouldn't have preferred
I was supposed to clean the wound with a saline solution each day and replace the tape in the wound. I found replacing the tape impossible giving that I could not see the wound when I bent over close enough to touch it. The picture on the left shows my failed attempt to push the tape into the wound.
|The Wound Center had me on a weekly visit to
continue the cleaning and cutting of the wound. I couldn't
ask my friends to be my permanent chaufers, so I rented a
car for a month.
My planned visit and cruising of the Chesapeake in September was limited to staying in the Patuxent River.
|By the end of September the wound had healed and
the Wound Center took me off the weekly checkups. Now
it was time to start heading south once again. Friends Tim
Kirpatrick and Steve Angst helped me move Sarah south to
Jacksonvill, FL for the winter.
On that trip Tim and I took Sarah down the AICW to New Bern, NC where we were joined by Steve. Then we sailed out the Beaufort Inlet heading for the St. John River Entrance. We were able to sail and motor-sail that first night in the ocean. At first light the next day the sails were furled and we motored through that day and night arriving off the St. John River just before dawn. Around noon we entered the Ortega River and approached one of the facing docks at the Ortega Yacht Club Marina.
As we prepared to pass lines to people on the dock I discovered that I had no reverse. Forturnately the people on the dock were experienced line handlers and we were able to berth Sarah without any damage or anyone getting hurt.
The loss of reverse power was the beginning of an extended saga on the subject of transmission re-builds and failed damper plates.