SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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These are all the Blogs posted in October, 2011.
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Friday, 28
Atlantic City, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 5
We departed from the docks at 1515 hours after hanging out at the Atlantic City docks most of the day waiting for low tide in order to get under the Absecon Boulevard Bridge. Low tide was at 1548 hours and it would take us about 30 minutes or so to make it to the bridge… wanted to hit it at dead low tide to be sure we had adequate clearance.

We arrived at the bridge and could see the sign boards that indicated the clearance… they were covered with barnacles but it appeared to read about 23 to 34 feet clearance… we approached slowly… Susan went out on the upper deck to check if we were going to clear… she came back down and said it looked fine… We passed under with a couple of feet clearance… ?

Now that the low bridge was behind us we planned to go south another couple of miles to an anchorage that was listed in Skipper Bob’s Cruising Guide… Ventnor City.. then we would leave from there at sunrise while we had a rising tide to continue south towards Cape May, NJ. We had several other bridges that we would have to get opened to make it to the anchorage… the first we came to was the NJDOT Beach Thorofare RR Bridge… according to the guides it was an unattended bridge that was operated by remote control… they had cameras to monitor things… hailed them and they opened up with no problems and we continued on… directly behind it was another bridge with 35 foot clearance… no problem getting under it.

Just ahead was the next bridge we needed to have opened… the Albany Avenue Bridge… I was just getting ready to hail it when Sails took a dive to the starboard… she does this when there is shallow water near by… I slowed down and Sails totally spun around 180 degrees… depth sounder was flashing “LAST 5.5”… I slowly turned Sails back around and checked our path to be sure we were in the channel… yep… dead center… I moved to try the starboard side of the channel and moved forward… grounded out… backed off and moved to the port side of the channel… grounded out… backed off… did not appear to be any path deep enough to continue on… I turned around and moved back to anchor and wait out the tide when the port engine alarm went off… overheating… shut it down and continued to position the boat to anchor… dropped the hook in 30 feet of water just 100 yards from where we were grounding out.

After we were anchored securely I went to the engine room to check the engines… In the grounding and backing off I found that I had sucked a lot of mud/muck into the sea strainers… I cleaned them both out and started the engines to check for water flow… starboard engine was fine... port engine was not pumping water… I checked the hose from the sea strainer to the engine raw water pump and it was clear no mud… only thing it could be was the raw water pump impeller… I removed the pump cover and sure enough the impeller was in pieces… I carry a couple of spares so I popped the old out and a new in it’s place... Started the engine and checked for water flow… took a little longer than I thought it would but it started flowing… ?

At this point it the tide had already switched and had come back in enough that we could of continued on but, it was getting dark and no need to continue on as where we were going to anchor was just a couple of miles ahead and where we were anchored would be fine for the night. So we are on the hook at N39° 21.641’, W074° 27.026’ safe and sound for the night… will continue on at sunrise.

We traveled the second leg of today for 1 hour and 15 minutes covering 5.2 nautical miles and averaging 4.14 knots.

Trip totals to date:

Distance: 263.63 nautical miles
Hours: 42 hours 51 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.15 knots
Posted at 8:46 PM by:Jay

Atlantic City, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 5
We departed from the city docks at Atlantic City at 0845 hours and due to the winds we would take the inside passage and not attempt the Atlantic today. During the evening hours the winds had picked up blowing 30-35 knots most of the evening with a lot of rain. The forecast was for 15-20 knot winds out of the North with gusts to 25 knots... not good at all. It was definitely traveling inside.

We had done the inside from Cape May to Atlantic City a few years ago but the water depths were a little skinny and we scrapped bottom a few times. The maintenance to this route is pretty much non existent as far as I know and it could of only gotten worse but we had an incoming tide which would give us the maximum water depth for the trip.

We had traveled maybe two miles when we came to the Absecon Boulevard Bridge... clearance on the sign boards stated 18 feet... we require 21 feet so I hailed the bridge as we approached... no response... hailed several times with no response... I could see construction taking pace at the bridge and thought to myself they must be on a restricted opening and sometimes bridge tenders are not the nicest people and do not respond to hails when they think you are suppose to be aware of what is taking place at their bridge... We came right up to within 100 yards of the bridge and I could see a small sign using the binoculars that stated the bridge was closed for maintenance from Sept 16, 2011 till Jan 21, 2012.... UGGGG!

It was close to high tide and this area has almost a 6 foot rise and fall so we would be able to clear the bridge at low tide... but then we would have problems with water depth as we traveled south. We decided to return to the City docks and wait till low tide and then return to the bridge... clear it and stop some place below the bridge for the night and wait for the incoming tide on Saturday morning and make our way south then.

We had no choice but to take the inside route as the forecast for offshore in the Atlantic was only getting worse in the upcoming days.

At approximately 1000 hours we were again safely docked at the City docks adjacent to the Aquarium in Atlantic City, NJ. We had traveled for 1 hours and 15 minutes covering 6.83 nautical miles averaging 5.46 knots.

Trip totals to date:

Distance: 258.43 nautical miles
Hours: 41 hours 36 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.21 knots
Posted at 11:21 AM by:Jay
Thursday, 27
Manasquan, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 4
We departed from Manasquan, NJ at 0830 hours and our plans were to travel to Atlantic City, NJ today. The forecast was for 10-15 knot winds out of the west and rain... the wind from the west would allow us to hug the coast and not have a lot of wave action. Well, that is what I had planned for... :)

We exited the inlet and things looked good... small rollers from the Southeast and the 10-15 knot winds were non existent... winds were 4-6 knots... BUT they were not coming out of the west as predicted... instead they were out of the south almost directly on our nose.

As the day progressed we started seeing other boats traveling south... most were larger SeaRay type cruiser moving along at a good pace... we did pass ne sailboat just before Barnegat Light Inlet... 25-26 foot... we heard them on the radio later asking about Barnegat Light Inlet... the winds had increased to the 10-15 knots as predicted but not out of the west... they were directly out of the south and they were helping the rollers to increase in size... soon we had 4-6 foot rollers... they had about a 6-7 second period which smoothed the ride slightly and we were not pounding as we had in Long Island Sound.

We had gone several miles past Barnegat Light Inlet when we heard the small sailing vessel we had passed hailing the Coast Guard... they were hailing for assistance and were in trouble in the inlet... we tried to listen to see what had happened but the communication between the Coast Guard and the small sailboat stopped... so not sure what happened... that's just a bad inlet to attempt in rough seas... hopefully, they were ok... never heard anything more about it.

The conditions continued to get worse and worse and soon the ride was uncomfortable. We still had about 3.5 hours to go and we continued on passing only fishing boats running what appeared to be nets.

As we approached Atlantic City the gray skies started to change to blue in front of and we could see the large casinos looming up into sky on the horizon. They appeared as if they were just moments away but we still had 10 miles to go... and at the speed we were making that was equating to 1.5 hours... :(

At approximately 1720 hours we were safely docked at the City docks adjacent to the Aquarium in Atlantic City, NJ. We had traveled for 8 hours and 50 minutes covering 53.0 nautical miles averaging 6.0 knots.

Trip totals to date:

Distance: 251.6 nautical miles
Hours: 40 hours 21 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.23 knots
Posted at 10:56 AM by:Jay
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