Offshore to Chesapeake

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Leaving Brunswick Offshore to Chesapeake Bay SPOT Battle of the Flies  
Leaving Brunswick

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Wednesday 4th June 2008


Geoff with his new gadget


There are some decisions to make along the way. Because Brunswick is so far west, our journey north will actually be northeast. Due to the curvature of the coastline we will reach 50 to 60 miles offshore, but have to either get into the Gulf Stream or stay well clear so we do not pick up any reverse currents that occur along the edges of the stream.

We will pass Savannah, in Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Beaufort, North Carolina, taking us to Cape Hatteras. The Cape is notorious for bad weather so we will listen carefully to updated forecasts before committing to go around.

Once around Cape Hatteras, we turn northwest and head for the Chesapeake entrance. 

Electric winches cost around $7,000. A 28 volt angled rechargeable Milwaukee electric drill and a bit to fit the winch makes an excellent alternative at a fraction of the cost.



Offshore to Chesapeake Bay

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Lone sailor on "Thursday's Child"



Dolphins keeping Dream On company






Sarah Creek, York River, Virginia

Great sailing day the first day, Wednesday – best sailing ever, sails set perfectly and humming along.

Thursday, Into Gulf Stream, but too rough with a weak following wind and sea, flopping all over the place. Back towards the coast and out of the stream.

During Thursday, there was only one other yacht in sight, way off on the horizon. A steady watch for 10 minutes or so indicated that we were doing about the same speed and on a slightly converging course. Three hours later and with the whole of the North Atlantic available, our paths did cross...exactly. We had the right of way, so stayed at the wheel waiting for the other boat "Thursday's Child" to alter course. Solo skipper must have been zombied as he looked at us and took no action. After we had altered course and gone around his stern, he suddenly awoke and acknowledged us.

Picked up some wind which lasted until early Friday, then no wind. 

Motored most of Friday in calm seas. 

Sailed a little Friday night until we came to a halt as the wind dropped.

Motored again Saturday and most of Saturday night as we rounded Cape Hatteras on calm glassy seas in record temperatures of over 100F with not a breath of wind.

There were some serious wild fires in the Hatteras area and the smoke was blowing out over the sea. Even 15 miles offshore, we were in smoke haze, wood smoke smell and taste and low visibility. Quite eerie!

We experienced several visits from dolphins. The most memorable on Friday evening when we must have had a pod of 20 or so travelling with us and playing for at least an hour.

As the water was so calm, we also saw several large turtles, just basking on the surface. They didn't hang around long when we arrived on the scene though. A quick flipper flap and gone.

We had made good time overall, and realised we would arrive too early at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay Sunday morning. So in the early hours, we raised the genoa and just drifted north slowly at 2 knots in order to arrive at what we thought might be a complicated Chesapeake entrance at dawn onto a rising tide.

Entered easily, (no space hogging naval traffic, just a few tankers and enormous container ships), as the tide turned. As we entered the last of the ebb tide flow we were reduced from 6.5 knots to 3. But within 30 minutes were back up to 7.

We arrived safely in the Chesapeake and are now enjoying a very nice quiet anchorage in Sarah Creek, off the York River. (Thanks to Bobbie and Gordon for the location advice).


Sunrise over the North Atlantic




Container ship entering Chesapeake Bay



Chesapeake Bridge/Tunnel which extends all the way across the Chesapeake Bay entrance

  New Gadget - SPOT      






SPOT is a new Personal Location Messenger

Very simple to use, (as long as you leave it on long enough to send the message!). Will call for help if required.

Will send your location on a regular basis to friends and family.

A tremendous tool for offshore sailors, hikers, para-glider pilots, snowboarders and the like..

Our intention was to send a SPOT location message every 12 hours or so on our offshore trip. However, the old adage of reading the instructions TWICE comes into play. Turns out we were switching it off before it had sent the message!.... Duh.

Anyway, we've now sussed it and should be OK for the future. Great to track travels on Google Maps.

Brunswick, Georgia - Time:06/04/2008 11:34:14 (GMT),-81.4995&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sarah Creek, York River, Virginia - Time:06/10/2008 18:09:18 (GMT),-76.4768&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


  Battle of the Flies

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Who's winning?

Big wild fires inshore Hatteras so deluged in smoke with little visibility for much of Saturday.

Because of smoke every flying creature possible left Hatteras and boarded Dream On.

Not company of our choice. Everything was biting, even normal flies. Geoff’s target practice has made him an ace with the fly swot.


Sports fish boat in smoke haze off Cape Hatteras

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Chesapeake Bay - Virginia coast












USA: 1-954 4785948        UK:  +44 7855388258         Skype: geoff.iza