12: A Rainy Night in Georgia for Lee Hughes
From: Adrienne Faherty
To: ...; Uncle Al ; ...; Frank Dye ; Brian A McCleery
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 4:23 AM
Hughes Nughes 12
All's well here after an interesting day on Wednesday when I turned back for the first time on this trip due to weather. I was trying to cross St. Andrew Sound (north of Cumberland Sound in SE Georgia) in fog and wind, and might have made it but decided that I would not risk it.
jolly wind just didn't come from where the forecast
predicted when I made my plan in the morning so I
was motoring along, navigating by compass, and the
wind and sea rose steadily. Beating into it got
everything wet but I pumped out as I sailed. It
wasn't too cold but it was a bit glum. There was no
shelter at all unless I turned and ran before the
wind (easy and fast) all the way back to somewhere a
few miles short of where I started that day. That
shelter spot wasn't a whole lot better so I elected
to beach the boat on a lee shore of Little
Cumberland Island (a private nature reserve) and
wait for the tide to drop and leave me snug on the
sand. The waves off shore were way too choppy for
comfort and I was afraid of dragging my
Other Little Cumberland links: http://www.bansemer.com/georgia_lighthouses/little_cumberland_island.htm
beached her and she snugged down OK, but when the
next high tide came just before dawn it rocked the
boat on the sand a lot and basically sanded quite a
bit of the new antifoul off her. And it was a higher
tide with a strong SW wind and very heavy rain plus
flow from the three nearby rivers as well so I got
pushed quite a bit further up the shore to the
highest tide mark.
When the thunder and rain quit next morning at about 9.00 am I was beached about 50 yards from the water. I got dried out and started to figure out how to roll Wanderer back to the water on her big fenders using a ground anchor and mainsheet tackle, when the custodian of the island drove up and started to talk. I apologised for coming ashore but Steve was very friendly and since I hadn't burgled the nearby house being built by his friend, or scattered any trash or done anything nefarious (it was too damn wet for that) he was happy to chat.
Before he left, he said "Is there anything you need?" and I said "How about a tow truck?". He pointed to his 4WD pickup and in pretty quick order I had the rollers under the boat and a tow rope attached to his truck, and we hauled her down towards the water. Then the sand become muddy and rather than get the truck stuck, we pushed it another 20 yards by hand. Then he left, and I was still about 15 yards from the ever retreating water.
Steve and I had calculated it would 2 or 3 pm before the tide came in enough to float her. I wanted to get going ASAP to make Brunswick marina before dark, so rather than wait, I got the boom crutch to work as a lever and pried Wanderer forward a foot at a time. After an hour's labour, I was 10 feet from the water's edge, and the tide finally turned and lapped around the bow soon after. I grabbed the things I had drying out and re-mounted the motor and cleaned all the mud and sand off everything.
she almost floated. With a few more shoves I got her
alive, and by 1.15 pm I was motoring flat out across
St. Andrew Sound towards Jekyll Island and then up
Jekyll Creek to St. Simons Sound. Left turn then
into the Brunswick River and a two mile run up to
the marina where I am now.
The forecast was for more wind of 20 knots and rain as well. So rather than waste any time hoisting sails and then tacking back and forth in front of a northerly, I ran the wee engine hard all the way to the dock. Got in at 4.00 pm after covering the ten miles and staying dry. But boy, the winds sure do shift around the compass here with each new island (actually just salt marsh) that you pass.
That night I got invited aboard a big ketch for dinner by a lovely retired Texan couple, Bob and Sally Burnette, who fed me salad (good for scurvy), red beans and rice (good for Cajuns) and ice cream (good for all time). I even got to have a shower and do laundry too. That was so much better than how the day might have ended.
If I hadn't had Steve's help, I expect my improvised tackle wouldn't have done the job and so I'd have been stuck on the sand on a lee shore all day and then would have had to get up in the dark at 7.00 pm to kedge the boat down the beach as the tide lifted her. Then I'd have been able to sail her off in the morning.
Lessons for me:
1. If there's no shelter available, then don't beach it on a high tide unless you can also drop anchor way out in the deep and then get up early to pull yourself onto it as the tide recedes.
Unload the boat if pushing by self on rollers.