the Weekly Whiffle
Wayfarer news that's crossed Uncle Al's desk this week
Monday, March 24th, 2003
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Subject: Hughes Nughes 15: Lee and Wanderer reach Georgetown, S.C.

Lee's progress to date:
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----- Original Message ----- 
From: Adrienne Faherty 
To: Sue Hughes ; ...; Frank Dye ; Brian A McCleery 
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 3:49 PM
Subject: Hughes Nughes 15

Hughes Nughes 15

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Hi folks, 

Hooray for Georgetown, S.C. I got here yesterday and I think it's the nicest town I've yet been in - even counting St. Augustine, FL. Looking back, Savannah, GA was better than I expected (especially for a big city) but mainly I liked it because the people were all so friendly. Also, the guy at the marina where I stayed for two nights refused to charge me anything, so that got things off to a good start. The parks there are pretty and they have a good bus service, but all the essential shops (supermarket, coin laundry, PO, library, etc.) that I seek out each week, were way out in the burbs. 
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I hoped my next stop, Beaufort, S.C. would be better, and it was OK, but again, the necessary shops were miles from the old town which is centered around the docks. However, it was pretty and the weather was fine and the folks were nice. So I rate it as OK, too. I had high hopes for Charleston, S.C. but actually, it was a disappointment. The weather was pretty dismal, the scenic historic stuff was average only, and the city marina (which is the only one that serves the peninsula) was unwelcoming. 

They had a $45 minimum overnight dock fee which is ridiculous for my boat. Typically I would expect to pay $12-16, but usually I just use the dinghy docks by day and then anchor out. I pay for dockage about once every two weeks. In Charleston, for your $5 day use of the dinghy dock, you don't even get access to the showers or toilets, which is highly unfriendly. So I anchored out in Wappoo Creek about 2 miles south and had a sponge bath and shave, and only went to the city once to spend my money. But I did find a Piggly Wiggly and a library and even a movie theatre within 4 blocks of a public dinghy dock on Wappoo Creek so I stayed there for an extra day and enjoyed it in spite of the constant rain.
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On Sunday I sailed off across Charleston Harbour under gray skies with a nice, steady following wind of about 10 knots. It stayed all day and eventually the weather fined up and I had blue skies and hot sun for the first time in ages. I made an easy 34 miles that day and then snuck in to tie up to a slipway dock at the Buck Hall national park campground exactly half way between Charleston and Georgetown.

I got settled in time to pull out my motor and give it a plug cleaning, and to change the gearbox oil before dark. When I started it the next morning, it hummed again like a sewing machine. I also whipped in and grabbed a shower, and then motored off under the inevitable gray sky. The forecast since Brunswick has been for light winds with rain, or scattered showers or heavy rain and thunderstorms almost every day, and this was no exception. The wind was contrary, too so I only sailed for an hour or so. Finally, as the breeze gave out, I just motored up the Whinyah River to Georgetown. It is the neatest little harbour and I'm anchored about 30 yards from the centre of the dock frontage.
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This is the first proper coastal town I've seen in about 1000 miles of sailing. It still functions as a proper town instead of just being a collection of antiqueries, empty store fronts and expensive shops selling tacky souvenirs and tours of plantations. Most coastal towns have abandoned their centres and moved all the core shops to strip malls in the suburbs or else out onto the highways. 

Instead, Georgetown still has working mills (steel and paper) and so it has a proper commercial dock just a couple of hundred yards from the old historic town centre. This harbour is about the size of two Eden Parks and yet they have a full sized container ship loading at one of the mills. The old town has the usual core shops in the centre, so I can walk to the library, coin wash, Piggly Wiggly, etc. Plus it has a history (founded 1702, etc.)(see 1783 map below) and has preserved its architecture. It's rated as one of the 100 top small towns in the US, and I can see why.
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(Al's note: While looking for a map or two of Georgetown, I came across a nice web-based slide show at http://georgetown-sc.com/tour/tourshow.htm)

Don't be put off by the idea of a steel mill in the harbour either. Oddly enough, it's quite exciting to see it puffing and roaring away. The harbour is divided in the middle by a wee uninhabited island about 200 yards long. 
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Big ships and the mills and the docks are on one side, and the little boats, the old town and me are on the other. When you look out of my boat you can see the restaurants just 30 yards away. And they have a free dinghy dock right in the middle of town. So it's got everything I think a town should have. It's like those perfect port towns you see on model railways.

The weather is actually OK today but forecast to be rotten tomorrow and Thursday. So I'll stay here and explore, and spend my few dollars on people who know how to encourage sailors to call in. 

Well, it rained all yesterday pm and most of the night, and though it took me a while to dry out after putting up my tent in the rain, once I was inside, I was snug as a bug. The tent is now leak-free in any wind and rain. So once I'm in it, I am well protected as long as my anchors don't drag. I start by anchoring with two anchors - sometimes one is a stern anchor (and sometimes a mellow one - Ha ha) and sometimes both are bow anchors in the same direction or at about a 45 - 90 degree separation. It all depends on what winds, tides and currents are expected and how good the holding is. So far, I haven't dragged except once long ago, in Lake Worth, FL, when I didn't let out enough anchor rode to accommodate the rising tide.

Currents and tides in S.C. and Georgia are pretty fierce and can run at 3 - 5 knots. So if I get a wind as well, there's quite a bit of movement to arrest. So far so good.

Then I take a sponge, and either soak up all the rain or spray, or if it's a dry day, I wet the boat down to get rid of salt deposits. That takes 30-40 minutes depending on whether I also pump out and dry out w/w clothes. Then I pop up the boom tent and lay out my bed. I remove the port side rear seat and clear out the oars, fender and water can from under the seat. These are stowed on the starboard side. 

Next I open the upper forward locker and take out my rubber underfelt mat and two self-inflating airbeds. I put these down and unroll one of my two sleeping bags. The other one I keep for an eiderdown if needed in the night. Then I arrange my seat cushion (donated by Jesse in Florida) as a pillow and sit down and write my diary, and listen to my VHF radio to get the weather forecast. By then it's usually dusk, so I make some dinner, eat it in bed and then light my lantern. I turn on the radio and read a book till I fall asleep. 

Then I wake up, put out the lantern, peek out to see if I'm dragging anchors and then roll over and sleep. If I wake up in the night, I can grab a drink or a snack or listen to the radio or grab the eiderdown bag or look out at the stars or just roll over and go back to sleep. It's a pretty choice bunk all in all.

This boating caper is luxury - much better than camping or riding. Mind you, I never had to mop down my horse at the end of the day, if it got wet when I was camping.

OK, that's it for now. Must go and buy a spare spark plug for the mighty Mercury 3.3 (that's horsepower, not litres). 

Toodle oo

Lee

PS Brian McCleery - good to see you're coming to NZ. You must visit Ady (and me, if I'm back). Or else. And you might even see me in Maine, too? That's even better.

PS. And to everyone else, I'd just like to announce that Auckland beat Canterbury 39 to 5 last week. Yep, 39 - 5. Now what's the technical term for that? Ahh yes - an asskicking. (And how often does that happen??--- Adrienne)

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