Labor Day 2023

On Labor Day we took Moga back out to the sandbar at Gwynn’s Island. There were quite a few boats, although not as many as last time.

I think Henry enjoys sitting in the boat wiggling the tiller back and forth more than he likes the beach. Another favorite pastime is climbing forward and getting the excess anchor and dock line all tangled together around the belaying pins on the mast partner.

He did have a great time playing in the water though. He’s pretty fearless which makes it difficult to do anything but keep an eye on him. The first time we introduced him to water at a lake he just started walking out and would have kept on going if we didn’t stop him once the water was up to his torso.

Around midday I noticed a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk doing laps in the Bay off the side of Gwynn’s Island. After a while it started doing long back and forth runs up past Stingray Point. I assumed they were looking for someone, or possibly doing a training exercise.

Here’s the track from a flight tracker. The sandbar we’re at is between the two most southerly runs.

Eventually I learned someone found a floating life jacket and the helicopter came all the way up from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. It’s both insane and comforting to know the Coast Guard will spend thousands of dollars an hour flying around just to investigate a life jacket that had in all likelihood been blown out of a boat.

Heading back after a long day. Every crab pot buoy we passed Henry would point and was sure it was a “baaaallll!”

Going out the trolling motor consumed 151 wh over 2.62 miles for an average of 57.6 wh per mile at an average speed of 3.5 mph. On the return trip it consumed 177 wh for an average of 67.6 wh per mile at an average speed of 3.7 mph.



Gwynn’s Island

Friday night on a bit of a whim my wife and I decided to take the boat around to the sandy beach below Gwynn’s Island for the day. We got launched around 11:30 am and Henry had an absolute blast in the boat. The last time we took him out all he did was scream and try to climb overboard! Once we got there the beach was packed with probably a good 30 boats at times and it was fun to compare and contrast the $50,000 and 310hp boat that pulled up and anchored beside me. Henry had a great time splashing around in the edge of the water, we caught some moon jellies, saw a fiddler crab, and made a friend with Palmer who wanted to play with his beach toys. My trolling motor setup consumed 272 Wh over the 5.3 mile trip for an average of 51.3 Wh per mile which matches nicely with my estimate of 50 Wh per mile from the motor testing.

Headed out to the sandbar. We had coolers, beach chairs, two tents, toys, and who knows what else! Everything with a kid takes twice as long and twice as much stuff as you’d think.

Tucked up by the beach. Recently I melted 6.5 pounds of lead into the stock on my three piece fisherman anchor and capped the ends. It really sets firmly and the lead replaces the need for chain which at this scale wouldn’t weigh enough to do much of anything but chew up the finish on the boat.

I tied a stern line to the beach umbrella to pull the boat close to shore and Henry had a great time swinging the rudder back and forth.

Helping me steer on the way home. I told him all about how starboard and port came to be and how daymarks are red triangles or green squares. Not sure much of it stuck though.

Cape Fear River

I recently got back from a vacation down to Kure Beach, North Carolina where I practiced with my sextant and had one of the best long daysails yet. I went 27.8 miles in 8 hours, 11.5 of which were motoring with my trolling motor setup I’ve been working on. And I made it through the wake of a container ship with nothing more than a few drops of spray coming aboard!

Off to New Jersey

I’ve never been entirely confident in the trailer’s wheel bearings so I decided to take a look at them in preparation for a 750 mile trip and I’m glad I did. The tapered bearing surfaces on the hubs were full of pits and dings and both rear grease seals were shredded. I bought some new hubs (4 on 4 that fit L44649 bearings plus a pair of 1.983″ x 1.249″ grease seals) and changed them out. It’s a messy job but I’m pleased to say that after 3 hours at 60+ mph the hubs were barely warm to the touch.

I thought my great idea of running individual ground wires to the tail lights would solve my wiring problems forever, but that was not the case. Lately I’ve noticed the right rear light was intermittent or really dim, so after a brief search I found the ground wire had basically turned to powder. Everything was wrapped tightly in electrical tape and I used solder shrink fittings so I have no idea where the corrosion came from. The insulation was crumbly for nearly a foot but curiously the two wires beside it in the same run were unaffected. I soldered on a new section of wire and that solved the problem.

With the trailer sorted I got all the sailing stuff packed into the boat plus the camping stuff I’ve been working on lately. I haven’t been sailing yet this year, but the rig has had all the bugs worked out that I can think of. Hopefully setting up at the ramp won’t take too long.

Last year I bought a boat cover to keep the road grime out of the boat. I finally got around to cutting the straps to the right size and melting the ends so I don’t have a mile of excess to tie up. Driving home there were periods of torrential rain and the inside was completely dry when I arrived.

We took off for my in-laws in New Jersey with an overnight stop at a friend’s place in Maryland. I’m not sure I get the appeal of townhouses… maneuvering an F250 around the narrow parking lot, parking a ways away because the nearby visitor spots were taken, no yard, no garage… Not for me! I much prefer not being able to see my neighbor’s houses for the woods.

Unfortunately it was a washout the entire time we were in New Jersey. I really wanted to do an overnight trip continuing on from my trip last year on Barnegat Bay and while Tuesday was marginal, I really didn’t want to be out there on Wednesday. We’ll probably go back towards the end of summer and I’ll try again.

New Years day cruise

We had some friends come visit the day after New Years and the weather was nice enough to go for a trolling motor cruise in the afternoon. It was a really low tide and I had to row the first hundred yards away from our dock and have the girls sit up on the bow deck to trim the boat out. Eventually we plowed our way through the mud and into deeper water where I could lower the motor. Coming back the tide had risen enough to where I could slowly drift/motor to the dock with the propeller half out of the water. We went 3.4 miles in an hour and ten minutes. This was the last hurrah for the ~6 year old lead acid starting battery as I’ve since bought a 50Ah LiFePO4 which is amazing.

Barnegat Bay, NJ

And here’s the second of my two trips while I was in New Jersey. I launched at the top of Barnegat Bay and sailed my way down 29 miles south to just past the inlet. I made a diversion through the marsh over to the lighthouse and would have continued 17 miles to a public ramp, but I called it quits since I was relying on my father in law for transportation and didn’t want to be too late. I tested out my electric trolling motor setup for the first time as well.