This is the final part in my seven part series of going from the US Virgin Islands to Wilmington, North Carolina. Below the list of previous videos and articles there’s a video showcasing our experiences getting a CopperCoat antifoul and servicing job – more about that written down below. If you’ve missed any of the previous articles/videos, here’s a list of them:
Part 7 of 7: Getting a CopperCoat Antifoul and Servicing VIDEO
My family and I had several reasons for sailing to America. The first reason was to excape the tropical hurricane season. Our insurance company requested that we sailed above the 30 North latitude line before the end of June.
The 30 North line is roughly parallel to Jacksonville Florida
Having family in North Carolina, only a couple states north of Florida, we decided to base ourselves in Wilmington, a city off the coast of North Carolina. We wanted to take a break from sailing, visit with family and put our 6 year old daughter, Sienna, into school for a term.
The video shows our haul out at Bennett Brothers Yachts – in Wilmington, footage of the CopperCoat antifoul process, what my family did while off the boat, work and trips we took to the boat while she was on the hard and finally, I have some clips showcasing Britican going back into the water.
If you’ve never taken a boat out of the water through the use of a crane this video will be helpful in that it demonstrates the process
Furthermore, many readers on my various social media platforms have show a large interest in CopperCoat. This video will show various images and clips of the stages Britican went through to get the job done.
While getting work done in Wilmington, North Carolina my husband, daughter and I moved into my brother’s house in Cary, North Carolina. For six weeks we spent time with my brother and his family in addition to spending time with my mom and step-day.
The work we had completed included a full rigging check with some repairs, new anodes for the bottom of the boat, getting one of our alternators fixed, some minor engine repairs, our bowthruster fixed, a new VHF radio installed (after our incident with the US Navy – read Part 5 of 7: Sailing to Fort Lauderdale Florida (USVI to North Carolina) for that story, and the main work was getting a CopperCoat antifoul treatment applied to the bottom of the boat.
Antifoul is needed to keep barnacles and other marine growth from growing
Any growth on the bottom of a boat will drastically slow the boat down. Considering that sailboats are slow to begin with, most sailors work hard to prevent growth.
Normal antifoul treatments last around a year or two whereas CopperCoat antifoul should last 8 to 10 years. It’s very expensive but, in theory, a boat owner should save money in antifoul costs, labor, and haul out charges over the long run.
If you’re thinking about getting a CopperCoat antifoul treatment please email me at Kim@SailingBritican.com if you have any questions. My husband, Simon, or I would be happy to explain our experience.
Interestingly, an on par with our past experience, our plans had to be changed. The work on the boat went as scheduled however my plans to put our daughter, Sienna, into school in Wilmington did not.
The school districted to the marina in Wilmington is a rough inner city school with several children with behavior issues. After enquiring about other schools and looking into private options nothing was working out.
Schools outside the district would not take a child that didn’t live there. Private schools cost the same amount as me hiring a full time teacher to live on our boat! We had to look for other solutions.
My husband, Simon, and I travelled up and down the North Carolina coast. Either our boat wouldn’t fit into a marina (draft too deep or mast too high to pass under bridges) or the school district wasn’t a good one.
Our search led us to Charleston, South Carolina…
…one state below North Carolina and a four hour drive from my family (Wilmington was a 2 hour drive).
One thing led to another and we found a marina that allows live-aboards and an excellent school. Although the distance between my family and our new home increased it was a no-brainer solution.
Never did I think I’d be living in Charleston, South Carolina but then again, never did I think I’d buy a 56’ Oyster and sail the world
So…the plan now is to chill out for a bit, allow Sienna to grasp the concept of education, do some cosmetic work on the boat (re-do the teak deck sicoflex, renew our ceiling lights, caulk our bathrooms, make new curtains, cockpit cushions and covers and more.
Simon, Sienna and I have been sailing for 2 ½ years and we’ve been going non-stop for around 15 months without staying anywhere longer than a few weeks. After our 6-month wintering in Marina Di Ragusa in Sicily we’ve been sailing the Med, the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
Before I get to the part about how we’re living on a boat in Charleston South Carolina, USA, let me first give you a bit of background on how we got there…
My shoulders are tight. There’s a knot in my neck so my side-to-side head motion is painful. When surveying the rest of my body I notice that my breathing is high in my lungs and shallow. I feel as if my whole upper body is scrunched up and fizzing with a tightness that can’t be released.
The last time I felt so stressed, my family and I were moving from land to sea boarding Britican for the start of our around the world sailing adventure.
Britican coming out in Wilmington, North Carolina
Now, over 2 ½ years after leaving land, we’re moving Britican from Wilmington, North Carolina, where she’s been on the hard being serviced, to Charleston, South Carolina, where we’ll be based until…who knows?!
Let me back up a bit more….After sailing the Mediterranean for two years, crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sailing in the Caribbean for a season (December to June) we made our way north to North Carolina, USA to escape the tropical hurricane season.
[Note: If you’re interested in our journey from the US Virgin Islands up to North Carolina I document and videoed the trip in seven parts. To read and/or watch part one, start at: Part 1 of 7: Sailing from USVI to North Carolina: Puerto Rico]
Back to our reasoning for heading to North Carolina…
While my husband, Simon, and I discussed plans to find a hurricane hole along the east coast of America an idea popped into our heads. We thought it would be an excellent opportunity to put our six year old daughter into school. Up until the present time we’ve homeschooled our daughter, Sienna, and unfortunately it hasn’t gone as well as we would have hoped.
Due to many reasons, homeschooling has become a time of anxiety, distress, screaming fits and, at times, family blowouts. Perhaps half of our lessons went well but the other half were painful. I’m sure there are many contributing factors that have hindered our success…perhaps the lack of routine, long passage sailing, our child’s temperament and our lack of training didn’t help?!
Needless to say, while in the Caribbean, Simon and I had a long discussion about eventually seeking some sort of help
Our initial idea was to put Sienna in school in America for three months so she’d get some sort of baseline understanding of what ‘normal’ school is like. Perhaps if an independent teacher showed her the way in addition to watching her peers do schoolwork she’d understand the importance of learning?
Moving from a three month stint to a full school year…
As discussions ensued and practicalities became more and more complicated our plans expanded to possibly provide a full year of schooling for Sienna. The cost of staying in one place for a long duration is considerable. There are marina fees that reduce drastically over longer-term stays and the cost to buy a car rather than renting is less costly if done for a year or so. Other financial considerations also came into play.
Britican getting new antifouling in Wilmington North Carolina
Our first plan was to put Sienna in school in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina
There’s a fantastic new marina that’s within walking distance to the city and it’s located in a lovely setting. Additionally, my family would be a 2-hour drive from the boat. Sienna would have access to her grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins!
Unfortunately, however, the school district and private school options in Wilmington didn’t work for us. The school districted to the marina area has a very poor rating and the private schools wanted a massive amount of money.
I could have hired a private teacher to live on our boat with us for less
One thing let to another and my husband and I started to look for schools along the east coast with higher ratings in addition to places for us to park our boat. We drove to a beautiful vacation town called Beaufort in North Carolina making enquiries for both a boat slip and good local schools.
The schools were all rated very well however we couldn’t find a slip for our boat that ticked all the boxes. One marina was ‘safe’ yet it didn’t have any facilities (no bathroom, showers, laundry, etc.). Another marina had facilities but had a reputation for being destroyed or damaged every time a big storm came through.
The one place we seriously considered had a hurricane evacuation policy
In other words, if a hurricane was on its way we’d have to move the boat out of the marina, anchor her in a river, get off the boat and hope for the best. We couldn’t leave the boat in the marina!
Although hurricanes rarely hit North Carolina, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the possibility of having to motor our boat into a river and anchor it with loads of other boats having to do the same. What if our boat dragged? What if someone else’s boat dragged?
For us, it’s not just our boat that might get damaged or lost – it’s our home!
Not feeling comfortable with the options in Beaufort, I started to research Charleston, South Carolina as I knew that the city had larger marinas. To our surprise, due to our 85’ mast and our almost 8’ keel our options are extremely limited. We assumed the the eastern coast of America would be a playground for larger boats but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So…what about living on a boat in Charleston South Carolina?
When I discovered that the public schools in Mount Pleasant, a Charleston suburb, had top rated schools Simon and I jumped in our rental car and drove four hours south to check it out.
We found a marina called the Charleston Harbor Marina that’s facing Charleston but based in Mount Pleasant. We then looked up the school district for the marina and discovered that the school had a 10 out of 10 rating. RESULT!
Feeling anxious we then had to get the marina to accept us as live-aboards, visit the school and get confirmation that they’d accept Sienna into the school and then work like mad to get Britican to the area before school started.
Today, as I write this part of the article, it’s the 5th of August and Sienna’s school starts on the 17th!
Ryan (friend), Bryan (brother) and Simon (hubby) ready to leave for South Carolina
In an hour my mother is meeting me at my brothers house. My brother, husband, mom and I are then driving to Raleigh Durham Airport to pick up a friend. From the airport, we’re all driving down to Wilmington (2 hours) where mom and I will help Simon, my brother and a friend leave the dockyard.
Mom and I will then drive home. While the boys are sailing 24 to 36 hours down to South Carolina, my sister-in-law and I will drive down with our three kids (my daughter, niece and nephew) to meet the guys. We’ll all spend the weekend checking out Charleston and then my brother’s family and friend will drive back north leaving us to get situated in our new home.
Driving down to Charleston South Carolina with the kids.
Can you understand why my stress levels are high?!
What’s interesting is that for the twenty years I’ve lived in England (after growing up in Rochester, New York) whenever someone asked me if I’d move back to America, I always said, ‘no way!’
I think that I spent my 20’s and 30’s reflecting on my negative American personal memories rather than the positive ones. The thought of going ‘home’ made me feel uncomfortable and thus I made up reasons why America wasn’t that great.
Seriously…if you asked me three months ago if I’d ever move or stay long-term in America I’d come up with a whole host of reasons why I’d never stay. My largest argument was about the ‘live to work’ rather than ‘work to live’ ethic that many Americans have. In America you’re lucky to get a week off after you work for a year. In Europe you get twenty days off the day you start a job and then you get another 11 public holidays!
Interestly, if I was ‘forced’ to move back to USA, I would never have considered the south! I’m originally from the North in America…we’re trained to think the south is not that great (not that I really believe that).
Why the change of heart? Why do I now feel comfortable moving back to my country?
Well…first of all, I don’t think I valued my country as much as I do now
After sailing around many third world countries, it’s amazing to come home to a country that truly has everything. There’s an abundance of food, entertainment and every kind of facility possible.
When you grow up in America you don’t really understand how truly amazing this country is. It’s clean, the service is great, people are friendly, you can get anything you want at any time you want it…it’s nice to see that every toilet in a public place has a toilet seat, toilet paper and even soap!
For over two years I’ve had to work hard to communicate in other languages, spend hours getting something as simple as milk (often long-life rather than fresh), or enduring extreme frustration when locating an Internet connection to work on my website and download homeschooling lessons.
(As a side note I’ve also had the freaking time of my life too! It’s been brilliant sailing around the Med and Caribbean but it’s not an easy ride)
Second, my decision to come ‘home’ to America is because I really need help
I’ve realized that I can’t do the homeschooling right now. I’ve exhausted all my resource and strength. I’ve never been one to say ‘I give up,’ but I am comfortable at admitting failure.
To sum up my feelings quickly about homeschooling the best thing I can say is that I want to be a mom…just a mom. I don’t want to be a mom and a teacher. I can’t effectly handle both roles – I don’t know how.
So…where better to get my daughter a good start with her education?! Sienna IS American…she has spent her first 3 ½ years in England and now she’ll spend a year or so in the States learning about the history, culture and the truly abundant opportunities that are presented here.
The boys making it to Charleston South Carolina
Who knows if our stay in Charleston South Carolina will last one year or ten?
Perhaps we’ll never leave South Carolina? Or maybe in a year we’ll continue on our around-the world sailing trip through to the Pacific Ocean?
Maybe one year in school will teach Sienna the necessary understanding about what school is, why it exists and the benefits of an education? Perhaps she’ll be eager to get back out on the seas and start back with homeschooling? After the age of six, children in America have to be affiliated with an accredited homeschooling program that helps with the ciriculum, testing and routine correspondence.
Perhaps if I’m armed with everything I need and Sienna is accountable to a teacher on land I might be able to simply be a mom that’s helping her get her school work done?
I don’t know?
Sailing and the sailing lifestyle has taught me that life is always changing and often it’s changing into something I could have never speculated about or imagined.
Saying goodbye to family after moving Britican to Charleston South Carolina
Thus far I haven’t been disappointed
I’ve seen many things, met incredible people and have learned to be more open about what the universe wants to provide. This situation is no different.
It’s stressful, but it’s certainly fulfilling. I’m certainly alive. So…here comes yet another chapter in the Sailing Britican journey…
From the practical side of things, our current plan is to live-aboard our boat in Charleston Harbor Marina while Sienna attends first grade. Hubby and I have a long list of boat improvements we want to make so we’ll work towards getting Britican to be even better than she is now.
Some of our projects to improve our 2003 56’ Oyster Sailboat include:
– Fixing the teak deck (removing and relaying the black sycoflex between the teak boards
– Re-caulking the bathrooms and changing mirrors, upgrading fittings
– Working on damaged interior wood-work
– Making new curtains for all the rooms (a massive undertaking!)
– Making new cockpit cushions
– Redoing our black water system pipes/tubes (they’re discolored and a wee bit smelly)
– Sorting out all our recessed lights – many are rusting along the edges
– Fixing several of our Gebo side windows. The knobs are disintegrating and falling off!
– Replacing some of our engine exhaust piping – it’s cracked and warn
– Changing all our ceiling screens/shades as they’re falling apart!
– And more…
After checking weather reports, studying the tides and filling the boat with water and diesel, Simon, Sienna and I slipped lines saying good bye to Hyatt’s Peir 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Exiting the marina was far easier than entering it. We pulled out of our slip, made a tight right and then another tight right and motored forward between two super yachts.
It didn’t take long to enter the river leading us out of Fort Lauderdale
With ten minutes to spare before the bridge opened, we got hit with a squall. While pulling in the fenders and warps (lines that hold the boat to the slip) I got drenched! At least the rain cooled us down a bit. The temperatures were in the 90’s when we left.
The bridge opened at 11:30 and we easily motored through and on out the channel. There were several tankers, fishing boats and sight seeing boats all progressing towards the big open Atlantic Ocean expanse.
Simon and I tried to sail but due to very light winds we had to motor for a while
The three of us ate lunch, watched ‘Monsters University,’ and waited for another squall to hit us.
Sometimes squalls, or short storms, happen upon us quickly. Other times it can take hours before they quickly come and go.
While waiting for the weather system to move through I felt our boat pick up speed. Normally we motor along doing 6.5 knots around the 1400 rev mark, but our indicators showed us doing 10 knots!
We must have found the Gulf Stream again!
Woo woo! It’s great to get more speed for our diesel output.
Eventually, the wind picked up to 20 knots and sailing was the name of the game. We had dinner, I washed the dishes and was in bed at 7pm getting some sleep in preparation for my 1am night watch.
At 1am Simon woke me up. We were sailing in another squall and it was pitch black. With 20 knots of wind we were sailing at 10 knots with the wind behind us. I noted that the cruise liner, Carnival Victory, was behind us but otherwise there was no light.
Feeling a bit vulnerable, I asked sim to sleep in saloon so I could call down to him with any problems
While looking out at the pitch black backdrop I easily noticed the phosphorous bursting into life along the hull of the boat. It reminded me of those buzzy bee fireworks that burst to life, fly around in circles and are gone just as quick as they came.
Sitting around trying to become acclimated to the dark night watch I noted that nothing was on AIS plotter. I thought, ‘easy-peasy…nothing to worry about.’ The AIS plotter tells me what ships are near, where they’re heading and how fast they’re going.
Still feeling unsettled and half-asleep, I listened to the foam wash hissing loudly
I thought about how happy I was to leave Florida and how eager I was to get to North Carolina – our final destination. Being able to see my family and getting necessary work on Britican was overdue.
The wind picked up and I noted that our speed went up to 10.5 knots (see night picture above). Normally we’d only be doing 7 or 8 knots with the wind speed but the Gulf Stream was seriously helping us on our journey.
Eventually I settled into my watch and in wet pants on a damp cushion I started reading my new thriller entitled ‘Gone.’ The book is about a family that suddenly disappears without a trace and a police detective has to figure out what happened to them.
Engrossed in my book I kept hearing a ‘Securite,’ or safety message, broadcast over our VHF radio
The person announcing the Securite kept requesting listeners to switch to Alpha Channel X (can’t remember the exact channel).
The VHF radio on our boat is an old European radio and doesn’t operate on the American system. There was no way for me to pick up the channel mentioned. I assumed that if there was something serious the broadcaster would simply announce the message on Channel 16 so all boats could hear it.
I also thought that over the past couple years I’ve heard hundreds of Securite’s and I have never been anywhere near the problem at hand. Examples included floating logs, military restriction zones, sinking vessels, refugees and so forth.
Around 4:30am I noticed that it sounded like someone was hailing us directly on the radio. I ran over to the VHF speaker and turned it up to make sure I wasn’t imagining our name being called. Within seconds I again heard, ‘Britican, Britican, Britican, this is the US Navy…’
I yelled, ‘Oh Crap.’ And then I yelled, ‘SIMON!!!’
Simon begrugedly woke from his sleep asking me why I didn’t respond to the radio call. It wasn’t that I was afraid to answer the call…I was afraid that the US Navy was going to yell at me.
Apparently the US Navy was broadcasting the Securite. When they asked us why we were ignoring the message and sailing dangerously close to the restricted area we responded that our European VHF doesn’t have the necessary channel to listen to the message!
After a bit of discussion the Navy gave us a latitude and longitude for the restricted area. Apparently we had to stay at least 12 miles away from the coordinates yet we were 3 miles from going straight over it!
We were instructed to take a hard left and sail out until we hit the 12 mile mark and then we could proceed north. Simon explained that we’re a sailboat and we don’t go very fast. He also explained that if they let us carry on we’d be through the zone quickly as we were in the Gulf Stream.
The US Navy delined our request to stay in the Gulf Stream doing 10.5 knots
We then had to head east, doing 5 to 6 knots sailing into waves.
The US Navy called us again asking why we weren’t moving quicker. Simon explained, again, that we’re a sailboat and we can’t go much quicker. In the end, we took our sails down and motored at 6.5.
A month after this incident Simon discovered that the US Navy was shock testing the hull of a new naval ship. Apparently they were detonating bombs under the hull!
Can you believe that?!
After all the excitement, Simon took over the watch at 5am and I went to bed.
Later on in the morning I woke up. It was Simon’s 50th Birthday so Sienna and I wrapped some presents that Sienna got him before we left Florida. I gave her $10 to spend at the Dollar store so she got: reading glasses, camouflage sun glasses, one beer cosy, a woopy cushion, a freezer mug (for beer), a card and decorations.
Sienna was so excited to wrap and prepare for our little celebration
One by one, Sienna gave Simon the presents and although they were all silly things it was a memorable birthday. It’s not every day that you turn 50 years old while sailing on the Atlantic Ocean opening presents from the Dollar Store!
After the festivities, I noticed that we were doing only 4 knots with 10 knots on a close haul. Then, out of nowhere, the wind shifted and suddenly our head sail moved to other side. I jumped up and tacked so to bring the sail over to the correct side.
Within seconds we went from a slow poodle to 8.7 knots
There were dark clouds on the horizon so the the change of wind direction and speed was the result of a weather system moving through.
Just before the increase in wind, Simon was saying that it will take three more nights to get to NC rather than two going at 4 knots.
Getting 8 knots brought our ETA (estimated time of arrival) way down.
Watching the ETA can be exciting or soul destroying
By lunch time we were back down to four knots.
After Simon played with his calculator for a few minutes, he explained that we did 190 miles in 24 hrs. We might have broke our record (208 miles) if it wasn’t for the US Navy pushing us off course. The darn Navy!
For lunch we had pitas with tomato, cheddar, honey ham and blue cheese dressing. We also had left-overs of store-bought Mac and potato salad. I was feel huge – for some reason I’ve been eating like a horse since we got to the States.
After our midday feast, I laid in the cockpit feeling like a beached whale
Sim and Sienna were in the aft cabin watching a Harry Potter.
With no one around I started to contemplate my life. Half of me wanted to sail for weeks and the other half wanted to get into North Carolina. My parents offered their house and car to us for a week while they go on vacation… I thought it would be nice to play house – just the three of us living back on land with lots of space.
Looking out over the sea, I noticed that the waves had increased in size and we were sailing right into them. The motion was very rocky, but an up and down rocky rather than the side to side rocky that usually makes me green.
Trying to reduce our ETA, Simon and I tried to pole out jib and staysail
We just didn’t have enough wind but making the sail changes ate up almost 2 hours of time. Eventually, we had to turn the engine on.
While Simon and I were messing around with the sails, Sienna got ‘hangry,’ a term used when you’re so hungry that you get angry, but we had a good chat about it.
It’s amazing how sailing along at the pace of a turtle isn’t as boring as you’d expect. There’s always something to do, to try or to deal with. Whether it’s play with the sails, prepare for a squall or teaching a 6 year old about moderating emotions.
After a dinner of beef stew and special birthday éclairs (long narrow donuts filled with cream) I went to bed.
Around 12:30am Simon woke me
We were doing only 4.5 knots with the engine on. The tide was against us and we had no wind. Bummer!
Simon went down to bed and I once again abosorbed my surroundings. It was pitch black with no moon. The Milky Way was very easy to spot and I noticed quite a few high planes. The sea was flat but there was the typical Atlantic undulating swell so the ride was not smooth.
As usual it took me a few minutes to grow comfortable with my night watch. I almost always use distraction to get over the discomfort of sailing into blackness. I either read or play on the IPad. My distractor tools help me to forget that I’m sailing a 35 ton boat into pitch black surrounded by millions of creatures below me – some of which would happily eat me.
Around 4:45am I swapped my night watch with Simon and passed out quickly
At 8:30am I was back up. Sim made made me a coffee and I drank it while admiring the flat calm Atlantic. Never did I expect to see this beast of an ocean as flat as a pancake. The air was so fresh. The blues were so calming.
I piered down the aft cabin hatch and noticed that Sienna was watching Hotel Transylvania 2. I then felt a pang of guilt for not playing with her but I reminded myself that in a couple days she’ll be going to a summer camp, enjoying her cousins and being a ‘normal’ kid.
My thoughts then drifted over to that funny smell I noticed yesterday
I told Simon that we had some bad food or the bilge was stinking up the place. Later I realized it was me. That’s what happens when you don’t shower for three days!
Gone are the days when I showered and groomed myself to a high standard. Am I letting myself go or has the desire to fit in disappeared? Perhaps a bit of both.
Eventually the wind started to increase and we were finally sailing again. With the wind on our beam at 9 knots we were able to sail at 4.5 knots.
I noticed my thoughts oscillating – I’m hungry, what should I have for lunch? Mac salad, potato salad, tossed salad and a sausage?
What do I want to at our next stop – boat stuff, work, Sienna school/social, sight seeing?
Then, once again, I felt the deep love I have for sailing on the sea. Wow… I love this. Just sailing along on the flat sea. Do I actually want to return to land? Not when the sailing conditions are so smooth…when they are so perfect. I must say many times per day…it’s so beautiful yet I look at the same thing every day – deep blue sea and graduating Sky Blues. It’s a lot of blue. When I see green land, however, I am happy too!
We sailed for a good chunk of the day in light winds and a favorable current too. Simon and I started the day thinking we’d be out for two more nights but recent thinking is that we’ll be in around 4pm tomorrow.
With the flat seas, I was able to play with Sienna much more than usual. We did some reading and worked on rhyming. She only partially understanding rhyming so I thought about coming up with some different rhyming games for the next day.
We also did fashion plates – Sienna made the etchings and I colored them in. Sienna’s plan was to sell the designs for money when we get to land. Gosh – is she her mother’s daughter or what?
While coloring we saw a pod of dolphins
Otherwise we played Uno for four hours having a shower break in between for all of us. It felt great to be clean. Sienna also gave us a dance, singing and acrobatic show. With the boom pulled in and the preventer dangling down she discovered that she could spin around the lines from the boom to the traveller – a new addition to her act.
I’d love to get her lessons in dance and even singing or acting. She has the ability and confidence to entertain.
For dinner we had pork loin, stuffing and salad. After tidying the saloon I went to bed.
My final night watch was pure black again. There was no moon and loads of stars. I had two ships to watch at my start. One passed quickly behind. The other lingered for what felt like forever. I just wanted it to pass so I could go back to my reading.
During Simons watch we got twenty minutes of massive waves and I mean MASSIVE waves
The whole boat was going side to side with severity. I thought there was no way to sleep. I said to myself after position 20 if I don’t fall asleep soon I’m going to try sleeping on the sofa. I must have fallen asleep as I woke in my bed!
Sim later explained he had troubles staying in his seat. I wonder if the waves were created from the US Navy detonating a bomb? That would be interesting if that’s what caused the waves. What else would do that? Waves from tankers can be big but they don’t go on for 20 minutes.
In the morning, we finally saw land
We saw North Carolina. Sienna and I were so excited. We had big plans to look forward to – seeing family, getting the boat fixed up, Sienna attending a summer camp, Simon and I getting work done.
The plan was to stay in Wilmington for three months to a year depending on Sienna. We felt it was important to put her in school so that she gained a solid grasp on what education is, why it’s important and what ‘normal’ kids do. My homeschooling efforts were usually effective but often after a screaming match and many refusals to do the work.
What should have taken a couple hours could take up to a full day and it wasn’t fun for anyone
Before arriving in Wilmington, North Carolina we had to motor up the Cape Fear River. The journey took around 4 hours as we traveled with the tide. Along the river we noticed one town, several houses, a bit of industry, some islands, many crab pots, loads of grassy lands and a few other motor boats.
Eventually we made it to the bridge before the city. Simon rang the operator saying that we’d be at the bridge in about twenty minutes. To our surprise the bridge operator started opening the boat bridge almost immediately!
We couldn’t go much faster and we felt terrible to see all the traffic pile up as the drivers waited for us to pass the bridge.
I think the poor people in the cars waited over 10 minutes for us to go through
Once on the other side of the bridge, we passed several lovely waterside restaurants, noticed a few tour boats and saw the back of Wilmington’s main street.
Fortunately for us we’ve visited Wilmington a couple times in the past so we knew the general area
We finally spotted the marina and started to line the boat up to moor on the outer wall. We arrived after the marina attendants were gone so they made it easy for us to simply moor on the outside.
Thankfully, the tide, wind and Simon’s driving skills were good. As we approached the wall, the bow thrusters failed. It’s always possible to moor a boat without thrusers moving the bow left and right but it’s a bit unnerving when you expect them to work and they don’t.
Simon had no issue. We came close to the wall, I jumped off with the midship spring in my hand and between the rope and Simon’s boat handling skills we were in a perfect position to tie Britican down.
We quickly cleaned ourselves up, jumped off the boat, walked into town and got ourselves the biggest yummiest meal we could.
Sailing to Wilmington North Carolina Video
Whats next?! In the next post in this series you’ll see Britican being hauled out of the water and put on the hard ready for her antifoul servicing. Make sure to sign up to my newsletter to ensure you are notified of new articles