The day in Charleston at the MegaDock (just to go to the bathroom provides for your daily powerwalk) was quiet and we were grateful to be alongside with the heater on, watching the thermometer go down to the low twenties.
Thursday morning, I woke up to a georgeous day and we left at 7:20 with a following tide, blue sky and a light breeze from the West. I took a short cut to exit the inlet, south of the jetties but close to shore and we took our course for Jacksonville, with less than 180 miles to go. I was so optimitisc, that I even called the marina in Jacksonville and gave then an ETA of early afternoon on Friday.
We had mainsail and genoa up, and I set up the windvane monitor for the first time. For the first try, I put up the larger vane, but I think it would only work properly in very light wind. However, it worked fine and we settled for a wonderful sail down to Florida.
That did not last long. Late morning the wind veered to SW, on our nose, and the seas were becoming quite choppy, as is oftern the case on the East Coast. So I hoisted up the Yanmar sail, but it did not work very long. Soon, it became to revv up and down, and finally gave up. Having been through that before on the way down from Jacksonville to Miami last year, I knew immediately that I would have to drain the racor container, change the paper filter and blow the line back into the tank.
In the meantime, my crew became sick as a dog, consequence of a medication that he is taking and an overdose of potatoe chips.
So, I put up the sails again, put Monitor to work, and settled for the night, unwilling to go into the engine room, while sailing at night and with a sick crew. Obviously we had to tack. Usually they say that tacking means twice the distance and three times the misery. In the case of Papy Jovial, it would be thrice the distance and four times the misery. But at least, we were making progress.
Early morning, with my poor sick crew able to stay on deck, I took a nap before getting to work. Around 10:00 a.m., going through ups and down as my plan did not work on the first attempt.
My plan was to disconnect the fuel line, and using the oil change hand pump, push the liquid back into the tank using kerosene that I keep to maintain the winches. Alas, I had forgotten that Mike, to make my life easier, had installed a valve right onto the housing of the racor, and I had a hell of a time unplugging the line and making a tight connection with the hose to the hand pump. Anyway, eventually, I was able to solve the problem and restart the engine without even having to bleed it.
We continued under sail however until again the wind not only came back to SW but also dropped in strength to less than 7 knots, which is far from enough for Papy Jovial.
So, we started motoring again, adjusting the speed so as to catch the incoming tide at the entrance of the St Johns river. I did not slow down enough and we got inside the jetties at around 4:00 a.m. and had to dance in there until daylight at 7:00 a.m.
The final stretch was easy enough and we tied in at the fuel dock at 8:30 a.m.