Alchemy is now in the boatyard, on closer inspection of the rudder, it is clear to us how lucky we were that Alchemy returned us safely to port. This was a close call.
The next steps are to remove and replace the rudder, we don’t think that repair is possible. A vehicle has been rented and transportation plans are being made for all of us to depart and return to our respective homes.
Thanks for the short but educational experience, I feel that I am a better sailor now having taken this journey.
I jumped in the water (Their story is that I jumped, I’m claiming I was thrown in!!!) to take a look at the rudder and see if I could see any problems. Right off the bat I saw this and surfaced to grab the camera. Captain Noble was calm and collected though his face demonstrated that he understood the severity of the situation. I snapped this photo and showed it to the Roger. He promptly started getting the wheels in motion, contacting his insurance company, a boatyard, and a towing service.
What you are looking at here is the top of the rudder, that dark hole is the INSIDE of the rudder post that had shredded at sea the day before.
This trip is over, Alchemy will be on the hard for an undetermined amount of time while assessments and repairs are made.
After examining the options, Captain Noble decided that the best course of action was to head to shore. We promptly found our way, under our own power and steerage, to the Portside Marina in Morehead City NC. Once there we secured the vessel, showered, then found a bite to eat at the Sanitary Fish Market and returned to Alchemy for some badly needed sleep.
Winds picked up to steady 20-25kts. We were flying along at ~7kts when the autopilot and control of the rudder went berserk. After looking at it for an hour, we decided to limp into Moorehead City NC to work on this and other repairs safely in harbor.
We were finally able to cook and eat our first meal at sea. The seas calmed down a bit and all three of us were feeling well enough to wolf down some lasagna. Watch was uneventful, not much wind so we were motoring through the night. When I was ready to go off watch we discovered some water ingress through the propeller shaft. Roger repacked the shaft and stopped the ingress. After that we discovered that the bilge pump was not working properly. We manually pumped the water out of the bilge and laid down to catch some badly needed rest.
A pod of dolphins came to visit and swim with us for about 15 minutes.
It made for a wonderful break in the day!
Things have calmed down a bunch. The wind has dropped to under 10kts, so we furled the jib and cranked up the diesel. We passed Charleston and the associated commercial traffic around 04:00. The rest of the crew was finally able to get some decent sleep, I’ll get mine after my watch. So far we have kept a course of 66° around 15-100 miles offshore.
We set two sails once we cleared the channel shortly after 13:00 and I took over with the first watch of the trip. Great winds, but the waves are rocking the boat heavily and all of us are a little queasy. Within two hours we saw a pod of dolphins, and shortly afterwards had a turtle (on her way back to the from laying eggs I suspect) swim within 10′ of Alchemy.
We have cast off the lines and begun our journey northward.
If you want to check in on me, this page should show my location up dated about 4-6 times aday
Boat was provisioned yesterday, everything is shipshape, we are casting off
the lines as soon as we pick up a jug of engine coolant and some batteries
for the Garmin InReach transmitter!
Things are on schedule, looks like we will have some wonderful winds and
currents for the journey Northward!
3 days before I left for Iceland I was offered the opportunity to crew on a sailboat sailing from Savannah Georgia to Bar Harbor Maine. My first thought was – There’s no way I can pull this off. I’m going to Iceland in March. then I’ve got Eeyore’s Birthday Party in April, then Burning Flipside in May, then my sailing trip in the BVI’s (that was postponed because of hurricanes Irma and Maria) in June. I weighed in the positives and negatives while I travelling in Iceland and decided that this is another chance of a lifetime opportunity that I just can’t pass up. The captain, Roger Noble, is a seasoned veteran that has done this trip multiple times. The vessel, S/V Alchemy is a proven blue water capable vessel, having done this voyage several times before.
So… Tomorrow, I’m hopping on a plane to Savannah and boarding Alchemy, a beautiful 42′ Cheoy Lee schooner. Wednesday we plan to provision the boat, and Thursday, weather permitting, we cast off the lines and head north up the Atlantic seaboard for the ~1000 mile passage to Bar Harbor. Wish me luck, this should be another experience of a lifetime! I’ll keep things updated when I can though I expect to be out of cell phone range for most of the trip.