I don’t think a decision was ever really made but we found ourselves slamming into the wind and current flooding into St. Simons Inlet, pretty much like all the inlets we’ve seen. Rough going with that North east wind that just won’t give up. NOAA grib files said otherwise so we pressed on. We were determined to get the sails up and see what this baby would do, just not while bashing into the teeth of this wind.
We hung a left at the 20 mile marker and paused to raise sail which in Escape Velocity is, to us, a technical wonder. As we tried to recall what Roger and Danielle told us to absolutely do and never do, we managed to tension the proper lines and push the up button on the electric winch and with lines going this way and that and no small amount of spaghetti in the cockpit, we were sailing. It seemed so easy for Danielle.
The wind did not clock around so we motor-sailed pinching and getting any easting we could. Contrary winds notwithstanding it was a beautiful day.
Where were we headed? We knew our friends had to divert to Charelston because of their autopilot packing in but we fancied further horizons. It was about at this time that I thought that I’ve barely checked out EV’s autopilot. The screen read-out blinked “Trip”. I thought why yes I’ll have one of those. I finished programming and pushed the Make It So button and up pops the cryptic message Rud Drv. Not today my friend! No worries, we have an emergency wheel autopilot. No messages this time, just a crisp Yes Sir. That’s what I like. A minute later I pushed in a course correction and got another message, Drive Stop. No Autopilot! This means that every second we’re out here, one of us will be glued to the wheel. This will be tough.
It was a chilly, incredibly dark night, with just a sliver of a new moon poking its crescent barely above the horizon. We steered by the soft glow of the compass binnacle light and tried to decipher the little squiggles on the radar screen. It’s awfully disorienting at sea on a night as dark as this.
Our watches lasted about one and a half hours. That’s all we could take. I think Marce stood more than me.
About 8:am I took over and we dropped the sails, and brought her in through historic Charleston Harbour past Fort Sumter, all the way up Wappoo Creek to a beautiful anchorage.