Spontaneous Sailing

While the title might refer to the unwanted unfurling of sails during a storm, I assure you we did not experience this version; hope we never do. Tuesday was planned as just another ICW jaunt. The current would be with us in the Beaufort River for the first hour; always a good thing.  As we neared Port Royal Sound Russ realized we’d have a strong current with us if we turned south to head out for a 10 mile run off the coast. Oh my gosh- quick do the calculations, where do we come in? Ok, Tybee Roads (Savannah  River) would be a doable hop out and both channels are excellent.(well marked and wide)

We knew Port Royal Channel was long, and with shallow water flanking both sides, very prone to swells even in calm conditions. Tybee Roads, while nearly as long was prone to big ships on a regular basis and coming in prior to 2pm would put the current against us. This was not meant to be a save time or fuel day, this was (for Russ) a break in the monotony of ICW travel and a chance to sail. Sail we did, for nearly 3 hours, until arriving at Tybee Roads where the engines came to life to help us make way against the current.

We had a friend behind us once we entered Tybee Roads (why Tybee? named after the island) ; when we first spotted him couldn’t tell if he was moving or not- no noticeable wake. However, when he called us- to see how we were doing, where headed (sorta joking) no longer could we deny he was coming in behind us. Damm if he wasn’t huge. A container car carrier ship many stories tall. By the time he passed, we were in calmer water, it it didn’t matter- the boat threw a wake less bothersome than our dinghy. Amazing. Being near big ships doesn’t un-nerve me anymore, but the wake they can throw makes you feel like you’re in the agitate cycle of the washing machine.

HONOR passes Ortolan - tiny wake for such a big ship!

The best was yet to come. Advance warning of her existence made us eager to swing past Thunderbolt Marina. Oh I did I mention that by 1:45 we’d entered Georgia?

Mirabella V: 10 yrs old and prior to her recent purchase had been in charter- if you have money to burn you missed your chance on this ship. She’s the world’s largest sloop with a mast nearly 300ft above the waterline, LOA of 247 ft and she can’t fit under any bridge in the world. We think that was done on purpose so she’d be extra unique. She’s got a retractable keel and draws 13ft with it retracted. With the largest (non-spinnaker) single sail in the world at 20,000 sf, I’d say she’s unique and memorable.

Mirabella V at Thunderbolt Marina

Can't miss Mirabella's mast

Our day ended barely three miles shy of our planned night’s stop, just off the waterway on the Ogeechee River. Another lovely night of “winds light and variable” means one can anchor just about anywhere. The sun set off our stern while the full moon rose off our bow; life is good. The weather feels more like Spring with daytime temps reaching into the low 70s with 50s at night; sweaters have given way to T-shirts all day. Very pleasant; however, we are keeping a wary eye on TS Sean.

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