Hurricane Charley, August 2004

Hurricane Charley passed up the southern half of the east coast on August 14, 2004.  By the time it reached us in North Carolina the storm had reduced in strength to a category 1 storm.  It came ashore below us in South Carolina, so, unlike Hurricane Isabel the year prior it did not stack up a ton of water in the Pamlico.  You can see in the track below that Cuba and Florida took the worst of the storm.

Charley 2004 track

I don’t have as many pictures from the aftermath of Charley.  This isn’t to say that the damage was minimal, but in our area it was not too bad.  Most of the severe damage was further down toward the coast.

Flipped Boat damaged by Hurricane Charley 2004

Flipped Boat

Flipped Boat damaged by Hurricane Charley 2004

Flipped Boat

Flipped Boat damaged by Hurricane Charley 2004

Flipped Boat

As usual, our Pacemaker Express 26 rode out the storm at anchor near Washington, NC on the Pamlico River.  Here I am going out the day after the storm to take her back to the marina.

Retrieving a Pacemaker 26 after Hurricane Charley passed through NC in 2004

Pacemaker 26 after the storm

Retrieving a Pacemaker 26 after Hurricane Charley passed through NC in 2004

Pacemaker 26 after the storm

Retrieving a Pacemaker 26 after Hurricane Charley passed through NC in 2004

Pacemaker 26 after the storm

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Hurricane Isabel, September 2003

On September 18th 2003, Hurricane Isabel made landfall in North Carolina, and left a trail of hurricane damaged property behind it.  This was in the early days of my experience of boat ownership and is the first hurricane that I remember vividly, mostly because of the fact that I had a boat in the water that needed to be worried about.  Our Pacemaker Express 26 road out the storm at anchor, as she rode out every storm right up until we sold her.  The image below shows that path of Hurricane Isabel.  If you know a little bit about hurricanes and about North Carolina geography, you can tell from the path shown that the rotation of Isabel likely pushed water into the Pamlico Sound and Pamlico River from the east, while simultaneously dumping tons of ran on the state to the west.  This created a lot of flooding in North Carolina.

Isabel 2003 track

The next picture shows the immensity of Hurricane Isabel when it made landfall in North Carolina.  The storm had weakened quite a bit by this point, thank goodness, but still packed plenty of wind and rain.

Hurricane Isabel NC landfall radar

We kept our boat in Washington, NC at the time, and I have some interesting photos of McCotters Marina in Washington, as well as some photos of damage at my parents’ home near Washington Park, NC.  McCotters Marina in Washington, NC was one of the few marinas where covered wet slips are still offered.  Covered slips are the preferred choice for wooden boats, so there were lots of old gals kept there.   Those covered slips were all but destroyed during the storm.

I was never sure if the covered slips at McCotters Marina were destroyed by the storm surge from the east mixed with the flood waters coming from the west causing the boats to rise up under the covered slips, or if they were torn down by hurricane forced winds.  Either way, the results weren’t pretty.

Here are a few pictures of the damage from Hurricane Isabel to my parent’s dock in Washington, NC.

busted boat lift damaged by hurricane isabel

busted boat lift

damaged dock damaged by hurricane isabel

damaged dock damaged by hurricane isabel

damaged dock

damaged dock damaged by hurricane isabel

damaged dock

And here are the photos I have of the hurricane damage to McCotters Marina in Washington, NC after Hurricane Isabel blew through town.

Broken Mast damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

Broken Mast

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

Bow Pulpit damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

Bow Pulpit

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

Safe harbor after Hurricane Isabel 2003

Safe Harbor

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

McCotters Center Dock damage from Hurricane Isabel 2003

McCotters Center Dock

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Trailer safety chains – what not to do

I was reminded of my dear friend Laura Kenney (who passed away a few years ago) as I was driving to work the other day.  I passed a truck with a pretty weird sense of how to attach safety chains to a trailer.

trailer safety chains improper use

Trailer safety chains must be used correctly in order to provide usefulness.

As you can see in the picture here, the chain that should be running from right to left beneath the trailer coupler is for some reason running across the top of the coupler instead.  This is important because the basic function of these chains is to “catch” the coupler like a basket (or maybe like the arms of a loving woman if you prefer to think of it that way) should the coupler decide to divorce itself of the tow vehicle.  And that’s the bit that reminded me of my friend Laura.

My friend came into work one Monday morning and announced, “Well, I took my horse trailer out this weekend, and those trailer safety chains sure did a good job!”

Of course, a statement like that demands more detail, so I asked and she went on to describe how the coupler had hopped right off the hitch ball on the way down the highway at about 45 miles an hour.  As a result of the safety chains being correctly crossed beneath the neck of the trailer, the coupler then proceeded to settle down right into the chains.  Now, I’m sure the horse was a little bit weirded out by the experience, and to this day I’m still not sure who was responsible for not latching down that trailer in the first place.  Laura swore it was her husband who hitched it up and she seemed pretty determined to place the blame squarely where she felt it belonged, but in my book, if you are driving and pulling a trailer, and that trailer has your horse in it, well, then you’d probably better double check it before you hit the highway.

Of course, boat trailers are no different, except that boats rarely contain horses except on the rare occasion.  I did see a cow in a flooded mobile home once, but I don’t think that counts.  Anyway, the bottom line is that those trailer chains must be crossed beneath the coupler.  Otherwise the neck of the trailer drops to the ground, and potentially digs into the pavement at highway speed, and then all hell breaks loose.  Or maybe all boats break loose.  Hard to say, but it’s a bad thing any way you look at it.

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Venture of Newport

When my daughter was very young, I got it in my head that I needed to supplement the current fleet with a sailboat. “She has to grow up around sailboats!” I demanded. Of course, the fact that my father had a sailboat (still does, same one he had back then) and the fact that it was one we could use whenever we wanted to didn’t factor in to the decision at all.

Perhaps even more ridiculous was the fact that my father’s boat sat in the water just outside their house, ready to sail at a moment’s notice, plus there were clean bathrooms and comfy couches right there. Oh, and let’s not forget grandma’s kitchen and it’s seemingly endless supply of treats. No, none of that mattered. I needed a sailboat and my daughter needed to learn to sail. She was 2 at the time, and a real quick learner.

I don’t remember how many boats we owned at the time, but probably just one. The admiral says I’m not allowed to have more than two boats at any given time, but she’s been known to be pretty flexible. And if memory serves, the other boat at the time was either the Pacemaker, a smallish cabin cruiser kind of thing, or the Wellcraft Coastal 240. There is a small chance that the new sailboat came at the time after the Wellcraft joined the fleet, but before the Pacemaker had been sold, which would have put me way over the 2 boat limit but whatever.

To make a long story even longer, I began my search as I always do. I go to the Eastern NC craiglist and do a search for everything under $3000 and then do a variety of keyword searches. I’ve found that you can find a lot more stuff on craigslist if you can guess how people misspell things. “Sailboat”, “sail boat”, “sale boat” but not “boat sale”, that sort of thing. Usually something turns up, sometimes you have to wait a week or two. There were a few interesting options in the “trailer sailer” arena that week. We were already either paying for a wet slip for the Pacemaker, or dry stack for the Wellcraft, or maybe both so it had to be trailerable. What I found blew my mind. I had no idea that you could even buy a small cutter rig, much less one with so much character for such a low cost as what I saw in the 1974 Venture of Newport that I saw for sale for only $2000.

Venture Of Newport sailboat

Venture of Newport at night when we first got her home.

I’ll admit I was too enamored of the thing to even haggle over it. I offered the guy $1800 and he said he’d only had it listed for a couple of days and wanted to wait to see if he could get full price. I handed over the $2000 cash I had in my pocket and took the boat home. In hindsight I missed a number of things that I wish I’d taken notice of, but to be honest I’d have convinced myself that it didn’t matter anyway.  This picture shows the boat when we first got her home.

The previous owner (PO) owned another Venture of Newport, and in my excitement to have one of these pretty little boats I missed the fact that he’d clearly bought a second boat, swapped out all the best bits onto his boat, put the secondary stuff on the new purchase and then listed it for sale. The first thing that should have pointed me to this conclusion was the missing keel winch and the statement “you can get one of those at Northern Tool for about $40.”. Not that that wasn’t a true statement, but the PO didn’t tell me that a stock handle on a winch like that didn’t fit. You couldn’t swing the handle all the way round because it hit the lip of the companionway. I really feel like the PO could’ve given me the old winch even if it was broken, but chalk that one up to live and learn. I’ll post more about the winch handle another time.

The second thing that should’ve tipped me off was the fact that the boat had never been registered in NC, nor had the trailer ever been titled and registered. I can believe that someone could get away with swapping tags between trailers around here, but no way did anybody hit the local lakes with a Michigan registration on a boat and not get ticketed. That’s the kind of crap that both the sheriff’s office and wildlife officers live for around here. So, just so you know, if you are buying a boat and the PO (1) owns two of the exact same boat, (2) one of them seems to have not been used by the PO, and (3) there is anything missing on the boat, you might be buying a parts boat. That’s fine, but just don’t do like I did and let your excitement blind you to the fact. $1200 would have been a fair price had I been paying attention instead of dreaming about sailing away into the sunset. But that’s entirely on me, not at all on the PO.

At any rate, it was a really cool and interesting boat.  If I am ever in the market for another boat (why I don’t have this one anymore is another story, and why I have another one is another story too) then I think I might look for another one of these.  Here’s some pictures.

Venture Of NewportVenture Of Newport

Venture Of NewportVenture Of Newport

 

 

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What is a quartering sea?

Beam seas occur when waves are running at right angles to a vessels heading, basically taking waves on the side of your vessel.  Beam seas pose a danger due the possibility of creating excessive roll, and if severe enough, even breaking waves over the side of the boat.

Quartering Sea

When waves are following the same heading as your vessel, these are following seas.  Following seas can be dangerous if a wave overtakes a vessel and she loses control on a wave crest.  In such conditions broaching is a possibility.

Quartering seas combine beam seas and following seas and represent one of the most dangerous of conditions to operate a boat.

All that being said, don’t look here for a ton of boat handling advice.  This is mostly just a place for me to document whatever shenanigans I’ve been up to that relates to boats, more or less.

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