Jul 2, 2013

19 hour tour

It has taken me a few days to recover from this weekend, mentally and physically, and to figure out exactly how I wanted to share the experience.  I feel like Riley and I really conquered a milestone this past weekend.  It was a tough situation but we both feel really good about it... now that we're on the other side.

First, the positives:
We did make it to New Bern, in two days, with everyone and the boat still in one piece!
Even though it was a rough weekend, and we were stressed and tired the whole time, Riley and I had more patience, respect, and trust in one another than I believe we have ever felt before.  This trip really did amazing things for our relationship and it has never been stronger.  There is really nothing else I can attribute this to than the sheer volume of time that we spent praying this weekend.

I would really like to document this trip, but this is going to get a little long winded.  No hurt feelings if you just want to look at the pictures!

We drove the 5 hours to the boat on Thursday night, with plans to set sail at sunrise on Friday morning, for a two day sail to New Bern.  We had reserved a slip at a marina there, and we had to leave the old marina before we were billed for the next month.  The weather wasn't looking optimal, in fact, there was a small vessel weather advisory, but this was our window of opportunity.  We spent an anxious, sleepless night thinking about what lay ahead.

motoring down the intracostal waterway
It started out well enough.  The sky was overcast, but we didn't hit any major thunderstorms and we were feeling pretty optimistic about the whole situation.  We were also just glad to finally spend some time sailing. Our friends were sailing not too far ahead of us and we were all excited about starting our new adventures in New Bern.

Then the waves hit.  2-3 foot waves don't really sound too intimidating, and at first they didn't really seem that bad.  But hours passed and we just kept pounding over wave after wave after wave.  Eventually they became 4 and 5 foot waves.  Not only was it unpleasant, but it was really slowing us down as well.  Somehow we broke away from our friends, and wound up a considerable distance ahead of them.

By late afternoon we were feeling drained, sunburned, and pretty much done for the day.  That's when disaster struck. (this is the simplified version of what happened) A stray clip had attached itself to the sail, making it impossible to adjust.  Riley had to move to the front of the boat to try to free it, and left me at the helm, steering the boat.  The wind was so strong, and the waves were so forceful, that it was hard to get control of the situation.  Riley couldn't get the clip off the sail because it was flailing so much in the wind.  I couldn't steer the boat because the wind was pushing it so hard in one direction, and I already had the wheel turned completely in the other.  We kept turning and turning in circles, crashing over the waves and there was nothing else that I could do.  I watched helplessly as Riley struggled with the sail while I was silently screaming in my mind, "Lord,fixitfixitpleasefixitfixitLordfixit!Idon'twanttodothisanymore!" As soon as Riley got the clip off of the sail the situation calmed down a little, and then I went to the front of the boat to untangle the large knot that had formed in the lines.

our home for the night
We really were done by this point.  We couldn't take the pounding of the waves any longer, and I just wanted to stop moving all together.  We decided to look for a place to anchor for the night instead of sailing any further to Oriental.  Riley found a safe place, we dropped anchor, showered and finally ate dinner.  We had been sailing for 13 hours straight.  This was also the last time we saw our friends.  We found out later that their radio wasn't working, they had problem after problem with their boat, and eventually had to leave it in Oriental for repairs.  We didn't sleep at all that night either, I was worried about the dog not peeing and the lightning outside, and Riley was worried about the anchor not holding.

The next morning we listened to the weather report, which did absolutely nothing to calm our fears.  We made a few calls for prayer requests and then got on our way.  For the first couple hours the wind and wave conditions were about the same as the day before.  Waves were literally crashing over the boat.  Eventually it began to lighten up, and the rest of the sail was much more enjoyable.  When we finally spotted the New Bern bridge we knew that the end was in sight!  After 6 hours of sailing on Saturday, we finally made it safely to the marina.  We got situated and then drove to get my car that we had left at the old marina.  When we got back, we showered, and packed up and decided we'd rather drive the 5 hours and get home by midnight so that we could sleep in our own bed.

so close!

We were so thankful.  Thankful to be safe, and done, thankful for each other, thankful for how well our boat handled, and thankful that things even went as well as they did.

our new home away from home

If you're interested in Riley's account of the story (it's a lot shorter!) and a little clip from the very beginning of our trip, check out his post on The WaterLog.

Thanks for sticking with me!



  1. What an adventure! I would have been very, very scared.

  2. Okay, that sounds super stressful! Wow. I'm glad you made it, and I'm glad you didn't kill each other :) Good bonding experience.

  3. Firstly, I'm glad everything turned out safely! But it is true that it is these kinds of situations that bring us closer together as couples! My mom bought a sailboat 3 years ago and while she and I both knew how to sail, we'd never done it just the two of us, without the help of my father, grandfather or uncles, all extremely skilled boatsmen. It was definitely a little scary doing it alone, but also very empowering.
    Kallie, But First Coffee Blog OR But First Coffee on Bloglovin

  4. Maybe you will heed a "small vessel weather advisory" in the future?? Thank God for happy endings!!


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