Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charleston Maritime Center – High winds to 39 kts!

Need a spice - we got spices!
The front that has been wreaking such havoc across the nation as it plowed east came through Charleston today. The prediction for high winds steadily increased throughout the day and reached beyond what was safe for all the sailboat racers during race week. I talked with the crew of the sled I photographed yesterday and they were very dejected after learning that all races today were cancelled due to predicted high winds. Usually in situations like this, the predicted high winds don’t materialize but not in this case. It blew between 20 and 30 kts all day long with the highest gust saw on the dock at 39 kts! One has to remember that as the speed of the wind doubles, the force quadruples! As strong as a 20 kt wind is, a 40 kt wind has four times more force. We were tied off at the dock with the wind coming onto the aft of the boat and later onto the port aft at a 45 degree angle so our cross-section was larger than usual and we rocked. The marina is not very well protected from waves and they rolled into the marina causing all boats to be tossed to and fro. At 7:00 pm it has finally settled down. It’s surprising how calm a 20 kts wind can feel after experiencing mid 30 kt winds all day long. The present 12 kt wind is nothing. All the thunderstorms went north of us and several came with tornado warnings but we were fine.

We saw this number causually parked by a condo
When we saw the storms were going to miss us, we headed into town to see the City Market vendors that have stalls in the middle of town in an old factory building. We toured the area and Ann bought a couple of charms for her bracelet. You could buy spices of all types, a wide range of jewelry, many woven baskets, tie-dyed T-shirts and the list goes on. It’s always fun.

I also met Jeff Siegel today who’s the creator of the Active Captain website which I’ve found to be the single, most useful resource in transiting the ICW. It has the usual reviews by members of marinas and anchorages but the most useful feature is the hazards listing – most often for shallow water on the ICW. What sets Active Captain apart from other resources is that the reviews (marinas, anchorages or hazards) are displayed on a NOAA chart so you can zero in on just the reviews you are interested in. Plus, the reviews are very current. It’s not unusual to refer an area you’re interested in and find that someone stayed there just a week before and recorded what they found. This is especially true of hazards – likely, someone passed through a few days before and reported on the depths they found.

Sunday is moving day, northward we go, this time to an anchorage.


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