2 Year Sail-iversary: Lessons Learned

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sailing luna sea lessons learned

If you read our recent “cost” post, you know that we headed out for a week long sailing vacation.  And that we visited some cool places.  But what did we really learn on this trip?  Because that is ultimately what these trips are for, for us.  Doing new things with Luna Sea and prepping to sail away into the sunset – and if we have some fun along the way?  Even better!

Our 2 year anniversary of the purchase of Luna Sea and the 3 day trek to sail her home (all with having never sailed before!) was at the end of June.  That time coincides with a break at work for both of us, so we loaded up and headed North!

We motored out to Wasaw Sound at 8pm, and after a gorgeous sunset, entered the Atlantic ocean and headed North toward our first destination: Charleston, SC.  We did an overnight on the delivery of Luna Sea, but we had a delivery Captain who was calling the shots.  This was our first overnight “alone.”  We both hung out in the cockpit for the most part, just taking turns resting every 2 hours.  It wasn’t the most comfortable rotation – but I’m sure we will evolve into a routine that works for us, over time.

Rest and re-fuel were at the top of our list as we headed into the Charleston Harbor.  We make sure we have a full fuel tank before winter, but the rest of the year we use so little fuel that we don’t fill up very often.  Since we were surrounded by marinas, we decided to get fuel and splurge on renting a slip.  The tide was going out as we were coming in the shipping channel which = slooow going.  So we had plenty of time for me to click on Active Captain and figure out which marina we wanted to go to.  We didn’t have a concrete plan – as we wanted this to be an accurate idea of what it would be like sailing into foreign harbors, and this really worked for us.  We picked the marina closest to the Yorktown museum, filled up with diesel and plugged in the A/C!  Then we crashed for 4 hours before heading into Charleston to roam around and grab some delicious food.

Anchoring won out for the remainder of the trip.  It’s free, after all.  And easy.  And good practice for us to learn about different anchorages. We experienced wide open areas that provided excellent wind, yet not enough protection.  We also found a spot that was too protected – thus resulting in a melty sort of temperature both below and in the cockpit. Eventually we found a happy medium – enough wind to keep comfortable, yet not so unprotected that the boat would blow over in a storm.  (Stay tuned for a separate post on that craziness – it deserves it’s own space on the blog)  We worked our way back South over the next several days by way of the ICW, and breezed into our home slip in plenty of time to enjoy the fireworks in Savannah.

Lessons Learned:

  • We really, really like being out and exploring.  There is plenty to do each day to keep us as busy or non-busy as we choose.  It’s pretty unlikely that we will get bored.  And if we do – well there’s always an RV option.  Or backpacking across Europe.  We’re easy.
  • Take a nap – or at the very least, lay around and read all afternoon if there’s a remote chance that you will get a break in the weather and be able to head out on an overnighter.
  • We need some sort of extra cushioning – in addition to the quick-dry cockpit cushions, if we are going to get some real rest in the cockpit during our rotations on overnight trips.  I’ve already begun construction of some bed rolls for this purpose.
  • Prep plenty of drinks – tea, ice water, coffee, etc before heading out.  Although our seas were not big, they were rolly.  And the chef was fairly nauseous for the entire overnight trip.  While food was prepped and available, drinks were not as handy.
  • We can live pretty cheaply.  We spent right at $400 for the week – and definitely spent money that was not necessary.  We feel like we could live comfortably on $1500/month – but we certainly need more experience to verify this.
  • Reef early. We were constantly surrounded by small, fast thunderstorms.  While we were never in danger under way, we were witness to just how strong and fast things can blow in.  We will be quick to reef whenever we are underway.
  • Container ships at sea look like cities/false landmarks.  Pretty sure getting the radar installed will help with this.
  • Be nice to your Ferry Captains – they just might throw in a free return trip to your rented slip.  Plus they are cool and full of all kinds of local knowledge.
  • The ICW – between Hilton Head and St. Helena Sound, is just not very well maintained.  Charts list the depths, but they are not accurate.  And we have a fairly deep draft at 6’2″
  • We like to shower. There is already a water-maker on our To-Do list.  It will stay on that list and definitely be installed before we leave.  Maybe we will shower less when we are hanging out in crystal clear/blue waters.  Not so while we are surrounded by brown.
  • The paddle boards on the boat are well worth the space they take up.  We need to figure out where to store a couple of folding bikes…
  • We need to get our butts in gear and get out there!  This is so very do-able and we both are getting close to being ready to set sail.

Are you already out there living the cruising life?  Do you remember any lessons you learned early on?  Feel free to chime in!

2 Comments
  • Ross

    Reply

    Hey there congrats on your trip. What you did is like crossing an ocean only that takes longer ☺. Some thoughts from a time long past.
    1. When making a list the first item is always "make a list" that way you get to cross something off right away.
    2 our storage for bikes was in large pouches attached to "weather cloths" attached to the life rails by the cockpit.

    ross@saltair.org

  • Sailing LunaSea

    Reply

    Hey Ross – the pouches attached to the life rails is a good idea, thanks!
    Have you seen our To Do page? That's one big list that I get to mark off on a regular basis 🙂

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