BRIGHTLINGSEA II's Trip South, by Tom Westran

BRIGHTLINGSEA II arrived at Hartges' Yacht Yard in Galesville, MD on a trailer on September 23. We spent almost three weeks at Hartges finishing fitting out and getting things fixed. There cannot be a better yard for service. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

After leaving Hartge's we spent the Boat Show Weekend in Annapolis and are happy to report that we didn't see anything that made us want to trade BRIGHTLINGSEA II in on.Because of our late start we didn't spend much time cruising the Chesapeake and regret that we couldn't make the Rendezvous. One of the trip's highlights was returning BRIGHTLINGSEA II to her former owners, Ralph and Isabel Rose. We had a good visit with them and look forward to seeing them again on the North-bound journey.

Due to various mechanical and electronic gremlins that crept into the systems, we didn't get into the ICW until November 5. During the various delays we mad good use of our time doing the various tourist sites. The Mariner's Museum in Newport News should not be missed by anyone heading in that direction. We can also highly recommend the Bluewater Marina in Hampton where we were delayed awaiting parts. The service we received made the delay quite enjoyable.

The ICW has proven to be much more enjoyable than either of us had expected. There has not been much sailing apart from a very good sail across Albermarle Sound. We hit the weather just right with about 15 Kts and 1' - 1 1/2' seas. The sail down the Neuse River was more to BRIGHTLINGSEA II'S liking, winds in the 20+kts range but in the right direction.

We have spent our share of time "dredging" the ICW. We have the routine down pat to get off without help. The Lewmar electric windlass is one piece of gear that has been flawless to date and has made grounding a minor hassle.

The only hard lump we landed on was at Swansboro where we swung and were dropped onto a lump of old oyster shells on a falling tide. There was 5 ' of water at the stern and 10' at the bow. We would advise anyone anchoring in Swansboro to favor the channel and to use two anchors to limit swinging. The holding is also not the best. What is the best however is the value in your dollar for the lunch at Yana's "Ye Olde Drug Store Restaurant". Their $5.00 lunch special cannot be beat.

Our slow pace South has meant that we are chasing the warm weather. Although the lows are a long way from the -25C that has been experienced at our home port, Ottawa, we are certainly grateful for our SIGMAR diesel heater. This is another piece of equipment that certainly works. It is pricey, you could by two Force 10 bulkhead heaters for the price of the SIGMAR, but it has performed great, and it looks good as well.

We have only met one other Alberg 37 on the trip, Dave Mann from GANGAWA. He had just finished installing a new engine when we met him at Myrtle Beach. (Ed. Note: We no longer have a good address on Dave - mail has been returned - does anyone have his current address???)

The main highlights of our trip have been the great people we have met and the excellent service we have received from everyone. It is hard to single out any particular place or individual but we can recommend a new marina at Little River, CRICKETT COVE as a superior facility. It has deep water and personnel that go out of their way to make your stay pleasant. The service at the Charleston City Marina also cannot be topped.