Location: East River, Mobjack Bay - near Matthews, VA
Position: 37 24.445 N 076 20.308 W
We got back from England at about 1:30 AM Sunday, slept a few hours, then spent the rest of the day running errands and doing some last minute boat jobs.
We left the dock right after high tide on Monday morning to take advantage of the tidal current to help get us out past our friend's boat. Everything went as smooth as butter (no bumps or scrapes, nothing broke, and nobody got hurt - the textbook definition of a successful arrival or departure from a dock) and we dropped anchor about 100 yards downstream. We dinghied back in so Julie could make one last run to Deltaville to pick up some parts we'd ordered and Mark went back to the boat to finish up a few "must do" chores before we could leave for our trip to Maine.
We raised anchor at about 6:30 pm Monday and, with a high tide at 8:30 pm at Smith Point and predicted Northerly winds of 10-15 mph, we looked forward to a nice downwind run to Mobjack Bay. Rachel has been having some drive train vibration issues, so we made an appointment to have her checked out at at a highly recommended boatyard here. Unfortunately, wind was from the south, not the predicted north, at 15-20, gusting to 25 making it dead on our nose the entire trip down the bay. The 66 mile trip ended up being 87 miles with all the tacking and ended up taking just over 19 hours to complete!
Before we left, we tried test hanging the new dinghy from the davits and think it'll work, but it's going to take some refining. We'd had great success towing it from Deltaville to the Coan and on a trip across the Potomac to St. Mary's, so we decided to tow it on this trip with plans to stow it on deck for the passage from Norfolk to Block Island. It was pretty choppy on our way down, especially from about 10pm through about 3 am - even Rachel was pounding on some of the bigger sets of waves. In the morning we noticed some water in the dinghy and decided to heave to and bail her out. Oh my.
There are two bulkheads that bolt together when the forward and aft parts of the dinghy are assembled. Apparently between the pounding and the tow line jerking, the plywood actually tore at these points allowing a couple of seams to open up. By the time we stopped to bail her the bow section was only hanging onto the stern section by the bottom two bolts - the top two were almost completely broken free from the forward section. We managed to tie it all together to stabilize it, bailed her out and finished the trip.
When we got here she was full of water again. Turns out the water wasn't splashed in - it was running in through cracks in the bulkheads created by the same pounding that split the plywood bulkheads. We hauled her up on deck and took her apart to assess the damage. It's all fixable, but will take time. So now, if we want to go to Maine this summer, we have to make arrangements to leave her here somewhere until we get back in September when we'll have time to make repairs. Sad to say, we're thinking she may not be tough enough to be a full-time cruising dinghy. We have a couple of months to cogitate and decide what we want to do with regard to a tender